As I go through life it becomes more and more clear to me that happiness comes from shared experiences. Spending time and connecting with people. Maybe just an afternoon playing ball with your child or dinner and a movie with your wife or riding with a group of friends.
For me THE highlight of my trip to California was getting to spending time with friends who I don’t normally get to see. We set the RV’s up so that our little virtual campfire was between the two campers. Virtual because real campfires are a tricky thing in California. But it doesn’t matter. The campfire is neither necessary or sufficient.
At the campfire we talked about lots of things. Leadville was a big topic. (Hey we Bike, so where did you think the talk would center????) 4 out of 6 of us are going there this summer. Some rookies with the goal of finishing under 12 hours, some sophomores with the goal of finishing under 9 and some who are institutions at Leadville with the goal of finishing under 8.
We ate. We talked about eating. We talked about what might possibly be the worst tasting thing a company has ever produced as endurance “food”. (I am groaning with disbelief in the picture above.) We ate some more. We talked about amazing blunders that large companies have made. We talked about what constitutes dessert. We ate dessert (well most of us). We talked about bikes. We talked about families.
We talked about snipes (both the legendary “purple” snipe and the much less known “arctic” snipe).
The other “campfire” I spent time at when I was in California was the Thompson family campfire. The Thompsons are a remarkable family. I saw this picture on the Book of Face and it made me think of them.
Several years ago Amy and Dave’s son Rob had a serious accident, one that changed their lives forever. I know that like any family they have their moments (good and bad) but they face that challenge together with humor (sometimes highly inappropriate, but being part of a family that had someone who worked at Hospice, I certainly appreciate the need for inappropriate jokes) and a remarkably welcoming attitude.
This year Team Thompson are World Bicycle Relief Ambassadors. One of the WBR slogans is “The Power of Bicycles”. I was fortunate to have a chance to ride with Dave and Rob while I was in California. After the accident Dave built a custom tandom bike for him and Rob to bike on.
That bike proves the power of bicycles. The doctors, nurses and other care givers were amazed at Rob’s progress after he started riding. But here is the thing I learned while riding with them. Biking gives Dave and Rob a chance to be be together and share the “doing” of something that is independent of the accident. It’s pure connection. They get to do, something that most of us take for granted like playing ball or hiking with our kids. When they are riding they are actively experiencing things, they talk, they bicker. Rob told me that he likes to bike because his accident doesn’t matter when he bikes. (Authors Note: Dave and Rob are maniac’s on that bike. I wouldn’t ride tandom with either of them.)
Team Thompson, thank you for opening your house and family to me for a couple of days. No there cannot be too much Mexican food. Amy it was awesome to see you get your new dream bike (hopefully they got the frame thing straightened out!)
Yes. THE highlight of the trip to California was getting to spend time with friends. The kind of friends who I could have lunch with next week or next year and pick up as though I had seen them the day before.
Addendum: When we were talking about deserts, which all proper FoF do while eating, we discussed what may be the most repulsive desert flavor ever used by chef’s on humans. Lavender. Lavender is good in soap, but it makes desert take like, well soap. This was something I brought up having personally experienced this crime against humanity at an expensive local restaurant back home. In a strange twist of fate, Dave H. brought an assortment of birthday cupcakes. It was his Birthday. One of the flavors was lavender. It went uneaten. Jeff kindly reminded me that this was forgotten in his write-up, Elden’s write-up (to date) and mine. I added this so that the record of the horror would be complete.