|These where gold on Sunday|
Except for flats. Everyone was getting them. We must have passed seven people over 40 miles with a wheel off. Three of them where within a few miles of each other. Every time, a "you good?" was shouted, and a "yeah, fine thanks" was shouted back.
However, when we where stopped for coffee (at a Starbucks which happens to be next to a bike shop), a big group rode up. Though it was before 10, they where hoping that by some miracle the bike shop was open. Because between the 12 of them, they where nearly out of tubes and still had 50 miles to go.
Unfortunately, the shop wasn't open. But since I only had six miles left and have flatted twice on both of my bikes within the last week, I figured that statistically speaking I was good. So I gave them my two spare tubes.
I know this sounds contrived, but I really like helping people out. Especially other cyclists. I don't know what it is...maybe we are a brotherhood (and sisterhood) bonded by flashy colored Lycra and exotic salves. Maybe there is an unspoken understanding that when on a bike, we cyclists share a common enemy - cars, and in fact probably ride our bikes safer that we drive. Or maybe it is a mild and arguably healthy case of elitism - we ride, they don't. And even though it's cool that "they" don't ride, the fact still remains that we do.
For me, it's simple math - The eight bucks I gave away is worth less than these guys getting in another 50 miles. Besides, I know I'll get it back somewhere down the line.
When I am on my deathbed (which let's hope is in many, many years), I'd like to be able to look back on my life and see that I gave just as much as I got from endurance sports. It's doubtful I'll remember this one incident, but perhaps there will be enough incidents that when added together will leave a hefty chunk of charity on the balance sheet of my life.
Endurance sports bring out the best in us. However, I think we sometimes only measure this in the physical realm. Being results driven, we celebrate when we get faster or stronger from year to year or from race to race. But I think it's easy to overlook or undervalue the positive changes that are not so easily quantifiable. Off the top of my head I can think of 10 things in my life that may not be "ideal". But when I factor in what I get out of endurance sports, it's a big sum positive and those 10 things hardly matter, regardless of my 2010 race results.
I've said it before, and I'm sure I'll say it again - I'm lucky to have found this world.