Friday, June 13, 2008

Remember the Ride

As a cyclist I've ridden close to, if not more then,100,000 miles. I've been on thousands of rides and ridden with hundreds (or more) of people. Most of my rides have been focused on racing or training for racing. Yet, being very honest there are very few races or rides I remember. Sure I can look back in training logs and see where I rode, how far and with who; but what rides do I remember?

The rides I remember are the unexpected rides with friends, people who don't race, people who I slow down to ride with. I've spent a lot of time riding over nearly 25 years (I got addicted to this sport young) and over that time there are only a few rides I really remember. A cold ride in the fall, probably in 83 with my dad to Morrison. At the time it seemed epic, now just an ordinary ride. But I remember it was cold, windy and the hill on Old Kipling was huge.

I also remember a ride on Easter of 85, with an old friend, a friend of my parents, who took me out to Cherry Creek after a neighborhood Easter brunch. I found out today he has Leukemia, and that ride and many others with him stick out in my mind. At 14 going on a ride with a family friend was fun. Over the years I'd unexpectedly bump into him and ride. Always I'd slow down. Always he'd tell me to go ahead and do my "planned ride". But always I'd slow down and ride. Somewhere along the way this person stopped being my parents friend and became mine. He gave me a job when it was needed (more than once), he (and his wife) bought Ade and I a great wedding present, they hosted a wedding party for us in Denver after being married in SLC because not everyone from Denver could make it, they bought us a present (I still know exactly what it was) when Seamus was born. The rides didn't make us friends, but I'll always remember laps in Washington Park, talking, enjoying a slower pace, enjoying riding with a friend, enjoying riding.

Riding a bike has always been part of me, but now I look back and wonder why? Was it because so many people I knew rode and enjoyed it? Was it because of the friendships? Was it because people like this rode and were/are important in other parts of my life. Where does the bike riding end and life begin?

All I know was upon hearing he had leukemia I was happy. Happy for every unexpected ride with him. Happy for always knowing riding with a friend was more important than the plan. Happy to remember all his bikes (a black Eddy, a titanium Sampson) and his yellow Skid Lid. Happy for showing me (and many others) how to make the world a better place through activism and day to day actions. Happy for my "uncle".

Disease may have him now, but I'll never forget any of the rides with him.

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