As some internerd blog said about Kirkwood "a VERY long day for some and a VERY short day for others." Im going to say one of the toughest guys in the Pro 1/2/3 race this weekend didnt get any accolades. He didnt go across the finish line pounding his chest or with his hands in the air. Hell, probably the only people who noticed him were the five people that knew him who had dropped out of their races and were now watching.
When the field lapped him, I was probably sitting on Fred Billet or Rich Straub (both GIANT dudes) to get out of the wind. I said "Good job Rob!" He was riding solo, fighting the gnarly wind on Saturday.
It was just a few days ago while out riding where I was thinking about how dangerous constantly being on the road is. I was thinking about how scary it is to constantly interact with cars. Each day there are a few waves: crazy commuters trying to get to work, then the old people with nothing to do who are half blind, then the 17 year old kids FLYING home from school in giant SUV's, then pissed off people going home from work... etc etc. I was thinking about how it could be unfair to the people around me to put myself at risk constantly. I reasoned that if nothing is risked, nothing is gained and the rewards of doing it are worth any repercussions that could result from being on the road.
I haven't been RUN OVER by a dump truck though. Rob has. I dont really know the full story, but I do know that he was literally run over by a dump truck and had his hip/pelvis crushed. It has taken years for him to go through the therapy and surgery, and after that he finally decided to bite the bullet and have the hip totally replaced. A dump truck. I cant imagine the courage it takes to get back on the bike after something like that. He has it though, because we rode together a bunch this winter. Rob toughed out some of the 25 degree 5 hour days with the rest of us.
Well he is back to racing this spring. He did the 8 hour round trip from Pittsburgh to Lancaster Saturday and did Mingo Sunday. When I saw him on Sunday, my heart warmed. The human spirit is strong.