Some Place Called Belgium
Words by Alexa Daugherty and Images by Samuel Copeland
How long does it take to train for a cyclecross race? Probably more than there are days until Aronofsky’s new movie. And most definitely more days than there are until The New Year. In fact, one could say that training has no start and no finish. Rather, those November mornings of blinding sweat and burning muscle exist along the Mobius strip that is Cycling. And so, we at TSH recognize that each snapshot shown below is just a snapshot – a carefully composed endeavor encapsulating our amorphous devotion to cycling in one sharable image.
Here, several images recount the hope of training’s pre-event moments.
One boy, freshly fallen from the boîte that is his family’s van, stands on his bike pedals. He laughs and clouds of hot breath are crafted in the cold morning air. Then, he pedals.
Beginning, he climbs a soiled trail where golden leaves line a trail big enough for just one rider. Side to side, back and forth, the autumn cold front is expelled by a rush of blood and tree-lined focus. A break found in a stump. Fallen. Misplaced. It stands out in squat opposition to the cycler’s blinding fury. He bends, squatting in an invisible chair that somehow equates to flight when preformed on a bike. The landing punctuated in splatter. Later, he’ll wash mud and sweat from his bike in a car wash. Patiently, cars wait in line for him to finish rinsing dirt, soap, grass and some blood from his arm into the drain. Their congealing matter bothers the car wash owner, but the cycler pays him no heed. Instead, he holds the bike, now dripping with soapy water not sticky perspiration. And still, the cycler stays muddy. He did well, he didn’t do well, he got over the hill, he paused; all of these outcomes make up one restless love of riding.