[Speedvagen Family Racing teammate Laura Winberry is taking a short hiatus from her MFA in writing and will be guest posting all season. Look for haikus, shorts and the occasional race report from her to be accompanied by photos from teammate Jeff Curtes.]
It’s (all) About Time
The season has begun, is beginning.
Folks emerge from the woodworks near and far, relatives gathering for a holiday, only it isn’t about blood because family’s where you find it. In the still hot days just before leaves turn to gold, in the final pieces of all that is summer, a tribe painted in lycra and odd tan lines comes together.
These are our people.
And Speedvagen is our family.
How long is one minute?
Jeff sat at a ninety degree angle for sixteen-hours, from Australia to Vancouver to Portland. Daisuke and Hama—ten hours from Tokyo, after three out of Nobeyama. Brennan and I drove up from Bend, which took a little over three. For Tina, about the same. The point is this: many hours of travel have transpired in order for us to be here, at Vanilla, at this very minute. There are also the (countless) hours of preparation that have gone into it all, and by all I mean the kits, the shoes, the helmets, the logistics, the sponsors and, of course, the bikes.
What would it all be without the magic of the bike, of these bikes? A gathering of really sweet folks, indeed; but what we’d be doing with our time, I’m not quite sure. Running in circles in padded shorts perhaps.
But add a little gold here, a stripe of revolver blue there, and we have a convergence of beautiful bikes, with beautiful people to match. (And I’m not talking supermodel beautiful. I’m talking thick laughter kind of beautiful. I’m talking people with the same kind of heartbeat beautiful; vivid, authentic, offbeat; gritty, wild, solid beautiful.). Which is exactly what happened this past Saturday morning, after so many long minutes of travel and preparation and caring about something, when the entire Speedvagen team gathered at the Vanilla Workshop in order to experience the start of ‘cross season together.
Christmas! (or Chanukkah and/or) in September!
It’s not about the gifts. It’s about who you are with. At least that’s what someone older than you probably told you when it came to receiving presents. At age 9, it sounded like bullshit; really, that person was right. But I’ve covered the “who you are with” base, so now it’s time to talk gifts. Sort of. What I mean to say is: now it’s time to give you an idea for how we exchange gifts in our Speedvagen family, as it’s the reason for all of the hours and minutes and all of the everything you read through earlier in this post. It’s simple—we come together. We do not receive our kits in the mail. Our bikes do not arrive disassembled in boxes. We do not do this alone. And I can tell you, after having seen the faces and felt the presence of each one of my teammates family members yesterday morning, early sun streaming in through an open garage, coffee and embraces and howyoubeens abounding, the way that we exchange gifts, the way we open our season, the way we do things—is what it’s all about. An entire workshop of creatives has labored, crafted, honed, perfected, and paid attention in order to make such a morning come to fruition.
And the morning was: in the flesh, which we borrow for only so long, about being eye to eye and hearing voices and stories from, literally, around the world. The morning was a familial introduction to our racing machines, and the point in time when we got the privilege of seeing Sacha’s face soften from we’re overworked to this makes sense and this feels so damn good. Just like Christmas (and/or) we got to see one another’s expressions, revel in detail together, even cry a little. Then we all took our very first pedal strokes, down the block and through the roundabout, on the magic gold bikes that will continue to take us through it all. And by through it I mean through it, not around.
Thank you to everyone. Greasy knuckles, calloused hands, paint splattered faces, legs tired from standing—we know you’re out there and you’ve made the world of bikes a better place. Thank you.