It has nothing to do with motorcycling, but it has to do with speed.
This morning, Eliud Kipchoge, a Kenyan athlete, winner of the Berlin marathon with a world record of 2h01'39, a gold medal in the Olympic Games marathon in Rio de Janeiro, ran the legendary 42 Km and 195 meters under two hours. Exactly in 1h50'40". A world record that was not homologated because it was not run during a real marathon race but during a specially organized event.
This, however, doesn't matter to us. For any kind of speed enthusiast, under two hours with an average of 2'50", at an average of 21.13 km/h, is like finding the Holy Grail.
That's right. Eliud was "helped" in his endeavor by 41 hares, also high-level athletes, taking turns, in front of him and by his side in an arrow formation, but think of it and see it differently: for anyone who loves marathons and knows what it means to run at a pace of 2'50"/Km, all this is incredible. Not only strength, endurance, but also concentration. Then we have the rabbits. He's been training with them for months, and they've become a group.
Just like us mortal amateurs. Besides the physical help they offer in running before you, pulling you ahead, there's that incredible human, psychological help. It's artificial, but like a robot with a human brain. It thrills me because I love speed in all its expressions.
True, it's not a record, the way we intend this term, even if there is actually no absolute record in the marathon but only a better time, given that they run on different courses. This is just a magnificent demonstration of one's will in reaching a goal. Sure, helped by sponsors, but that's how things go nowadays.
An average 21.13 km/h, as we commonly understand them, are not speed. For those who love running, even on shorter distances, they instead represent the last Thule.
Many years have passed but I remember when, with the late Andrea de Cesaris, a Formula 1 driver and our occasional training partner, we used to talk about 3'/km for 1 Km. And how difficult that pace was, even for a trained young athlete.
"Mandingo" almost did not want to believe the difficulty of maintaining that push for just one kilometer. He changed his mind.
That's why, as a speed aficonado, he would genuflect almost every week before the undertakings of my heroes on two and four wheels. I, likewise, bow to the god who is capable of doing the same on two legs.
Surrounded by friends. Driven by the crowd. Useless? Maybe. But everything we do on this earth is useless, except what makes us feel good, everything that makes us overcome our limits.
And knowing that a man like myself has exceeded that limit, even if I never would have been able to do it, not even in my earliest of years, makes me happy.
After all, I'll never ride a Honda RC213-V like Marc Marquez. I won't know what it's like to have a long career like Valentino Rossi, I'll never end up in a sporting year as terrible as Jorge Lorenzo's.
But I have and will try to overcome other challenges.