I won't lie to you and say that I didn't feel some sort of emotion when I completed the Philly Livestrong ride 2009 on August 23rd
. It landed somewhere between the stress and exhaustion of just completing 100 miles on a moderately warm day and that cold December day in Baltimore when I rolled across the line in 20th
place out of 180 of the nations best riders at Cyclocross National Championships. Normally, when I cross the line, whether literally or figuratively, I sink myself into a bowl of granola and yogurt and think about what I just went though, debating on what I would have done differently, what I would have done the same and, sometime, just what I have done. On this day, I did away with the post ride gruel and just let my mind wander to what I had just done.
The scene was just as I had imagined, it and reminded me all to well why I choose to ride by myself or in the company of a select few. The sea of lycra clad weekend warriors chomping at the bit to get the ride underway was overwhelming. I admit that I felt very anxious at the thought of ‘sharing' the road with these folks, I had been in this position before, a very long time ago, and I swore that I would not do it again. Then my wife, and her level headed, cool as a cucumber self reminded me that this day was not at all about what I was thinking or feeling but rather I was riding to be part of a greater good that went well beyond my selfless and selfish mindset. A tough pill to swallow!
Eventually, after 2 delays, the ride began. I won't lie to you when I say that it lived up to all that I thought it would. People riding with reckless abandon. People riding with flagrant disregard for public and personal safety. Jitters?? Passion?? I'll let you decide. Jill and I managed to steer clear of any potential hazards and wove our way through upper Montgomery County and through parts Berks County stopping only to take advantage of the very well organized and very well stocked rest stops. We had an awesome ride. It was very apparent to me that as the crowds thinned out my attitude followed suit and the 100 miles ticked away. I won't say that the miles ticked away easily as some of the roads that we were on seemed to go straight up. Maybe, had I embraced the idea of ‘The Greater Good' earlier on in the process, I would be able to lie to you and say that I had sprouted wings and flew up those roads. In retrospect though, I wouldn't change a thing.
Jill and I finished the day in ‘who cares!' and we placed ‘I don't even know' in a field of about ‘does it really matter.' All that did matter was that, at least for this day, I was part of the greater good.