This glorious sadness that brings me to my knees

About that Ride.

A week ago I finished my fourth AIDS/Lifecycle.  It was hard for all of the wrong reasons.

Four weeks before we left I thought I would take Bill the Dog down to the Clayton Art and Wine festival and hang with either Cousin Jeanne or Cousin in law Jason, whoever was there.  The truck needed gas first.  The 20 year old truck.  The battery failed at the pump and the truck was stuck there.  Oh, and it was 10am on a Sunday.  Who cares?  I called AAA.

Well, apparently the guy at the station wanted it out of there after 30 minutes of waiting for AAA.  We go to push it and it comes to that point where you jump into the truck to hit the brake so it doesn’t roll out onto Clayton Road and I missed the hop.  Oh yeah, I rode over Morgan Territory the day before.

I don’t know if that is going to work or not but if it does it’s cool.  Anyway there was 4497 feet of elevation change.  And my legs were toast.  So hopping up in the truck was off the table.  I caught my heel on the sill and my foot got stuck between the bottom of the seat and the sill of the truck.  And the truck was rolling away and Bill the Dog was in it.  I thought about just dropping out but there was a curb behind me and I was afraid of a curb with one foot stuck in the truck and a head injury.  If I missed the curb I ran the risk of getting run over by my own runaway truck.  And Bill was driving at that point.

I don’t know why I didn’t tell the guy to stop pushing, but I didn’t.  And at the end of the day I ended up shoving my shoulder into the truck to stop it from rolling.  But it was too late for my hamstring.  In spite of some amazing work by Dr. Elkind, I left on June 1 at about 70%.   And it got worse.

By Day 2 I had compensated for the hamstring to the point that my calf was blown up too.  By far my earliest trip ever to Sports Med.

 

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Kind of pathetic that this is the only picture they have of me.  On the other hand, that guy was giving everyone a push.

But that’s not what this is about.  This is about Edna.

Edna was a Training Ride Leader, a 13 time rider (that’s 9 times more than me) and just one of those infectious personalities you cannot help but be drawn to.  She was always and I do mean always smiling.  I have no recollection of any other expression on her face.

On Day 4 she was riding along with her husband and she went into cardiac arrest.  On her bike.  She fell off and hit her head.  We all wear helmets but there is only so much they can do.  She might have survived the cardiac incident but the head injury was too much.  Her devoted husband rode on the next day and broke his leg.  I’m sure he rode on because she would have wanted him to, she loved the ride but he was understandably too distraught.  He loved her.  She passed on June 8th.  We all rode into Los Angeles on Day 7 with her number either taped to our helmets or our bikes.  We all carried her into LA.

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Edna was a Dodger fan.  She was wearing that jersey on her last day of riding.  A lot of people have said she died doing what she loved, which was the Ride.  I guess that’s a decent way to go. An old friend died on the rugby pitch, same story.  It’s just that I’m not done here so I’d like to keep on rolling for about 40 more years.  So if something happens to me rest assured, I’m pissed off about it.

I just think about her husband.  He is a kind and generous man.  This woman that so affected 2500 riders and 500 Roadies was an amazing personality and an amazing person.  If we are all feeling it how bad must it be for the man that loved her, woke up with her every day, had breakfast with her?  I really feel for him.  His loss must be excruciating.  He’s probably numb right now but holy crap when this one catches up…that poor man.  She was 41.

It just makes me think about the fragility of this life.  It’s not like I don’t get it, I do.  When the good Lord calls you home, you’re going whether it’s part of your plan or not.  Every year when I ride out of the Cow Palace I look down at my handle bars and say “This could be it.  You could not come home from this.  Is your shit straight?”  I try to live my life in a way that the answer is always “yes”.  Some people won’t allow that, but that’s their problem not mine.  It’s my job to do my best, whatever that is at that particular moment in time.  And let God sort the rest out.

 

 

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