The dial of the time machine finally stops spinning at 2015. Your Humble Narrator and his friend Sam find themselves back in the American Diabetes Association's Tour de Cure. 500 A.D. seems like a long time ago. But it was also last week. For this was the Fourth Century.
Suddenly, the year was 1972. That's right, before the Internet, cell phones, personal computers, or even color TV (at least at my house). The class of 12, 13 and the occasional 14-year old boys gathered in their ridiculous junior high gym "uniforms." They were also wearing ORIGINAL Chuck Taylor Converse All Stars, Black and White, hi and lo-top. Because that's all there was. And you laid out a lot of hard-earned cash to get them through the school discount, for $7.50. But that is another story for another day.
The occasion was the third and final day of Track and Field. Just as the Olympics has its 100-meters, so junior high school has its premier event, the 50-yard dash. You knew who the fastest guys were. When your turn came you wondered what time you could post. Neither the fastest nor the slowest, and when it was over you went to the sideline to watch the next heat.
No one expected great things from Mark, except Mark himself. He SHOT out of the blocks and at the 15-yard mark we all knew, that this was going to be something special indeed. We stood agape as he extended the lead over the fastest boys. It was a miracle.
But by 30 yards, the upper half of Mark was running faster than the lower half. The treadmill had gone berserk. He desperately tried to make his legs catch up, but the ground came up to meet him. In the face. As he was carted off the field with a broken arm, we all knew we had witnessed something.
What we had witnessed was an epic fail before there were such things. That first bitch-slap from life that reminds us to not get ahead of ourselves. We all get it sooner or later. And for the rest of the year we would laugh when we would see the cast, remembering the cosmic slapstick we had watched unfold. But somehow there was respect too. Because in his mind, and for about 5 seconds, he was the fastest guy out there that day.
1972 was a long time ago. But the Fourth Century had a way of reminding me. It also reminded me why I only rode 88 miles last year.
We've been over this before. The relentless pedaling. The hills. Keep pedaling. Avoid Whining. 4 months ago, Sam didn't even have a bike. This day, he helped push Your Humble Narrator through the hills. But not before I found my own version of the 50-yard dash. We made it to the half-way mark in 3 1/2 hours. We made it back in 5. But we made it back.
Somewhere along the way, I became free again. The metal was made ready for the hand of the Maker. And that's why you ride. Or run the 50-yard dash.
Thanks Sam. And thanks to the generous sponsors. And ADA, and the volunteers along the way. Until next year my friends, live in the moment.