I had a post all planned out for today. One that extolled the virtues of the incredibly rejuvenating, refreshing and recharging fat bike ride that Cathy and I did yesterday. Good folks and an incredibly great day, one of the best day's on the bike in a very long while in fact. A post that will still happen, just not today. Some times, a day takes a dramatically different turn.
This morning I got a message from a friend that I used to race and ride with. The two of us seem to have some common bond, though I'm not completely certain what it is, and we keep in touch despite the fact that he retired for cycling some years back. I guess the bottom line is that I respect him, and honestly care. It doesn't hurt of course, that he loves and cares for numerous animals. Animals can tell the good people.
I feel like I'm a fairly good judge of true character as well though, and always have been. I've always associated with only a certain type of people. This has done very well by me throughout life. For one, I never got into any trouble, particularly because of those with whom I associated. I'm also not the type that is easily impressed, especially by wealth or status. Maybe because I don't necessarily value those things. I'm more about the tangible things that you accomplish, on your own, through hard work, creativity and kindness. Building a really nice table out of scrap wood or doing some crazy epic adventure or helping a friend don something that they are unable to do on their own. That is what I am about and that is what inspires and impresses me. I am very particular about giving out my trust and more, my respect and friendship. Those words mean something to me and I use them very exclusively.
It was with utter shock and disbelief that I took the news from my friend of the passing of a mutual friend. Honestly, like so many friends, the friendship has a certain scope. Being cyclists, we have many cycling friends or, friends that we know through and associate with, primarily in the context of cycling and bicycle racing. That is the case here as well, though my respect did not end there. Still, the news touched me, deeply.
We really are a family, the cycling community. Spending so many hours racing and riding with and against people, you develop a bond that is like few others. You see each other in very emotional times and in very vulnerable states. In some cases this breeds resentment but in precious others, it fosters respect and admiration. The kind of respect that is earned, not granted. I will argue, the only true type of respect.
And that was what I was thinking of as I heard the news of the passing of one of the most admired and respected gentlemen I have ever have the pleasure of knowing. He will be sorely missed. He is sorely missed.
Cathy and I ventured up into Grafton Notch this late afternoon to do a solitary ride and reflect. We didn't go with the intent of reflection but I can say without question, that is what we both did. Grafton Notch is one of the most peaceful, scenic and vast spaces around. This time of year, with snow on the peaks it is breathtaking. We rode the stark white snow in the dull twilight and stunning backdrop, silently thinking of our lost friend.
Lost, but not forgotten. You have touched so many and inspired even more to strive harder and farther, both in your encouragement and your actions. You have, as I have written about on numerous occasions, pushed me personally to more and to greater.