I'm so glad that other folks had their cameras whirring while we were in California, because my battery went kaput only barely into the trip and I had none of the accoutrements to recharge it. (My physical battery was similarly empty, but my spirit was refilled like crazy. I consider that more than an even trade.) There are so many of whom I never got photos who made such an impact on me--Stronger, Chris, Triboomer, Bolder . . .
I did, however, get a few decent shots. As it turned out, these few shots parallel the memories that I will take from "the perfect weekend." I have repressed my actual race, but the friendship memories are full and vivid.
Now a few pictures and some random thoughts to go with:
Did you ever wonder what it would look like if a tornado hit a high end bike shop? Pretty much like our campsite. With the possible exception of Chris, I think each of our abilites was outclassed by our bicycles:
In every case, I know that the people were more interesting than any bike porn. (Not that there was any people porn . . . I was sleeping, of course, so I wouldn't know. But I hear things.)
There were some very very special people in my perfect weekend--now members of the extended Greyhound family who have carte blanche to show up on our doorstep and stay until they no longer have need of us. "Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art... It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival." C. S. Lewis
Iron Jenny, the Butterfly. Mayor of Wildflower. Her personal space was about the size of Central California. Yet, "Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you." (Nathaniel Hawthorne)
Susanna, Curly Su, melter of my old, brotherly heart. "Affection is responsible for nine-tenths of whatever solid and durable happiness there is in our lives." (C. S. Lewis) You have added to my nine-tenths and you continue still. You were that beautiful view or natural wonder I see passing by on the trail, knowing I can't take it with me and make it mine, but happy to leave it for some extremely lucky later person to enjoy. When I think of the future you, what a gift! Thanks to this sport, I am lucky enough to get to sit back, watch, enjoy, and cheer for you all along the way.
Kahuna, hiding behind that third person voice as the mighty Iron Kahuna. In real life, you urge us to "pay no attention to that man behind the curtain." Reluctant though you may be, "If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader." (John Quincy Adams)
Iron Wil, a perfect partner in his podcasting crime. Tough as Latina to the midwest power with a masterpiece laugh that lights my day. "Our chief want is someone who will inspire us to be what we know we could be." (Ralph Waldo Emerson) You fill that want.
Taconite Boy, my brother on so many levels. You have no idea how much less scary it is to have someone else say out loud, crap, this is hard--I'm not sure I can do it. "Do the thing you fear most and the death of fear is certain." (Mark Twain)
Trimama, we came from completely different families, and yet we have so much more in common than you know. You might think I had all the childhood advantages, and I probably did, but I still look to you as my example to follow. "A person always doing his or her best becomes a natural leader, just by example." (Joe DiMaggio)
The irrepressable Robo-Stu. Kahuna is so lucky to have a buddy and training partner like you. "Enthusiasm moves the world." (Arthur Balfour) You, sir, are Atlas.
We are people from all over the country, introduced by something as impersonal as the internet, and yet to look at each of you was like seeing part of myself in the mirror. That is where friendship comes from. "Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one!'" (C. S. Lewis)
No, I'm not the only one. Neither are you.