It’s been a rough couple of days in paradise. My father-in-law’s wife’s father died suddenly and another in that side of the family is terribly ill. My wife and I attended the funeral Friday. The funeral was amazing with a full-honors US Navy ceremony at the end. It reminded me of my dad’s funeral and it filled me with pride to be American at the sight of it.
After, even though we were a bit drained, we went to a viewing for a friend of ours whose wife passed away suddenly. That one was a real gut punch.
I woke up early yesterday morning and prepped the bikes to roll after my first cup of coffee. I’d sent out in the group text that we’d be rolling early so we could attend the second funeral.
At 7:15 it was just light enough to ride. We rolled out. It was an easy start and we picked Doc Mike up a mile or so in – and he and I up front picked up the pace into the cross headwind from a leisurely 15-mph to 20. We kept the pace up from there on. Mike dropped out to head home a few miles later and we picked up Greg just a mile or so after that. Greg, like Mike, is a fantastic cyclist and just about as good a person as they get. He’s one of the rare few who can match his pace to the group he’s with (I’m okay at it, but he’s made it an art form. He’ll either ask the person up front what the pace is or spend a couple of miles in the back to get a sense. Watching him is how I learned to match pace.
Anyhow, the pace was excellent. Just enough to be a workout, and not enough we had to sit up for anyone. We hit the Byron sprint and I was perfectly positioned about three or four bikes back. I took off first and ramped it up to 36-mph (58-km/h) in a hurry. Even though Greg had been up front, shaking him is not easy. Surprisingly, I brought quite a few with me, but I didn’t find that out until I ran out of gas about 200 yards early and gave up. Three whizzed by me. Damned DALMAC legs aren’t quite shaken out yet, but boy was it fun while it lasted.
The rest of the ride home was fun and eventful. We had some cross headwind and a lot of cross tailwind. It also started raining on us. With just a 10-20% chance, depending on the hour you looked at, we were getting wet. My old Michigan theory; if you’ve got a 20% chance of rain, there’s a 100% chance you’re getting 20% wet, held true. 20% wet it was. We finished with a 19.6-mph average – decent for what was intended.
Thankfully, we were only spit on for a few minutes and as we turned east with a gentle push from the wind, it dried up, only sputtering a few times. We arrived home with 28-ish miles. Vince, one of the newer guys to the group, chuckled as we pulled up to the driveway. He’s recently moved and has had an opportunity to ride with Oakland County’s club. He said, “You know, the more people I ride with, the more I realize our B group is really an A-Plus-Plus group anywhere else.” That obviously put a smile on my face…
We got back with just enough time to get ready and get to the second funeral. And that one was going to hurt.
Ellen had muscular sclerosis and though it savaged her, she fought it long and hard. She made it to 74 and did a whole lot of good in her time. I didn’t know her all that well, but I did know her husband. He accepted me into Flint AA’s rat pack. I’d taken two of the pack’s members as sponsors, but he helped me feel like I belonged. It’s a rare day when a fella with 26 years under his belt feels inadequate in a room, but that was definitely the case. These guys have between 35 to 43 years! My wife had a longer history with the family that I won’t share here as I’d have to break too many people’s anonymity to do it. Suffice it to say, we were attending this one with heavy hearts.
I wore my black three-piece suit with a wildly loud purple, blue, and white striped black shirt with a wild black tie with white, blue and purple shapes on it. Wild is an apt description for the getup, and I chose it purposely. Ellen was anything but subdued in her clothing. She liked loud, so loud is how I was going to see her home.
The service was fantastic… and huge.
After the luncheon, Mrs. Bgddy and I went home and took a much needed nap. I was pretty tore up, emotionally, and I know she was right there with me. We cuddled up like we were kids, just realizing how wonderful it is to be that close, but with all of the experience of being a couple for 24 years. I slept really well.
After, I did some bike maintenance. I rotated the tires on the Venge and my wife’s bike, gave mine a bath after the morning spritz, and then spent some couch time watching Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. It was definitely necessary.
So, the lesson I had reinforced over Friday and Saturday was simple; hold on to what you’ve got and enjoy every minute you’ve got on the right side of the grass, pumping air. It’s too short to be wasted on anything, so whatever is in the way of happiness, do the work to fix it and get on enjoying what you’ve got. One thing is certain, nobody is getting out of this alive.