Friday, May 25, 2007

What are the Odds?

Sometimes things happen that make you feel blessed, watched over, guided even. Iron Wil has posted recently about this very phenomena. So, what are the odds, after reading and being inspired by those posts, that something like that would happen to me? And what are the odds that, just when I needed one, a guardian angel would appear to guide me through potentially dangerous waters and then give me the opportunity to return the favor? Confused yet?

I'll start at the beginning.

Last night, after a series of missed opportunities to get on my bike and put some actual miles on it, I finally had the window of time, the weather and the strength in my body to get a ride in. I showed up at a local ride determined to make it happen. As is usually the case when a ride in traffic is looming, I was nervous as hell. I was talking myself through it - promising myself that if it was way too scary I could always just turn around and come back to the car or, in the absolute worst case scenario, call Hubby and beg him to come and rescue me. And he would've 'cause that's just the kind of Knight in Shining Armour that he is. I was breathing deep and running positive affirmations through my head and shaking life a leaf - and I hadn't even left the parking lot!!

Finally, I decided enough was enough and set out. I mean, what's the worst thing that could happen - I get hit by a car and die. Big Deal. Tremble, shake, choke back the puke. But, there I was, on the road, cars were passing, I was following the yellow arrows, I was out there and I was doing it. To my relief, the ride turned into a neighborhood and I was able to enjoy a car free road for a bit. At a stop sign, I passed a guy in hammer gel bike shorts, hanging out, looking like he was waiting for someone. I haven't had a lot of luck with really friendly roadies, most of them just blow by me without so much as an "On your left." So I gave him his space and rode on. He caught up to me on a hill shortly after that - I'm ashamed to say it was a tiny little bump of a hill and I was having trouble with it. I laughed and said "You caught me!" and he joked that this was only a little mole hill to which I said "I know, that's what's so sad about it!" At that point, he just started riding with me. It was obvious he could have left me in his dust, that he was by far a much better rider in much better shape - but he hung with me and we started talking. We got passed by a whole group of roadies - and I really wanted to hang with those folks, to be able to pick it up and ride with the big boys - and I know he could've and should've been riding with them. But he stuck with me. The conversation turned to triathlon and we talked about my upcoming races, my newbness, etc. After a bit, he asked my name - like duh, why didn't I introduce myself in the first place? I told him my name and he told me his and then casually mentioned that he was the dude who ran "Swim Bike Run St. Louis" website and magazine. Wha?!? "Wait, are you the guy that wrote the article about the 500 in Tulsa?" "Yeah, it was in Tejas Texas, but yeah, that's me." "HOLY CRAP! You're famous. . . " and I continued to gush for several minutes, not believing that my guardian angel just happened to be the uber-cyclist multisport celebrity that kept me and the rest of St. Louis' triathletes informed of the many goings on in our little multi sport lives. Not to mention that this guy was just the humblest, coolest and most unassuming person you can imagine. I mean, here he is tooling around with little old me, I'm sure seriously interrupting his training (though he assured me that last night was his "junk miles" ride)just to pass on some knowledge and keep a girl from getting creamed by some car. He even opted for the short route - though I could tell he wanted to take the long - because I was just too scared to go on the roads that were designated for the long route. I did feel so much braver riding with him - and I learned a lot just from watching how he handled cars at four-ways, hills, lights, etc. I could go on and on at what a blessing the ride was - but suffice it to say that I felt my prayer for protection (the one I usually say in my car on the way to a potentially dangerous ride) had been answered in a big way.

But it gets better. See, had the ride ended like that, I would've felt kind of bad that this guy sacrificed miles and speed to make sure that my own inexperience didn't get me killed. But it didn't end like that. Just before we had finished our loop, SBR guy saw a wallet on the shoulder. He back pedaled and stopped to pick it up. It turned out to be just a business card holder and, in a cruel twist of fate, his derailleur just up and broke. Not fixable. Finis. Luckily, we were close enough to the ride start that it was an easy walk with the bikes back to the parking lot - but the clincher was that he had ridden his bike to the ride. So, I was able to give him a ride home - which I would normally probably not do, but I consider myself a good judge of character and my usually keen instinct had no problems with taking the dude home.

It gets even better. As thanks for giving me a ride, SBR guy said he wanted to give me some swag - some socks and some Hammer Gel. I protested a little but, hey, a gal's gotta get her swag when she can. So I waited in the car for him to come down - and he comes down with this bag FULL of shtuff. Two pairs of Swim Bike Run socks, a BUNCH of Hammer Gels, at least two season's worth of Hammer Electrolyte Replacement Tabs - I didn't even realize how much stuff was in the bag until I got home. So, I'm back to owing the dude. Next time I get a chance to do a favor for a fellow athlete, I'll do it. Maybe it'll be for SBR dude, maybe someone else. Maybe, years down the road when I'm not a newbie anymore, but an uber-cyclist triathlete goddess, I'll have the chance to take a break from training and show some silly little newbie a few of the ropes. I hope so.

Either way, I owe SBR dude a huge thanks. THANKS!! You really helped a sister out. I 'preciate it.


Bolder said...

it must be like 'Celebrity Something' season...

or, Something!

that's a great story, and what i was highlighting in my recent post -- why is it that the uber-famous and pro athletes are so friendly, and many of the age-groupers not -- let's change this people!

thanks to SBR-guy!!

Phoenix said...

Bold, your absolutely right! Why are the superior athletes so much more friendly than the age-groupers? It has to go back to insecurity and feeling you have something to prove.

stronger said...

hey, what goes around comes around.

Vickie said...

I guess I have to agree with Bold--why are the age groupers sometimes too wrapped up in themselves to lend a hand/advice to those looking for help or tips? I don't consider myself worthy of giving ANY advice, but if someone asked my opinion on something I was experienced in, regardless of how successful I was or wasn't, I'd offer it! Great story too. You both helped each other out.