My buddy Mike is well into his recovery from his open heart, triple bypass. He’s been riding, on the road, for almost two weeks.
Yesterday was to be a new milestone for him and while my wife has had time to ride with him throughout the week, I finally got to tag along yesterday… Nine weeks after getting sewn up and he was jumping it up to 30 miles.
My wife took the first mile up front while I became acquainted with their normal pace. Just a mile and a quarter from our driveway is our first Township Limits sign so I took that. My wife has been paying attention though… I soft pedaled waiting for them to catch up, but when they did, my wife got right on my wheel and said something to the affect of, “You want up there so bad, you can pull”.
So I did. I got in the perfect gear to spin between 18 and 18-1/2 mph and kept it there. Five miles went by. Ten… 18 to 18-1/2 mph, the whole way. 17 uphill, 20-24 downhill. Coming into Byron, the halfway point, my wife launched a sprint for the sign and I let her go… Too early I figured – but she didn’t quit, she just kept after it and absolutely smoked Mike and I. It was rather impressive.
We stopped at the gas station for a pit stop, then headed out on our way again. I took the front and quickly realized it was going to be a bit of a long ride home. The wind was starting to pick up and was right in our face. Same story though, I kept it around 18-ish. We rolled over 24 miles before my wife came up and took a mile. Mike took a mile a little bit later then I took the rest. I pulled for 28 of the 31 miles.
Mike would comment on the fact that I’d been up there so long but with all of the riding I’ve done this year, holding a steady 18 mph pace for my friend was easy. There was something else to it. I said, “Mike, you’ve pulled for me over more miles than I care to count. I’ll return the favor any time.”
This is how we roll.
The one thing that really makes me pause to think is that this can’t last forever and that reality really bums me out. I try not to think about what it’ll look like when we can no longer ride together, but I’ve gotta tell you, it’s just too damned depressing to think about. So I don’t. I simply can’t imagine it getting any better than this, so I push pondering about what I can’t possibly see aside and focus on enjoying every mile I get with my wife friends.
One time, long ago, my sponsor’s sponsor gave me my six month coin and said, “I promise you, if you keep coming back [read that “stay sober and work the steps”], your life will become so good you’ll think it can’t possibly get better. Six months later you’ll realize it has.”
I love it when this happens… and that it still does.