Monday, October 26, 2009

Ritual de lo Habitual

Nomar Garciaparra and Troy Palamalu. What do those two pro athletes have to do with a bike blog? They are both complete OCD freaks. I am a shade below those two. Kinda, sorta, barely...I am more a product of my inherent celtic heritage and therefore superstition is in my dna. Big time. I am so superstitious I don't even really know I am doing it half the time. I got a real world reminder just how bad I am when we had some painters over working on the house. They had their ladders up over the garage bays (ie., Man town) I was all kitted up had the Rock Lobster down off the hooks and was ready to roll out of the garage door. Saw the ladders and physically couldn't do it. It wasn't even remotely a safety issue as they weren't up on the ladders at the time. It was kind of like the vampire in those cliched true blood HBO series. Unless the vamp is invited in no matter how much they want to go into the house they physically can not do it. My body would not move forward. It was almost like an invisible force was holding me back. I had to walk back in the house and go out the front door...nice. Did I mention I am 44 years old?

Back to Nomar and Palamalu. In that the two readers of my blog reside in the greater Boston area and are sox fans Nomars OCD Ritual de lo Habitual needs no explanation. Troy Palamalu maybe a little. He literally crosses himself and gives thanks to god after every play. Every play. Not just like the Belgians or Italians at the start grid crossing themselves before the start of a race. Or big Tomeke's medal that was sewn onto his helmet strap at Paris Roubaix this year. Oh you didn't notice that? No it wasn't some big dangly gold earing that was hanging from his ear. Homey is a playa no doubt and surely sports some bling at the Disco but Paris Roubaix is no time for bling. Its time to get all your mojo on the same page or else. Don't know for sure but it was probably a Madonna de Ghisalo medal or saint christopher sewn on for protection. Come to think of it how did he stay upright when everyone else was crashing all around him? The medal for sure...

So I think it boils down to two schools of thought. Nomar is totally OCD. And he is living the title to Jane's Addiction's second album. The title translated from spanish means "the ritual of the habitual." Taking our daily lives and making them sacred. Or taking our addictions and making a ritual of them. Did it help Nomar focus? Probably. Was it cool as all hell? Yeah it was.

Now the other school of thought is pure superstition. That is the camp I fall pretty deeply in. Sure I have a bit of OCD. But a lot of my dna is just old world superstition. If I use the salt shaker for soup its a reflex action to toss some over my left shoulder. See a black cat I cross myself. See a hawk or crow its a sign...not sure what its a sign of but its a sign. Its not all Western perse but most of it probably passed down from my Irish grandmother. I wear a cross. Not cause I am a devout Christian but as a symbol of the spiritual and a time in my life when I felt close to it. I cross myself at the start grid at every race. I say a prayer for all the racers safety and to race with strength and good sportsmanship. Its part spiritual and part habitual. 

That my friends is a sad but beautiful sight. That Mala was on my wrist for 3 solid years.

I still can't get over the fact that on the eve of PVD my 3 year old mala bracelet broke. That has been on my wrist for three solid years! It was made by hand in Shasta California and blessed....and it has given me peace. If you are unfamiliar with a mala they are basically Indian/Yogic prayer beads. The fact that I didn't crawl into a darkened room and stare at a blank wall tells me I am just kind of quirky and not a total nutjob with serious OCD. Sure I had a fantastic race and didn't break any bones (still amazed by that!) but I think its awfully coincidental that since that mala broke I have been sick as a me its not all the h1n1 germs flying around its the bracelet breaking...its like all my power and strength left me when that bracelet fell apart.

I could go on and on but I fear I may be losing what ever readers I had of this blog as they now realize just what a whack job I really am. I will try and maintain some grasp on a modern mans sensibility. But I can't guarantee that I won't revert back to the old ways at Canton on one of the most important days on the Celtic calendar.... for now each time I watch a Steelers game and am amazed at what an incredible safety Troy Palamalu is I'll also be struck by how he makes a ritual out of his sport each and every play. Cross for me is that ritual. Wether its the repetitive mantra of doing barriers over and over again, or tweaking my Paul's brakes til they are perfect, fresh white tape before a big race, massaging in the embro every ride its all one crazy ritual that helps me get my cross on.

How hot is that PBS stamp? So hot!

FMB Grippo's Racing Ralph tread meets Francois supple casings. I kind of want to just sleep with them under my pillow for a few nights before racing em...

I still don't agree with Paul on this one (but they are his design so he wins this argument!) my Rock Lobster is WAYYY better than bacon!

And yes while I have now freed myself of the burden of my OCD behavior I do harbor a rubber and sock fetish...but don't we all. Wait, don't we all? Ok perhaps that is for another post.


  1. My wheels don't leave the dropouts after Friday night (if I'm racing on Sunday).

  2. how did you like those grippos? how were they in early morning wet grass?