I was congratulating myself for deftly steering around the foot-long pothole in the street. I was imagining myself as a bicyclist of the first degree: someone who has pedaled thousands of miles and was able to navigate urban hazards. I recalled the times that I have been standing up on my pedals and pumping up a hill, believing in my heart that I looked just like Davis Phinney in his prime. Then I settle back down in my seat and listen to the squeak of my wheels and the occasional ping of a pebble squirting out from underneath my tires. I'm a commuter, not a racer in the same way that everyone sitting behind a steering wheel is not Mario Andretti.
It brought to mind the idle comment my wife once made about my "loping stride." When I run I like to see myself as a tired but steady participant in the 1972 Olympics, maybe David Whottle. A steady pace and focus in finishing, but a stride that never varied. Loping? I had to look it up. A steady, easy gait. Was that me? Was that a compliment? It got into my head and wouldn't leave. Now I find myself wondering if I am loping around the neighborhood, and I wish for something that sounds just a tad more dignified.
But that's not really what I am. I'm not a full-time athlete. I'm a teacher, dad, husband. I don't examine my technique. I can only imagine it when I get the chance. I don't have to feel bad about my style as long as I am making the effort. But one thing is certain, my fantasy football skills are crazy mad.