Oh my Lordy when the pictures come in after a big ride event, reality reaches out from the computer and punches you hard in your big, fat, old face. Bless that face but it’s not going to glow radiantly crusted in salt and snot. You’ve felt strong and fit and twenty for the duration of the ride and have hope that the candid shots of you riding your bike will reflect that. How you were beaming when you got up that big hill. How the wind in your face might be reminiscent of soft focus seaside visits. It wont, be prepared for that.
In my ever continuing effort to give you a heads up on what to expect on a big ride, i’ll give you a few here while they are still excruciatingly fresh in my memory.
You’re out for a day so have 47 different things shoved in your jersey pockets. Baby got muffin back.
Bike face is bike face is bike face. You have one, you may not know it until picture day, but you have one. Learn to love it.
One of your ears is higher than the other and therefore, in most shots, your shades are slightly askew. In real life it says nothing, in pictures for some reason it says “hammered”.
A peace sign is pretty mainstream now so have low expectations as to how relaxed it will make you look on a bike. I suggest fist pump and/or wave. If you can do two hands off the bike à la Tour De France you have arrived.
What the pictures do is bring back the moments, gorgeous and fugly. At the end of a big ride, when you get off your bike, everything will be a blur and the moments aren’t anywhere near clear. Neither is your congnizance or balance. As the pictures come in, you’ll remember where you were and what you were feeling at that exact moment where as before you may have forgotten that it even happened.
Pictures are like smells that way. The smell of bread baking puts you in your Mother’s kitchen. The wild roses that grow by the grocery store in this town put me on a trail I used to take down to my best friends house in my home town, thousands of miles and many decades from here.
You don’t get to see anyones face when you hug. Sometimes when I hug someone I know that they are rolling their eyes or making a barf face at their sister. It’s a mystery back there. That’s why i’m so filled up to find this picture.
This is my dear friend Lorraine, mother of a champion and warrior hero to me. We’d found each other through this cause. Through her treasure of a boy.
At the moment of this picture, I had thanked her for including me in Team Feddy and letting me fly the team colours. She thanked me back hard.
Thanks to the sneaky, wandering photographers Callum & Victor, who we all fear and love equally, it captured the spirit of these rides so poignantly for me. Found connections bringing combined strength and clarity of purpose to what we’re all trying to do here.
This reciprocity of gratitude is seen at every level of involvement and it’s nothing you can understand until you are in it. And it’s the best.