I’d heard tales about you before we even met. That you were beautiful, that you were fun. But also, that you could be difficult. The guys who you’d shown your full affections were few, but they tended to be legendary characters. Driven men. Smart, talented men. Men inspired enough by you to be patient, but also to be bold, to take crazy risks at times to make you theirs.
When we did finally meet, I was not disappointed. Everything I’d heard was true. You were gorgeous. You brought out the best in those around you. But I quickly saw harsh glimpses of your mean streak too. Nobody could ever fully relax around you, knowing that your capricious dark side might enshroud them next. Unfortunate, sure, but proof that you don’t have to be kind to be desired. Your fickle kindness could draw men in like moths to a flame though. I was totally intimidated by you. And I was immediately smitten.
That first time we met—in California, I was shocked that we made such a strong connection so quickly. I didn’t look like guys you’d shown favor in the past. I was an older, balder, kinda hunchbacked guy in spandex. I didn’t think I even stood a chance with you, honestly. But—to my surprise—you felt a magnetism too. Our attachment was quick, and deep. We were inseparable for 5 years, starting that weekend.
They were some of the best years of my life.
I remembered and respected— and even feared your Dark side all of those years—but you rarely showed it to me. Being together was easy. It felt like we could stay that way forever. But that was only the way I saw it. Looking back, I probably started to take you for granted. And I was unaware of the cracks forming underfoot.
In 2015, on the very day of our 6th Anniversary, you showed me your true mercurial nature: standing me up to be with an old flame, Jason. I knew it wouldn’t last long, and it didn’t, but I was devastated, nonetheless. You and Jason had had a long term relationship before me, and I understood the draw of comfort and familiarity in a time when change was needed. Jason is a great guy, and I don’t begrudge him taking you from me at all. Nor do I feel animosity for you and the men you’ve chosen in the transpiring years since him. Of course, to see you with my Teammate, Stephan last year was difficult, but that’s my burden to bear. You two look good together. He’s a great guy, and I’m happy for both of you.
Our time together was long and fruitful. We evolved together—you and I both making transformative impacts on each other that time apart will never erase. And we’ve evolved since. I don’t know that we’d even be compatible all these years later. Not that I don’t occasionally fantasize about trying to rekindle things.
I may be saying too much. Haha.
Not only is it our anniversary—It’s your birthday today, so I was thinking of you. Looking at old pictures on Instagram.
You’re what? 25 years old today?
We were so young!
Anyways, Happy Birthday, Downieville Classic.
Hopefully next year, we’ll bump into each other again in NorCal when this whole Pandemic thing is over. I look forward to seeing you. I always have and always will.
Perfectly won, Carl…
Should Bob Woodward ever dip his quill in the ink well that last time, Bend still has a lasting brilliant lanky sports laureate with a barb.
Mr. Decker, your Classic misses you too , good man. The ‘slow reveal’ of your story is fantastic. But i recognized those Dunn Vineyard long, lingering legs stuffed into the bottle cage! Come visit the Lost Sierra this summer for some adventure riding. It’s the year to explore what’s beyond the Downieville race track. Be well! -SBTS Carter
True that! I’m coming down sometime late summer or fall for sure.
Falling in love can be very simple.
But falling out of love is simply awful.
Be well, be kind and love all.
It was only a bicycle race. But we were together a long time.
Best love letter ever.
Genius, Mr Decker. Genius.