Monday, December 27, 2010

Road Karma

These where gold on Sunday
It rained again Saturday night, but the storm started early and moved fast enough to be long gone by morning.  So though the roads where damp, Sunday ended up being a pretty good day to ride.

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.

22 comments:

Julie @ Hotlegs Runner said...

This post made me smile. God bless your heart, Patrick! You are a blessing to many. Me included. Without you, I wouldn't have found my bike and wouldn't have known about Bike Religion. =) For that...THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH! =)

pinkvision said...

The random kindness of strangers. :) Generosity is a gift that gives to both giver and receiver.

Kovas Palubinskas said...

And the endurance world was lucky it found you. Another really good post on the positives, nice job.

TRI-james said...

I am quick to give up a tube or CO2 – it makes you feel good and it is cheap insurance.

In my experience, the cost of doing good is paid back tenfold.

Christi said...

Endurance athletes are the best! I can't tell you how many times people have offered to help or helped when I have been stranded by the side of the road. Additionally, I always try to do the same. We are a fraternity and like you I am glad that I have found this world!

Jill said...

A true heart of gold!

One thing I panicked about during my DU was getting a flat...like what the heck do I do in a race?? Now I get to obsess over that for the next two again...yay!

Black Knight said...

I remember when I bought my bike and I worried about the flats. The seller said: "don't worry you will always meet another biker or an endurance runner when you get into the troubles".

Jason said...

It is always great to hear about self-less acts. I'm sure you remember but in the 2009 Kona broadcast they discussed Chrissie Wellington getting a cartridge from a competitor. That has always stuck with me b/c that competitor knew they were giving Chrissie a shot to come back and win (which she did) but it was a self-less act.

I truly believe that we as endurance athletes are self-less and give back way more than we take from this world.

Great post Patrick. I am not only happy to have found the endurance world but to have found you in this endurance world. You always bring perspective to this lifestyle we lead.

Julie said...

One of the things I loved when I started doing triathlon was how people ALWAYS yell out to you when you are on the side of the road to see if you need help.

I LOVE being able to offer up a CO2 cartridge or a tube, too!!

Caratunk Girl said...

Yeah, it is true for sure! I am more than happy to give out a tube or CO2 cartridge to help someone out.

TRI714 said...

This is so you. And you may or may not remember this, but I bet you will. Because in all likeliness this will come back to you sooner,than later.

Pretend this is real said...

Good karma is nice to have. I always figure that I'll end up in a similar situation and I hope someone would do the same for me!

Aimee said...

Awesome post! And you definitely have some good karma headed your way!

Barbie said...

Love it - and I too am happy to have found Tri's. Mostly everyone I have met has had a heart of gold - always out there to help in one form or another.

DRog said...

so true!
You're not able to recieve anything until you give it away? something like that anyway. My experience in the last four years is whatever I give away opens up much bigger possibilities.
D

Shawn said...

Yep....there is no better Karma than the Karma you make yourself...hey, maybe thats a blog all by itself...way to go Patrick..I like it!!!!

RockStarTri said...

Well done. I'm sure they will play it forward too.

ajh said...

Nice post!

Cynthia O'H said...

Definitely good karma, Patrick.

Endurance sports brings out the best in everyone. Even in some of the most competitive situations, if one man is down, another will help.

Data is important but no one can measure the feelings we get from participating and competing or the positives that come from it.

Great post.

Chris K said...

Very cool. I suppose it would be similar if runners gave each other GU. Not sure I'd give someone my shoes with 6 miles left to go :-)

mackenzie said...

totally agree. as stingy as i normally am, i readily volunteer to give away tubes and co2 canisters to fellow cyclists. i've been on the receiving end, so it's only fair!

Big Clyde said...

Great post. I think you are a great example of how giving this community is to other athletes (at all levels).

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