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A Cyclist in Mourning…

July 2016
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I found out yesterday that my friends and I are going to lose one of our best cycling buds for the rest of the season, possibly for good.  The wall of his heart is too thin after a lifetime of pushing it.  He’s going in to have open heart surgery.

He’s cancelled all of the rides he’s signed up for and has been ordered to stay off his bike entirely until after he’s healed from the procedure and is well into his rehab stint.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, what would happen if we lost one of us.  Our dynamic over the last year and a half has been quite spectacular.  We each know our role and we each fit to make a complex human cycling puzzle that works like a finely tuned machine.

The logical part of me knows that all will be okay, that no matter what, I’m going to help my friend back to the best shape he’s allowed by his doctor.  I know that I’ll ride no matter what, as will my wife.  I know that the rest of my friends and I will take part in some epic rides together…  Still, there’s that nagging range of “what if’s” that I’m struggling to suppress:

What if this is the end of the awesomeness?  What if my buddy really was the glue that held us all together?  What if he can’t make a full recovery, if he’s relegated to hour-long spins at 15-16 mph (he will not be pleased)?  What if cycling is never as fun anymore?  What will I do without the one guy who is the most like me of all of the guys I ride with, if he can’t come back?

Damn, it’s too depressing to think about.

I know the proper way to think about this, it’s just tough to keep from contemplating those selfish scenarios.  Mike is, after all, one of my best friends and cycling won’t be the same until he comes back.

My goal over the next several months will be to become the guy who can take his place my group needs until then… and unfortunately that means fixing a few personal character defects so I can be that guy – selfishness is chief among them [see, it’s started already].  Humility sucks.

UPDATE:  I spoke to my buddy a short while ago…  It’s good news!  Well, as good as can be hoped for where open heart surgery is needed.  He needs a change in diet and a triple bypass. Because he’s been an athlete for so long his body grew new arteries around the blocked one’s.  They just have to graft new arteries on the existing to get a little more blood to his ticker.  In terms of a full recovery, the news couldn’t be any better.  Good news indeed.

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16 Comments

  1. bberns27 says:

    I’m sorry that you have to go through that. Maybe you can find other activities to help bond you all 😉

  2. Kecia says:

    Sending lots of healing thoughts and vibes to your friend! I hope he comes out of this super strong and able to continue the life he loves! Positive vibes to you during this difficult time as well! 😉

  3. Nicely put. I wish your friend well.

  4. fastk9dad says:

    I hope your friend makes a full and quick recovery!

  5. He’ll be the Six Million Dollar Man with a new heart – as will you all have when he comes back. All the best to your friend.

  6. I am praying for him.

    You just demonstrated the unique bond that develops between the cyclists we ride with the most, an intimacy that goes beyond description. It’s organic. My best friends are the people that I cycle with and it’s easy for me to see why.

  7. Sue Slaght says:

    Glad to hear the news is better than expected Jim. I have no doubt you will be a great support for your friend and for the group. Still it’s hard not to be sad and grieving for what was. I will be sending positive energy.

  8. Manu Stanley says:

    Wishing all the very best for Mike. Keep the team together. God bless 🙂

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