Louisville Bicycle Club

Louisville Bicycle Club Newsletter -- September-October 1996

Living Legends

by David Stewart

As a child I was fascinated by some tattered books I discovered hidden in an old store room. They were written by a explorer from the earlier part of this century, a man named Richard Halliburton. Halliburton decided to be the first man to swim the length of the Panama Canal. He hired a row boat and an Army sharpshooter to follow close to him. The sharpshooter shot the alligators that were attracted by Halliburton. Each day, he swam a few miles and then spent the night at a nearby town. One night he met a woman. Each day from then on, he would spot her at different times, watching him from the side of the canal. She wore a sun dress and carried a pink parasol. Each night, they would dine together and then dance until dawn. As a small boy, I thought I fell in love with her, too. Becoming a legend, with all its trappings, appealed to me. But, then, I never was much of a swimmer.

I grew beyond the starry-eyed stage of a boy reading about heroes. Iím a tad more cynical and some wiser. As I look into September and October in the Club, I recognize, though, the legends Iíve become acquainted with in the past year. Legends are being made at on each ride as the competition for the yellow and the blue jerseys enters the final weeks. Some of us are pushing to get beyond that fifth Century so we can join the Century Club. Some riders are narrowing the distance to the pink jerseys. Iíve listened to other cyclists and heard about the legendary rides such as the Little Nasty, the Crestwood Killer and the ride to Leavenworth. There are the legends about rides that were especially difficult due to wind or rain or heat. And, best of all, there are the legends of people. People who are long time club members. People who can ride fast or who ride unusually long distances. Riders who are legendary because they transcend the norms of their age or gender or physical condition. Iíve heard the stories of people who ride in blue jeans. Some people ride with packs and outrun those of us with only a water bottle. Iíve tried to keep up with the blossoming legends of my own time in the club. The people who, with equipment or clothing or abilities different than the norm, maintain a position at the head of the pack.

Legends are made by people who go beyond the norm. This I learned as a child reading about explorers such as Richard Halliburton. As an adult, Iím reminded of this by my riding. Iím reminded of this when I go beyond my own norms and ride my first Century or follow the route of the Little Nasty for the first time. Many of us may not become a legend in the club. But all of us will become a legend to ourselves as we pursue our own goals. The first part of the season has provided me with a lot of enjoyable miles. Iím looking forward to the legends of the rest of the season. Iíll hear more about rides and people. Iíll see new legends being born. Both the club legends and my own. Thereís a lot to look forward to.

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last updated: 30 August 1996
by Duc M. Do