By Mike Ferrentino

pennies ¥ on the dollar

_5 Past lives for sale eVERY SUMMER OF MY LIFE HAS A THEME. That theme is usually defined by the lessons learned; lessons that then get carted around through the rest of life and hopefully remembered at some crucial moment In all likelihood, Lhat crucial moment won't ever come, or if it does, it will arrive atop a landslide of such monumentally mind-wrecking shit thaL the lesson thaL would have given me some saving grace or perspective will be completely forgotten amidst an engulfing wave of terror. But that doesn't mean the lesson was a wasted one. Or at least that's what I tell myself in the aftermath.

The lessons have been many. Wear sunscreen. Don't throw rocks at beehives. Swim across the ripLide, not against it. Don't be blinded by love. Don't be blinded by anger. Black is a bad hot-weather color. Dehydration causes headaches. It is always possible to hurL more. There is emptiness in quilling. The deserL has no mercy. Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noonday sun. Only distance and fatigue can quieL the voices inside. SomeLimes iL is best to travel alone. Sometimes it is best to be surrounded by friends. Happiness can be defined by a sleeping bag and a meteor shower. Wear sunscreen, dipshit-why didn't you listen the first time? My lesson for the summer of 2009 has been to relax the grip on the past and make room for the present. IL has been a lesson in both Lhe mental and physical sense.

Shortly after venturing Lo Colorado for a six-day stage race, where I had one aspect of this lesson beaten into me on a daily basis ("you are much slower than you remembered yourself being, sucker"), I returned home to a new house and a pair of lives needing Lo (ill said house. This dictated some shedding of skin, in terms of Lhe crap I've carLed around for lhe pasl decade or two. As in: Garage Sale.

So, one week afLer climbing wearily up Lhe front step of my new home, body scorched by high-alLiLude sunburn, I found myself standing in the fronl yard behind a blue larp where Lhe random delritus of two decades of cycling was arrayed at my feet. For iwo days, a diverse parade of humanity rifled through my pasl life, inevilably taking away something one haggled dollar at a Lime, and by Lhe end of it Lhe blue Larp was almosL empty. WiLh each negotiation. a surge of memory preceded a Lwinge of loss, which was Lhen followed by a deep brealh and a sense of relief. A billersweel laste-lhe emancipaled feeling of acceplance and relief mingling wiLh Lhe melancholy for good limes pasl and Lhe remembrance of trails slill nol Lraveled.

I didn'l once ask where any of Lhese old pieces of me were headed. This was probably for the best. What use would a bantamweight Mexican dude have for five skinsuits, size large, in obsolele cyclocross team colors? Baggy wreslling coslumes? Superhero outfits for Halloween? Likewise, the somewhaL rotund and proud-of-iL recumbenl rider was well aware

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