Words by Alexa Daugherty and images by Luke Batten
We Are Here
A Place. Online, the top two definitions are:
A Physical Environment
An Indefinite Region or Expanse
Physical and Indefinite, together; it’s a strange concept.
Wanting to clarify, we at Tenspeed Hero have devised three alternative definitions:
The first trail on which you rode alone.
The 24-hour diner you & high school co. went to after football games.
The ice cream shop you never ordered anything less than a large at.
In your mind, these places – and the memories associated with them – lie stagnant in preserved vibrancy.
But, the Tenspeed Hero addendum to these definitions removes overwrought nostalgia. For us, a place is also a locality that keeps on living. With each passing second it changes and becomes new.
You go back to the diner this time at 2 pm instead of am; you bring a friend on your old favorite biking trail; you pass the ice cream shop and see that it has become ‘A #1 Real Estate Firm’ because not enough customers ordered your perennial large Cookies n’ Cream with Fudge.
In revisiting, you find your body in a similar location but drastically different aura. Similarly, cycling allows for constant participation in this re-worked definition of place. It may take a certain mindset to push on up the last few swerves of a mountain or to complete a ride’s last wind-swept miles, but each wheel turn still feels different. That’s the thing about athletics – you’re pushing your body to change, to get better.
As proof, take a gander at A Birthday Party Turned Training Session we encountered at the 2012 Exergy Tour in Garden Valley/Kuna, Idaho.
In this town, it started to rain. To avoid a soaking, we ran into a machine shop named Kuna Machine Shop. For us, this building was a haven. Once inside, however, we found the building was also home to two other – quite wonderfully intersecting – pursuits:
Matriarch of her family Blanche was celebrating a birthday.
Colombian pro-racer Maria-Luisa Calle was warming up for The 2012 Exergy Tour.
For all parties (and the party) involved, this shiny machine shop in Western Idaho held completely different associations. And yet, from that day onwards the place forever holds one connotation. If what was the U.S.’s biggest stage race for women ever starts up again (if Exergy doesn’t suffer the same financial trouble as they did in 2013) and we return to the machine shop, we’ll remember that rainy day of confetti and cycling. We’ll notice differences – perhaps the machines are updated or the Happy Birthday sign is taken down – but we won’t be surprised because that’s what made the machine shop so special in the first place. It was a room where radically different memories meshed into one. It enabled cycling to embody the Tenspeed Hero definition of a place.
You couldn’t have played basketball there. And it definitely wasn’t large enough for a soccer player to practice in. But it was perfect for one woman to pedal on a stationary bike while another woman smiled surrounded herself with friends and family.