Riding for the Wobbly Riders
Today, a friend and I were riding along the Bosque, and I said hello to a fellow rider by his name. My friend said you know people out here by their names. I thought about last summer, unbeknownst to me, I had become a familiar character along the path. But, then again, last year and now, I am not hard to miss. I am overweight rider with a sock monkey on my back. I rode and ride to find a cure for my friends with MS.
Some of my friends are so debilitated that they ride with me in my heart because they can no longer ride with me physically. They are in my thoughts as I pass the miles along the bike path that takes us past the panoramic views of the Sandias, the pond at Tingley Beach filled with geese and ducks. They miss the heat, the humidity, and a cool breeze as I pass underneath the bridges. They don’t get to experience the way I do when the Cottonwoods and the Siberian Elms that line the path change from spring green to dark green velvet or the bright orange colors of fall. They don’t get to have a coyote cross their path and wish them good luck like I do. It is a small thing to ride when they suffer so much and always when I greet them, they never complain, and they always have a hug for me.
In my quest, I had to ride up my nemesis, the I-40 Bridge. To some nothing but a small ant hill, to me, it’s Mt. Everest. Last year, I was alone and thought about the bridge and after riding all summer of last year it was time to suck it up and ride up the bridge. I made my way up the concrete bridge and looked down at the river because if I looked up I would be defeated. It a few hundred feet to the top but then so is the last few feet up Mt. Everest. So I huffed and puffed. My heart beat outside of my shirt and finally when I thought I couldn’t take it anymore I looked up, and I was at the edge where Everest turns to flat bike path. A place where I parked my bike and slumped over trying to remember what it was like to breathe, again. I figured it was a good place to die, and they would either call for help or run over me with their bikes. The human lump on the road would be noticed.
As I was trying to breathe again and get the blood back to my legs, I heard, “Are you ok?” I was startled out of my need to find my heart on the ground and looked up at a rider who totally took me by surprise. I decided it was the blood rushing to my ears and so I was temporarily deaf to everything around me. He asked again, “Are you ok?” Taking a deep breath, I managed to whisper, “yeah, just resting.” He looked at me and said, “You’re fine, I’ve seen you out here biking, so you will be fine.” He turned around and went back down the bridge. I was stunned. A stranger knew I had been training, and he decided that the heart attack I was feeling at the moment would pass. Here’s the thing, he was right. Somewhere, I gained my breath back, my legs slowly hooked into the bike and turned the wheels, and I glided down the hill and rode back to my car where I promptly turned on the air conditioner and slumped into the seat.