Pedaling in Blue

In Wise Eyes on August 9, 2008 at 2:20 pm

“Go with the Kid’s Breakfast Burrito.  It’s the perfect amount without making you want to hurl on your way up the last hill.”  My new found group of bikers settled into a Saturday brunch at Knowlwood cafe, a small diner near the Amtrak rail.  We had ridden almost 35 miles so far that morning.  We chatted about the Olympics opening ceremony.  “The journalists could have done a better job.  There were so many empty spots that they could have said more.  Maybe there were not allowed to say more.”

It was my first experience with Uncle John’s crew.  They had been doing the ‘run’ for the last twenty something years every Saturday morning; Knowlwood on their way home.  I enjoyed the comradery, even though I was very green in my spandex.  I managed to buy a marked-down, blue top from the ‘chop shop’ near my house.  It was my new blue chop shop top; it matched my shoes. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist) Now I had one complete kit.  Sleek in spandex.  Somehow, I felt like I had crossed over from one side of the fence to the other.  I was no longer looking in from the outside.  I was drafting in the middle of the pack.

It always seems easier to get to know guys in motion.  I had a conversation over coffee this last week with a friend.  We chatted until our common experiences ran out.  Then, we parted ways to go have more expriences to talk about; he went to serve at the youth group, and I came home to make dinner.  Sitting and having coffee can be fine, but I don’t know them until we have travelled together, had an experience, or worked on a project.

I am still new to the friendship thing.  I live in a place where 70% of the people I meet have come from somewhere else.  In the past, most of my common experiences were shared with guys on the soccer teams.  There were coaches and there were players and not much in between.  We were either receiving instruction or offering it.  I find myself comfortable either coaching or playing.  But, how am I to come alongside other guys to give and receive at the same time?

As I fell back behind the front two I heard a voice come along side me as two bikes passed me: “Stay on my wheel and I’ll pull you up to the group.”  Uncle John’s voice reassured me that this was a team working together.  I was not being competitively passed, but rather I was being invited into his draft.  Drafting felt uncomfortably close to the bike ahead of me.  Wheels almost touching, I found myself in the wind tunnel carved by the leading rider.  It is kind of like being in the eye of a storm.  The benefit is that you expend only 70% the energy of the leader, opening the door to a multitude of racing nuances.

We climbed the final hill to bring us back to our Newport Coast starting point.  It was perfectly central to many great Southern California rides.  I pulled up on the back wheel of Omant, a hardware designer for large computer outfits; he frequently travelled overseas to Tai Pei.  “I would consider myself a Christian Buddhist,” he told Dave the rider on his right.  After a brief pause, he continued to talk about how Buddhists believe that all molecules are equally close to God; there was no descrimination between man or animals.  I admired his courage for opening up.  I wanted to know more about what appealed to him about Buddhism.  We kept pace to finish the ride together.  Through canyons, over hills and bridges; just pedaling.


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