THE CONNECTION

TODD BROWN racerness


NORMALLY, WE SIGN UP FOR A RIDE OR RACE. Do it.  And, go home.  Though the promotor assures us there's a good cause we're helping with our cash, we really don't care.  We're just happy our community is together and we're going to get down to some fun, challenging riding.

But, yesterday's heat was oppressive.  The riding quickly went from fun to challenging to destructive.  105 degrees, not a tree or lean to insight.  My breathing was fast and shallow.

The end was near.  Not of the ride, of my ability to finish.

I wasn't alone.

Banded and bonded together, 5 or 6 of us coasted to a stop at the Trabuco General Store.

Popsicles and Cokes are on me.

Our overheating cores began to cool, somewhat.  I knew 1 of these riders by name, and all of them by effort.  We were connected... and I'm guessing we'll remember this very rough day for years.  We mounted our dusty rides, our clothes covered in salt stains.

The name of this ride is the Hardman Classic, and for the second year in a row I've been reduced to a limp residue of a man.

I finished, blurry.  Drove 5 minutes home.  Made a smoothie.  Made another.  Drank 44 oz of water.  Showered.  Laid down. 

_____

Chris texted me.  He'd done his own terrible ride and found himself in a similar position.  Propped up, watching a dramatic college football game end he texted...

I love sports!

_____

I zoned out watching what I figured would be a predictable finally of the Vuelta.  Far from it!  This is by far the best grand tour.  My favorite to watch.  The attacking and countering was on 'till the very end... with an unknown 20 year old going long range a getting himself on the final podium.  I thought...

I love sports!

_____

Feeling half-human, I drove back to the finish.  Everybody was gone.  Mike, the promotor, had kindly taken down my canopy.  As I loaded it, a few volunteers stopped by to chat.

You guys are amazing, said one.

What you do makes such a difference, said another.

It wasn't registering to me.

How bad was it out there I asked.

We rescued a lot of people.  Exhausted riders.  4 guys throwing up.

I got that, but I didn't get this...

Do you know how many kids you help?

Tired, I could only raise my eye brows.

800 kids have come through the COA Kids bike program.  We are working so hard to teach them to respect their bodies, to avoid the dangers of vaping and drugs.  And, getting them bike riding helps them make a connection to their health.

Emotionally weak, I hid my misty eyes.

... I love this sport.

_____

Feeling fresh at the start

Gloves are covered in salt... isn't the body amazing?!

My attempt to look happy

Nothing drops like HVY MTL.. I coasted the flat and climby parts of this long descent.

Chris calls this heaven.  I think he's right.

 

______

162.4
0/0
9 hrs 
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