Un jour sans

Washed out once more: confined, kept off the bike
By work and weather. Pros will talk about
Le jour sans. Says it all – the ‘day without’ –
And though I’ve no conception what it’s like
To ride for cash and glory, I can share
That gnawing emptiness; curse as the day
Goes down the road without me, with no way
To reel it in; that delicate despair.
And so tomorrow, I’ll get in a break,
Go off the front à bloc and leave the pack
Behind, make my escape and not look back.
A bold move, but the one I have to make.
No maillot jaune – my sole prize is the ride.
Without it, I am not myself inside.

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3 thoughts on “Un jour sans

    • Thank you! Cycling’s lexicon is made up largely of French and Italian words and expressions, some of which don’t translate as well as others…in English, we talk about ‘hitting the wall’ or ‘the bonk’ when we run out of energy and all the lights start going out: the French call it ‘meeting the man with the hammer’ or ‘the witch with green teeth’. ‘Wheel-sucker’ (suceur de roue) is a universal term of contempt for a rider who sits behind you and never does his share of the pace-making. The French talk of rouleurs, puncheurs, baroudeurs and grimpeurs for riders who are good at, respectively, maintaining a high speed through rolling terrain, attacking on short, steep climbs, launching suicidal solo attacks and riding the high mountains. There’s a good dictionary of cycling terms here if you’re interested: http://www.dailypeloton.com/cyclegloss.asp N.x

  1. Well, an Englishman won the Tour de France, Nick. I hope you’re excited. He was not Nick Moore who left the pack behind and made his break, but then it had to give Nick Moore a feeling that had to be pretty good inside.
    This is, as usual, a wonderful sonnet. It is wonderful because it has the ring of truth. The ride, whether on a bike or in life, is the prize for the ride.
    Without it, I am not myself inside.
    So should all humanity say in unison every day of our lives.

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