Sunday, 14 January 2018

People Who Walk Through Our LIfe

Many people travel through our lives. Some are there forever, some for less. Whether we are consciously aware of the contribution each person makes is irrelevant because in one way or another, they all shape who we are today.

I am writing while sitting at a bench in my apartment in Adelaide, Australia. I am here to enjoy and embrace all that is the Tour Down Under Cycling Race.

This morning, along with approximately 1000 others, I participated in a 107 kilometre ride through the Adelaide Hills and surrounds. A ride that entailed nearly 1800 metres of climbing and that inclusive of stops for red lights, traffic, water and food, I completed in 4 hours and 27 minutes.

I am here in Adelaide and cycling each day due in no small part to a Gentleman who passed away yesterday aged 81.

In 6 weeks time, I will embrace 10 years since I had open heart surgery to repair 4 blockages in arteries. The date was 3 March 2008 and I was not yet 50 years old.

In 2004 I started cycling and a year later was introduced to Hamilton Wheelers Cycling Club where I started some local club criterion and road racing.

I was graded C Grade and was a perennial finisher in the main pack. I never troubled the podium.

The Handicapper was a “no nonsense” hard nosed veteran cyclist and was an expert at dealing with the many competitors trying to convince him they should be dropped a grade.

He was equally welcoming and supportive of new cyclists and always ready with a tip. He also remembered everyone’s name.

A few weeks after my surgery, I went and watched some races and he enquired as to why I wasn’t racing. When I explained why, he revealed he had had the same surgery some 8 years before.

He encouraged me to keep cycling and to race again suggesting I have a quiet word to him when I am ready.

My Cardiologist was a former racer and in giving me the go ahead to race, added the proviso that it is to be no higher than D Grade.

I was graded in D Grade however after a few months I managed to win a few races. Our handicapper approached me saying he needs to look at putting me back in C Grade however on checking with my Cardiologist, the answer was no.

He called me and said I could stay in D Grade however I would have to “soft pedal” and not win too often. We discussed how this may work and for the next year I did a lot of work at the front of D Grade races and chased down any breakaway.

Being able to keep participating in Club Races was important to me re-gaining my physical confidence.

I have often reflected on his kindness and understanding in negotiating a way for me to keep cycling.

In no small way, he has a great deal to do with me being in Adelaide today.  

If it wasn’t for him, I may never have made several European Cycling trips nor run the New York or Berlin Marathons.

I have not seen him for quite a few years however I sit here today both pleased  and relieved that I took the time to tell him how much I appreciated what he did for me.

It is a reminder to me how important it is to acknowledge those who make a positive difference to our life.

Thank you to a fine gentleman and someone who was proud to his last day to call himself a cyclist. 

If there is cycling in heaven, it is about to be better organised. If there is not, there soon will be.

Rest in Peace Terry Bourne.

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