Wiser, more balanced, souls quit before racing becomes destructive. They are reconciled to normal lives with weekend rides, as they bury themselves in the minutiae of moderation. In peace, everything becomes bland. Everyday rewards are meaningless compared to the dizzying cocktail of fear and ego and exhilaration you find at the front of a race, exhausted, as you trade blows on the cobblestones at speeds you refuse to think of. In the finale of a race, all of your labour, all of your strength, cunning, skill and desire are compressed into one critical moment. As that moment explodes, everything is possible. Most of the time, you fail, but when you don’t, when you soar over the finish line with your arms in air, you have managed, if for a second, to attain the impossible. So we destroy ourselves, we pass up opportunities, forgo stability, and race. It isn’t wise, the rewards aren’t tangible, but in that destruction, in the pain and the danger and the madness, we find bliss.