She was singing and I don't mean softly, or in a meek fashion. She was singing up to heaven, hands and voice raised for all to hear. It was dark and about 5:45 AM. The guy parked next to me grunted and groaned and acted like he was on his way to the gallows. Yes, I recognized the symptoms, I invented them.
"What is she going on about?"
He said to no one, and continued fumbling with his bike strapped on a rack.
I said, as I walked between the cars and with in a foot of him.
I know something about the subject though, I must confess I have never felt absolved of anything I would consider a true sin. I have been reborn many times physically, emotionally and musically. I have been back from the depths of places I never thought I would escape. I have pulled off things I had no business accomplishing, and I have fallen short of things well within my reach. She was singing for salvation and for me, and even though the music was for her headphones only, I new the tune.
Today I was David, and Goliath was 68 miles of road. The cancer charity Ride-4-Hope was the only cause that could make me saddle up for such foolishness. My buddy Big Worm, formulated a plan for me and I decided two nights before, to sign up and figure the rest out later. That is how I came to be standing in a dirt parking lot, before dawn, wearing sunglasses, while laughing at the grouch that couldn't appreciate good, authentic, free Gospel (at this ungodly hour).
The boys trickled in one by one and we rolled out at six thirty. Before long the pace settled in around 20-23 Mph, and we began passing folks that were riding at a more conversational pace. We rolled passed a woman with a triathlon set up and she said loud enough for everyone to hear:
"We will see them on the side of the road later... don't worry."
Big Worm shot her a glance and as is his character, said nothing with words, but volumes with his expression. Not being one to waste a clay pigeon, I took aim.
"No we won't!"
I said as I passed her.
"Just because you have funny bars on your bike doesn't mean you know everything!"
She opened her maw, like she was going to catch flies for the next ninety miles. And just like that, the spirit moved in my body and I was my old self again, whacking the hive and killing the silence, for all hoping to have a quiet morning ride.
We rolled along at a quick pace but I was feeling fine and even worked up front on a climb. By the time we got to Monticello (the splitting point for the Hundred milers and the Hundred kilometer-ers) I called my girl and told her all was well and I was going to keep going. This was my projected bail out point (if my neck or any of my other feeble parts were feeling rough) and Mama W.B. was on stand by to evac me. Mr. Fightclub, his son, nephew (all towering examples of genetic bigness) and I, took the left and veered away from the safety of our B.C. bros and headed west.
M.F.C.'s crew and I followed in behind some guy in his fifties who proceeded to light the pace up for about four miles. I told him I could pull for a while just as our next turn came up. I pulled and then M.F.C.'s nephew went up front, all the while the pace was pretty fast. We dropped the older guy, but a young man (name escapes me) rode with us for a while putting in some big pulls, until he too disappeared off the back. With in eight miles of the finish, other metric riders began catching us and all was festive as we rolled back into town. I decided to sprint for a yellow sign, while smirking at F.C. and his nephew when out of nowhere I heard laughing on my left. I watched as Don Davis (printing his real name, because I hate him) snatched my glory and my sign as everyone laughed.
It was remarkable how unremarkable I felt when I rolled though the finish line. I didn't want to talk to anyone and found a quiet corner to drink a Gatorade. I loaded up my car and decided to roll out before the boys got back from the hundred miler. Some things are better left unsaid and I drove home, had a swim and went to lunch with my girl and Lil W.B. (number one son is in France).
It was a good day on the bike, I couldn't have dreamed of having, even a month ago. It is proof to all that wish to see, that there is always hope. The easiest way to redemption, is to ride to it, on a bicycle.