The big blue hole in the sky up in the VA cycling scene is wash with Pantani ride rumors and postulations. The Pantani ride has grown even in the time I’ve been involved. It changed from a thing a couple folks did in February as a spring throwdown ritual and has moved up to race-ride status like not really any other VA event. Its free, fun, and more than challenging enough for the average February ride.

Ive “won” the Pantani ride the past three years, although last year “BSlow” (who is not slow) and I effectively rode in together having crushed the 3 hour mark. I’ve ridden it in pleasantly warm weather, and I’ve had parts of me take months to recover from the cold and snow. Its a radically fun route and a really great group of riders. You should go, and ride, and win…why not?!

I on the other hand may not. But I may. Pantani wasn’t predictable, and so neither should I be. I may show up at the start line with a bleached ghoti:

Or maybe a little “royale” stache n’ patch action:

Who knows! I may have spent a lot of time thinking that its time for someone else to carry the maillot Pistachio. Marco spent a lot of time winning, a lot of time in yellow, pink, and gold, but he also spent a lot of time behind the scenes, working through what made him great. Tormented and conflicted, desperate to prove himself…to himself.

What made Pantani great was in part his unpredictability. I’m not sure I will be at the Pantani to “defend” the winning streak. I don’t have the “yellow fever” for 7 doped up wins in a row, I recognize the fuel an early season Pantani trophy brings to the training and racing fire and I think it may be time somebody else get feel the thrill of prancing around prepping their vegan Belgian waffle wearing only the Maillot Pistachio. It may be time. It may not. It may be time to bring a completely weapon to the fight. It may be time to recover from the huge week preceding the event.

Wherever I am, whatever I do, itll be with a smile on my face and an eye toward whats to come. This time of year things start coming together and the work being done is building that same little sparkle you see in Marco’s eyes.

Or was that sparkle something else entirely?