Accolades for the Average

ribbonThough an avid and enthusiastic biker, I don’t do many organized races or rides, nor do much long distance riding. I’m content with my local loops as a lone wolf cyclist and I howl at paying for what I already do for free.

But I have friends who persuade me to join in occasionally. They say, “It will be fun to ride with comrades for a good cause and there’s good food, gift bags, drawings and festivities!”

So I sucker in and sign up—for the food n’ loot.

Then my alarm goes off at 4:30 a.m. on a Saturday and I decide I don’t really need friends. But it’s not fair for my family to be my entire social life, so I drag my keister out of bed and pull padded stretchy pants over it.

Last year, I got caught up in some hype and agreed to do a 100-mile benefit ride. When I crossed the finish line after 6+ hours in the saddle, I admit, I did feel a great sense of accomplishment. I also didn’t feel the need to ever do that again. Yeah, I was tired and sore in the shorts, but mostly I was disappointed by the slack reception we got for our achievement.

The food was mostly gone.
The gift bags were out.
The drawings were over.
The booths were taken down and the band had packed up.
Worst of all, there were only Pepsi products left.

Apparently, the big bash with decent drinks occurred hours before when the mediocre majority arrived. So, the whole reason I paid good money for this activity was nil.

When my friends came a-callin’ this year for me to participate with them I was leery but agreed on condition, “We’re doing the shorter ride. I want the party. I want the pat on the pack and backpack full of freebies. I want the food and the dude dressed up like a Mardi Gras dancer at the finish line shaking his booty for me because I pedaled with the pack for cancer research!”

They agreed.

On a beautiful August morn, I awoke early and prepared to be average.

My friends and I headed out on a ride that should easily have us back before lunchtime. We’d get the roast beef sandwiches this time, an array chilled Coke products and the t-shirt sizes that actually fit. We pedaled and chatted . . . and missed a turn.

Long story short and short ride long, we crossed the finish line after going almost 80 miles.

The food was mostly gone.
The gift bags were out.
The drawings were over.
The booths were taken down and the band had packed up.
And only Pepsi products were left, again.


Why don’t they have the party and enough stuff for everyone?! They know how many people signed up, right?! We all paid our money, no?! Short ride or long, when we cross the finish line we should at least get what we paid for!

I tried to be mediocre, but it’s just not meant to be.

I guess I’m just meant to do more—and get less.


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