If I don’t want to worry for a while, I just want to relax, then look at it. If I want to get the noise out of my head, think for a moment that everything is fine, then look at it. Even the little voice in the back of my head that says something is going on, so much until this year, I fell silent. I look at it. Everything is okay.
It’s Anna on her bike. Anna van der Bregen. It rotates, no, it floats over a ridge. A few millimeters over asphalt, so little, you don’t even see it. It should float as though it were pulled on by a thread. She runs her legs weightless and effortless. Permanent motion machine under the straight upper body. sphinx. This perfect piece takes ten seconds. I repeat it endlessly.
The year 2020 is unpleasant and thorny. Sad sad. When the corn ripens, the gloom strikes, because autumn and winter are coming. Rain, wind, hail and gloom – many times this year more than usual. But my heart lights up when I see her cycling like this. I look at it. Nothing around me is still there. Everything is okay.
It was the World Road Cycling Championship. It almost didn’t happen. Much like the sport this year, it will be canceled. They even said in Emilia-Romagna, Italy: Come here. We finish at Imola and before that we hike through the hills. Around the ridge. With fields in the background. And a few cypress trees. Cliffs roll over a blue sky.
Perfection turned into meat
No spectators. Just a cyclist, on the hills, caught in the eye of the helicopter camera. The longer I looked, the more it seemed to me that it was not really there, but stuck in a landscape. Sharply cut, the tip of the braid shine in the sun. For a moment, she bends her chin. Is she checking her strength meter? Or to her twisted legs? Is she surprised like me? Look at it, perfection is embodied. Nothing around me is still there. Everything is okay.
In this year when sport was not a sport, because without an audience, the soul is out, there should be one moment. Even if it’s only one second. Or ten after that, like here. Surely there should be one part, which is unanimously the most beautiful and the best? Photo to celebrate this sport. To be honored. And to get what was once and what we hope will come again soon.
Now that there is no sports party, no female athlete, no sports team this year, there is a sporting moment for 2020. According to the one-woman jury, Anna van der Bregen is on her bike. I want it on the wall like a painting. As wallpaper on my computer and my phone. Preferably a little late. Repeatedly. repeatedly.
When the volatility of the year becomes too much for me, I look at it, perfection embodied. Nothing around me is still there. Rest my head. Everything is okay.
Journalist and former professional cyclist Marin de Vries leads you through the sports weekend every Monday. Read previous columns here.