Time serves humble pie over and over again.
Today we rise early for a short ride to Blacksburg, just 47 miles with a climb at the end. A welcome rest day awaits us on the morrow.
Cool temperatures help with an easy exit from a main road into the valleyed countryside. Everything is so green and lush, the winter hay in harvest time. Life smells fresh here.
Deeper into the foothills of the Appalachians we go, not called mountains here but mountains to me from back home. Undulating roads bordered by thick forests, some riders see bear today.
How welcome we are here by locals is not clear. We are not only surrounded by taller peaks but going back in time by at least a hundred years. On one occasion we hear gunshot close by…” Are they shooting at us
?” from a rider in front…”No, they’re not “ but deep down I’m not so sure.
Ahead a rider falls , an uphill stall. I get off my bike to help, she is ok and we move on. She is afraid to take the next few hills and walks but I coax her back on the bike “ you can’t walk to San Francisco” and finally she is brave enough to ride again.
I stop by the side of the road to let her get ahead and notice a most beautiful tree…where I get off my bike…to think a while.
We have with us a young man I met several years ago on a ride out West. At the time we mixed like oil and water and were miles apart. I thought never to see him again…no great loss.
Last Fall I did in fact meet him again on another ride and was impressed by how he had matured and grown. A self assurance beyond reality was replaced by a quiet genuine gentle humbleness.
This time he is with us for just the first week of the ride and I am amazed by his maturity and growth. He has become one of the finest young men I have ever met and I am proud to be part of a team with him.
I look to the thin new trees nearby, and to the solid oak in front and think about mistakes to be made by judging one before their time.
How many times each day am I humbled on this ride, by the beauty of my surroundings, by the tenacity of riders who fall and get up again, by young men and women who grow up to be gems, by the workings of a diverse team that safely moves a small vulnerable group 4000 miles across such varied terrain.
Pass me another serving of humble pie…it will help me grow wiser still…