V-for-velocity, M-for-metaphor

What can you say about speed? Stereolab songs, racehorses, gazelles and orbital velocity, and pistons, just to name a few off my recent postings. The more I work on the blog here the more I see speed as a kind of metaphor I’m using more frequently for other things in my life, things that I’m still trying to put their own words to.

Every time I come up with a new metaphor for “fast” it is as if I’m asking myself to identify the mystery object in a game of 20 Questions.

Going faster entails the promise of liberation, the hope of improvement, the badge of hard training, and the motivation to keep pushing. You may not be subject to all these varied forces, but I feel them keenly here in the secret city, my little exile’s bubble.

As you can see from the accompanying chart, this has been a pretty good week for biking. The pink line is January’s rides, the fastest seven-mile lap on each day, and the green line is December’s rides, same procedure. (I have no idea what the background is or where it came from, only that it’s a photograph I took.) My personal theory to explain the improvement is that by writing about going faster, it makes it easier to do it. I hope it works for you, too.

Today, matched against a modest Boreal breeze, was a particular red-letter day. Much as I enjoy complaining about it, I slightly prefer riding with the north wind to the south wind because it means I get an extra ten minutes to warm up before I start doing laps. Today I brought my heart rate up to just over 70% as I turned the corner into the headwind and managed to sustain that level for the next 44 minutes as I fit two entire laps into that time period. I haven’t before done two laps at that speed, more than 19 mph.

As I go over the ride in my head, it seems to be composed of the same little episodes that every ride shares, many of which I’ve written about already: e.g., the Funny Hat People doing their little afternoon run; the potential lapse in concentration (avoided!) on the firehouse straightaway; the flip around onto the back stretch and accompanying realization that I’m making good time and can ride fast with the wind for the rest of the way; even the soundtrack for today, Tune-Yards’ “Fiya,” off the same record that “Sunlight” comes from, this one with a monster ukulele riff. Somehow I put everything together like a good little editor and wound up on a pace to be proud of.

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