I made it out to my first race since my accident. No, I didn’t ride a bike. Actually, I take that back, I did roll a little ways on Thing Three’s 24 inch mountain bike. Don’t tell my doctor! It was a different experience — kind of surreal.
It was obvious that things were going to be different. As we pulled up into the lot I saw all the cars and then I saw all the tan people putting their bikes together. I’m always kind of dark, but I knew right away that these guys had seen a lot more sun over the last couple of months.
Meeting some folks I haven’t seen in a while was the highlight of the night. It was a little awkward. It may seem strange because I put myself out in a public way with this blog, but really I’m a pretty shy person. It means a lot that people were concerned about me and how I am progressing, but I don’t really like talking about it.
The problem came with what to talk about after that. Time has passed me by. I was not up on all the action that has taken place in my absence. Relationships are built on shared experiences and I haven’t shared a lot with my cycling buddies in a while.
That was really evident when I approached my teammates. It was just before the Masters 35+ race. I was going to wish them well. As I got closer, I could feel it. It is that aura of testosterone. I never really noticed it before because up till now, I was part of the generator. Now it was obvious to me.
The strange thing was that it felt foreign. It was like I was looking at strangers. It was like I couldn’t relate with what they were thinking and experiencing at that moment.
It was fun to watch them roll off and the attraction to the strategic part of the process was reawakened. Watching the expressions on the faces as the field streamed by did cause me to pause… “Man, I don’t know if I could do that right now!” Fact is, I can’t! Once again that foreign feeling crept in.
It isn’t that I didn’t at one time know exactly how they felt. It isn’t that at one time I was not able to hang with them. It was just that at that moment, it seemed a different world. It brought back experiences of what seemed like far distant past. It aroused questions of what it will take to experience them again.
Thanks to everybody who welcomed me back. This post isn’t to give the impression folks didn’t welcome me back. It is just that something inside of me was disconnected. Maybe it boils down to the fact that part of your identity at a race is your bike. Last night, I didn’t have one.