Clipping In (to the bike pedals) - A Little History, cont. #4

The entry form for Washington asks what category you want to enter. I was in my 50s. But then I saw it, an angel from God appeared – They had a category “Clydesdales” for guys over 190 pounds. You are kidding me! A category for fat guys! Sign me up. I have not weighed under 190 since 8th grade.

I did not sleep before the race. I just wanted to make it. Get there. Maybe, hopefully, I would not be last. I started in the last pack and at the end of the last pack. I did not want to be in anyone’s way. For the first mile all I heard was the pick-up truck behind me gunning its engine. The truck was for the folks who quit. Kind of ominous.

Then joy! She was riding down the mountain. She was all dressed up in cycling regalia, matching shorts and shirt, probably on some team. Started way before me in the earlier waves at the starting line. She was young, too. I will not be last! But that created a second pause, because she quit and she looks really “pro.”…. She told me “broken chain” as she went by.

At two miles I saw the first walkers. I passed 20-30 walkers. A lot of folks zig zag at the back of the pack, anything to make it easier. For the last 5 miles, when you are slow, you are always at the edge – walk or keep pedaling. It is a mental challenge as much as a physical one.

At the end I fell. The last pitch was too much and the bike toppled over. I walked the last 40 yards. I was among the last of 550 finishers. Of course, the folks behind me were mainly the Clydesdales. Heavy guys do not go uphill very fast.

I am at a point where I really do not care how well I do as compared to others or even to people in my age group or for that matter in my weight category. The challenge is to show up, to make it. I feel that God has given each of us an invitation – the party is different for each of us, but there is a party. Have to show up.

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