But wasn’t he going to hang it up—especially with his blood pressure spiking and his family imploring him to let go? “There are some parts of me,” he admits, “that say, ‘Hell, if nobody else cares, why should I?’” His voice rumbles through the phone. He sounds content, less agitated than when we met in Fresno. “But then I go back and think about everything that’s happened and say, ‘Uh-uh. I’m not giving in.’”
Does that make Rick Norsigian an art-world pioneer, forging a new route that others are too timid to attempt? Or is he a doomed climber who can’t see any other way than up?
Those are questions Norsigian might ponder in the future. But he’s too busy for that now. At last, after all these years, he thinks he sees the top.
David Howard is executive editor of BICYCLING, former senior editor at BACKPACKER, and author of Lost Rights, about a stolen copy of the Bill of Rights.