At this phase of the season I am using the Sunday team ride as a hard day. For the first time this year Sunday was forecast to be dry. These two tidbits led me to bring out my fast bike for the gentlemen's throw down we call the Sunday Hank Ride.
As we gathered to our great surprise Tom "the cheetah" rolled up. Tom had surgery less than two weeks ago and we expected that he might take more time off after having SURGERY ON HIS SPINE!! We were, however, glad to see he was healing well. He was moving his head freely whereas before he had a posture as if he was wearing his jersey with the clothes hanger still in it.
Eight hearty souls rolled down Capital Hill and we picked up two more before the throw down commenced. The "every man for himself." portion usually starts off casually and gradually ramps up so riders drop off typically twenty to sixty percent of the way around Mercer Island. Less than one minute in Seabiscuit took to the front and kept going. Only three of us caught on and the selection was made.
McWoodie and Seabiscuit took long pulls with Moonlight and Evo taking shorter pulls. I didn't dare look at my cycle computer as I expected that if I saw my heart rate was as high as I thought it was, I would have reason to back off. I kept lying to myself saying, "just one more corner" and hung on to the base of the big hill. I held on and then McWoodie drove the false flat as he always does and I hate him for it. I was still in the mix and took only a short pull as I was dropped post false flat two weeks ago. We kept going fast...
I was third wheel as we came to the sprint but since I was cooked and "just glad to be here" I gave only a half hearted effort. I finished a happy fourth and after we turned around it was quite a while before the balance of our band of merry men came up the road.
The return took the typical format of a gradual ramp up shedding riders one at a time and once again I looked to find we were only four of us. I gladly soaked up compliments from McWoodie and Seabiscuit on riding hard. I had ridden hard and was glad someone noticed.
Coffee and Lies
We all were sincerely glad to have Tom back in our midst. He was almost giddy over the joy of riding. While some of us were focused on trivial things like going fast, it reminded us of how lucky we are to be able to ride. Of course we engaged in the usual banter about clothing and components, but we were mindful of the reality that such items are absolutely unimportant.
Later on Sunday under unique circumstances I found myself at a laundromat. I could not recall how many decades it has been since I was in a laundromat, suffice to say, it had been many, many years.
As I looked at the patrons I expected to see people I would, in my judgmental way, view in a certain light. Maybe owing to my station in life as a parent and grandparent I am perhaps softer than I had been previously.
A man came in pulling a large wheeled suitcase with one hand while the other hand held that of a small girl about four years of age. It was apparent they had walked a good distance to the laundromat. He zipped open the suitcase revealing a heap of dirty clothes and he commenced a routine that I could tell he had done many times before. He measured out detergent and drew a roll of quarters from a compartment of the suitcase. The girl sat on a washing machine waiting patiently for him to complete his task. Soon the machines were washing and the father and daughter were reading a book.
When my errand was complete i packed up and left. I could not help but think of how lucky I am to have a nice home, a sweet wife, children who generally like me and more bikes than I deserve. I haven't been hungry except when I am trying to slim down. I am all for personal responsibility, but I also know sometimes people need a lucky break, or a little help. This can be a tough world for some people. I wish you all a good 2013.