Saturday, October 31, 2009

Zen

I planned on writing more about DCCX. Really, the bottom line is that I finally finished an effing cross race. Glory! After two totally disastrous attempts at the beginning of the season, I finally took some time off to figure out the sport fundamentally. While I still need a ton of work on my remount, I managed to gain enough confidence practicing on my own (with some stellar help/motivation from Peter, Lindsey, and Jim to name a few) to feel comfortable racing again. The course was perfect - only one dismount - and a few technical-ish sections. The ridiculously rambunctious Coppi cheering section was most definitely the highlight of the race. Here's a pic that Chris Scott posted...I definitely smiled a few times around, but clearly I was in some kind of "zone" for this one:



Awesome. Yes, that sign does read "KILL IT MEG." Love it! Still basking in it, I admit. My teammates rock. And DC-MTB put on a phenomenal race from start to finish.













So, in other news, I'm in a book club with some buddies. We recently finished The History of Love, which was quite good. It reminded me of a more sophisticated version of The Time Traveler's Wife (which I loved) - the quality of writing just seemed a bit better to me. Sections of the book are narrated by different characters entirely, so it takes a few re-reads to get the hang of it at first. But the intricate workings of the storyline reinforce a level of anticipation on behalf of the reader, and I found myself turning the pages expectantly.  I recommend it. Our next book is called The Help. I shall report back.

Meanwhile, I'm slowly plowing through Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. My dad has always raved about this book, saying it's what truly changed the way he approaches obstacles and challenges in life. Without giving too much away, this book is a very personal philosophical journey through rational and irrational thought - neither of which the narrator can ever fully define. He (the narrator) is a true realist - one who views things not for what they are, but for what they are made of or what they represent. The zen of maintaining his motorcycle serves as the pinnacle of his thought process. He compares this way of thinking to the more romantic/classical approach - those who are content to perceive things as a whole, at face value.

As I've been reading, I've found more than one example of how incredibly classical in thought I lean. I am trying to ammend this a bit, particularly as it relates to fixing my road bike. For years, my old Giant never saw a bit of TLC unless I sent it to the shop for a tune up. I never understood anything about how it worked, why something would break...even how to change a flat tire. One could also call this lazy. But it was truly more of an unwillingness or lack of desire to learn about it - I just want the thing to work as it was intended to.

This book has motivated me to spend a little time getting to know the inner-workings of my bike. As has Brian. Talk about a realist. When he and my dad get together, they go around just trying to find something to fix. Really so they can take it apart, and learn how it works. Meanwhile, my mom and I just watch and exclaim "how romantic!" Or something like that.

Anywho, this is a book you really need to sit down and READ. And reread. Passages and sentences. Truly absorb and understand what this man is saying. It's fascinating, eye-opening, life altering stuff.

And I'm going to pick it back up now.

2 comments:

chuck hutch said...

I love Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, I have not read it for about 15 years, but it is probably time for it again now that I am older and have a different perspective.

Margit said...

Agreed. Definitely a timeless book, and influences the way you think on so many levels.