Random Interactions

This entry was posted in Just Life on by .

We did the 800 mile drive from Louisville to Cable yesterday.  It seemed long.  I’m not feeling all that good.  My thumb is a .5 on a 1 to 10 scale and my ribs are a 8.  Actually, if I cough or hiccup, it goes to a 15.  I somehow forgot how much ribs hurt.  Plus, the lack of sleep is killing me.  I think I’ll get used to that though.

I’ve had a bunch of time thinking about not racing.  I’m okay with it.  It would have just been a personal life experience, short term.  Wandering around the course on Wednesday, I had a few interactions that were way more memorable than the race ever could have been.

I am always surprised when people approach me and tell me their personal stories.  Real personal.  I’ve gotten much better at this, listening.  It used to make me pretty uncomfortable. And it seems, everyone has a story.  Maybe it’s an age deal, but it seems like a lot of people that are in the 40’s -50’s, have big life tragedies going on.  Parents dying, sick children, broken bones or illnesses.  And these things get them down, which is understandable.

A couple guys came up and thanked me for being so understanding, for personally taking time  to respond to them when they reached out.  That surprised me, how could you not return an email or phone call to “a stranger” that reached out?  And really, none of us, in this small community of cycling are really strangers to each other, even though most of us have never met each other.

I think people do a lot of this to try to cope with the shit that life throws at them.  I’ve found cycling to be very useful for lots of these issues.  Every once in a while, it seems, someone will see one of my public life experiences and relate to them.  For some reason, this eases their stresses, and gives them hope, or a vision to escape the mental turmoil.  It is a good thing.

People give me credit, when in reality, I don’t deserve any credit.  I’m just posting stuff I do, or feel, and some people feel something in common, which helps them deal with their situations. Sometimes I get a personal contact and I just tell them what I’d do or what I’ve done.  Seems to help sometimes, which is great.  Life sometimes throws unsolvable problems at us.  We just need a little time to figure out solutions, or how to deal with them, or just accept them.

Anyway, I ran into multiple guys, people that went out of their way and thank me for helping them out.  It is such a compliment and really is a lot better than racing a master’s race.  So, I’ve made my peace with it.  Kind of strange how it is turned around and these guys helped me deal with a problem that really didn’t have a solution.  Nice.  Thank you.

Plus, I got a chance to catch up with a ton of old friends I don't see often enough. This is Bill Elliston. We have a ton in common, think alike in many regards. Super good guy.

Plus, I got a chance to catch up with a ton of old friends I don’t see often enough. This is Bill Elliston. We have a ton in common, think alike in many regards. Super good guy.

12 thoughts on “Random Interactions

  1. Krakatoa East of Java

    I don’t know how to best express it, Steve, but your blog sorta feels like my old bike shop. It’s a real “place” where we get to go and hang out and co-experience bike shit. With internet retailing and solo training replacing bike shops and club rides, we need a place to congregate. At least (for me) your blog provides that place.

  2. Bolas Azules

    I agree with what Krakatoa East of Java said. It’s a nice place to hang-out and as long as the negative people fade away it will even be better.

    For me and maybe some others your blog is a way to hold onto the past a bit. Most of us from your earlier era have certainly moved on in life. I gave up cycling up for college, a career, a family and a mortgage and a 401(k) a long time ago and I have to say I’ve always marveled at you guys that hung on. And it amazed me to see guys hold on until they were 30. Some of them were mere pack-filler back in our youth and they held on and actually ‘made something’ of racing a bike. For many of us the glory days of racing when it was innocent and a level playing field are just distant memories and you keep us connected to a time long ago, to our youth and to hope. Thanks Tilly.

  3. Barb

    Best column so far–because at the end of the day, it’s our relationships that make our lives meaningful, and for those of us who read your blog, cycling has been our vehicle for making those connections. I really enjoy and relate to much of what you write and it also helps me to stay connected. Which is hard to do sometimes when we live in a world dominated by digital interactions, and don’t race ourselves.

  4. Joe C

    Nothing wrong with people giving you credit for helping, when you consider it to be accidental or inadvertent. It was still help, and sad to say, that is much much more than most of us ever do.

  5. Krakatoa East of Java

    For those of us who started racing as youngsters, left for a long while (and then came back years later), it’s a bit like the Pretenders song “My City Was Gone”. Never the same again. Steve’s blog helps me feel connected to the past, while also seeing the current.

  6. Mark G

    It was great to talk to you and Trudi at the race, you said “I’m really not a people person” I have to disagree, you are very aprochable, and not short with people. Any way I was bumbed you got hurt and couldn’t race, but after your age group finished I saw Jay ,the guy who won, he was so happy to be a national champ. I think it ment a lot more to him ,than it would have you. Age group racing is not your thing . I think fat bike birkie will be way better competition for you. Hope you have a swift recovery.

  7. kevin

    I’m not surprised you and Bill have a lot in common, you look like siblings.
    Have a fullfilling, peaceful stay in the Nortwoods.

  8. fergie

    Oh geashh..Don’t get Big Willie goin’ on the hand thing…
    Known Bill for 30 plus years and now looking at this pic never realized he looks just like André Greipel.
    Nice to be back at ‘cross Nationals and nice talking with you again Steve. Heal up..lots to do.


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