Friday, July 19, 2013

Tour of the Anatomy

Check out my skinny cyclist arms.

Hard to believe these belong to a 46-year-old man, I know. Over the years, friends and strangers alike have observed that I’ve got the forearms of a 12-year-old girl, the wrists of a child. Finding a manly watchband that fits has always been a challenge. I admit that for several years I actually wore a lady’s Timex, its little pink button sending out unintended signals, because it was the only watch I could find —apart from kids’ watches—that fit me. Most men’s watches, with their over-sized faces, look absurd on me.

Next to guys with burly, lumberjack wrists, I have always felt my arms must look delicate, fragile, vaguely feminine.  (In fact, I have broken each wrist once, though not on the bike. Maybe they are fragile.) Having the arms of a stick insect can make a grown fella feel a bit self-conscious about his perceived manliness.

Dan Martin's gun show.
Except when cycling. In the cycling world, skinny arms are not only tolerated, they are the norm—admired even. Watching the Tour de France, I see dozens of grown men, elite athletes all, whose arms are even skinnier than mine. Get a load of Dan Martin’s rail-thin limbs or Andy Schleck’s Tinker Toy limbs or Chris Froome’s Peewee-Herman pipes. I think I could take Alberto Contador in an arm wrestling match. It would be close.  

Chris Froome's been working out.
I recall the first time I watched professional cycling on television years ago. It was like stumbling upon a tribe of strange natives who look like . . . me—at least in this one respect. My point is that in the cycling world, my arms fit right in. They’re not weak or girlish; they’re sinewy, svelte, built for climbing and aerodynamics and speed.

Every July, when I see Tour cyclists on TV, I get to feel pretty good about my skinny cyclist arms, if only for three weeks or so.    

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Those are a bunch of REALLY skinny wrists. A child could wrap his fingers around those wrists. Be careful that your watch doesn't slip off.


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