Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Thoughts on the Tragedy in Boston

It's been a while since I've posted.  In that time, I've been doing a lot of riding, a lot of work, and accepted a new job in San Francisco.  I'm excited to move out there with my wonderful girlfriend and start a new adventure.

In the midst of all this excitement, the horrible events at the Boston marathon, and the similar explosions in cities around the world underscored the danger of the times we live in.  But, as I watched live yesterday afternoon, dozens of first responders, uniformed and civilian alike, rushed to help and evacuate the injured without a second thought, and I was filled with a sense of strength, not fear.  I am inspired by Patton Oswalt's message that the good will always outnumber the evil.  In Boston, and cities around the world, cowards seek to use terror and fear to attack a world that they don't understand.  And they will fail. 

The Boston marathon celebrates incredible human achievement.  Of the tens of thousands of runners that toe the line, only one will win.  And yet, thousands of others challenge their minds, bodies and spirit to run, walk, or roll for 26.2 miles to find the limits of what they can do, and to challenge the limits of "possible".  These people are not cowards.  The thousands more spectators who celebrate and support these countless monumental achievements of the athletes are not cowards.  The people who live in cities around the world that regularly experience such acts of terror and continue with their lives are not cowards.  All of these people embody the greatest spirit of humanity: hope and resilience.  This is what the cowards fear, and what they seek to attack.

Today is Tuesday.  Tuesday is when my group of friends head out for our weekly leg-melting club ride, when for a few hours we can each pretend to be Phillipe Gilbert punching away up the Cauberg, Chris Froome attacking in the high passes of the Tour, or Mark Cavendish sprinting through the pack to take the win.  But really, we ride to push our bodies and minds to become faster, to push back the pain a little farther.  And in the end, each one of us, whether we reach the town limit sign first or last in the group, discovers a little more of who we are.  We find out every Tuesday afternoon that there are no climbs that can't be summitted, no headwind that can't be fought through, and no pain that is too great to break our will.  Cowards, like the ones that build bombs to kill and maim innocents, will never understand this.  Instead, they seek to inject pain, doubt and darkness into our minds.  For me, cycling is a way to battle those things, to exorcise these demons from my being.  It cleanses me, and renews my faith in the humanity within each of us.

Riding a bike doesn't change the world, but it helps me understand what it takes to change the world in my own small way.

Today, I will ride harder than I ever have.  I will grit my teeth as we sweep through the final uphill right hand turn and the town limit sign comes into view.  My legs will ache.  My lungs will burn.  I will rise out of the saddle, and pedal with every ounce of strength I have toward the finish.  And I will push the pain and darkness back a little further.

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