I will probably be out of the net most of this next week - off visiting family for Thanksgiving and so forth. I don't think I'll be blogging much. Before I go, there's time for a few thanks. I have a lot to be thankful for and I don't often enough pause to give thaks. So i nvery brief, here is what I am thankful for:
My family. They are incredibly supportive and I don't show my gratitude often enough.
Good health. Or, as my doctor put it, "you are in surprisingly good health for somebody so fat." That's not exactly what she said but the sub-60 resting hr and healthy blood pressure levels, along with other factors, had her scratching her head. It's nice to be 40 and sliding only slowly in the wrong direction, rather than hurtling downwards like many of my friends.
My bike club. I love the Squadra, and riding with and for friends makes some stuff that would seem like drudgery - "wanna meet at Hains after work for some intervals?" - seem like good times.
Specific friends from the club: Bill C and Joe M were the welcome wagon, Peter keeps it interesting, Art and the rest of the board get it done - a lot of "it" - with very little drama. Especial thanks for Ken, who is a friend of startling reliability, and a regular source of hand-me-down bikes, which keep me rolling along quite well. Plus Jean & Lindsey, all-heart Dana, Joaquin and all the other Coppis, all of whose company brings me a lot of joy.
My local bike shop ride friends - Jon & Craig who got my then-north-of-300 lbs onto a bike, regulars Trevor, Tim, John, Tom, and fun irregulars like Lary & Jay & Sue & James & Rosie. It's great fun, even when y'all break my legs. Thanks.
Folks in the online community - some local whose association blurs real life & intarwebs life, like Kyle & Mike May the generous Chris Nystrom & Marc Vettori, and Chris Mayhew, who is a riddle wrapped in an enigma tucked into the body of a small man who climbs hills like a human elevator; some people whose web presence and emails I enjoy and appreciate but with whom I never have had the chance to ride yet - Big Mike, Elden the Fat Cyclist, regular commenters like Uncle Bob, . Also, I'm grateful for those of you who stop by regularly. A letter is never as good as a handshake; sharing stories of rides is never as satisfying as sharing a bit of sweat, some joy over the unexpected pleasures of every ride, and half a Clif Bar. But making links with each other based around our common love of the bike and riding, and the people who ride, brings us together.
I'm especially thankful for the realization that his hit me over the last year or so of riding and blogging about it. Seeing the social bond between most riders convinces me of something I've felt deeply for several years. That is that our shared humanity is more important than most of the trivial stuff that divides us. Politics, economics, taste in fiction lit, favorite music - whatever. That's kind of bullshit. What matters is that we're in it together, rare little sentient clumps amid a whole lot of cold rocks and empty spaces. I see this on group rides and in races - people who are very different, who I would have dismissed a few years ago because of their politics or their goofy personal habits or damn near any trivial difference - I find I like those people because I've seen them laboring up a hill or struggling to hold a wheel. They are a lot like me, we share a common struggle. So too in the web cycling community. I've found I have a lot in common with many of you, and I like hearing about your struggles and your overcoming. Yeah, you're not my drinking buddies - most of you - but I'd treat you as a friend if I encountered you in 'meatspace.' Maybe that's the crux of the thing cycling has done for me that I should be thankful for - while I can ride away from stress at work and home responsibilities and obesity and heart disease and every other thing, the bike has helped me ride towards a sense of my own humanity, and more importantly a better understanding and respect for others. And that's something to be truly thankful for.
I may blog during Thanksgiving week but don't count on it. I'll be back next week with your regularly scheduled snide-ass programming. For which you should be thankful.