Friday, August 24, 2012

Everyone Can Play

This morning there is sunshine!  This is the way we expected it to be in Africa, but it’s the end of winter here and each day we have awoken to pea soup fog.  They say the monkeys only come out when it’s sunny, so I will look for them today.  There is a loud, laughing bird the Zulus call inkakane, which means noisy bird that wakes us up every morning. 

The story of yesterday goes like this:  If you love to ride a bike and you love to ride it fast, if you enjoy the discipline and rewards of training your body, if you are challenged by competition to push yourself and do your very best, you can be a racer. You can play the game and have fun doing it. I don’t know what I was so worried about.  Yes, there are former Olympians and many former pros and elites, but there are also former soccer moms, like Jodee and me. 

The two women who placed 1st and 2nd in my age group are amazing athletes.  The first place winner was a former competitive runner who switched to cycling and found she was also a gifted cyclist.   The 2nd place winner was a pro triathlete.  So, Jodee and I had some tough competition.  Both of us did our best, which for me meant I got to stand on stage, get flowers and a medal and smile for the cameras.  Jodee deserves a medal more than I do though, because in many ways, she has worked harder and been more disciplined than I.  Both of us have had medical issues to overcome, and families to worry about, but her focus and fearless determination has taken her on an amazing upward trajectory in just one year. 

Unfortunately, the downside to this competition hit Meg.  This event is the Masters World Championships.  Because Meg is 29, even though she is an amateur, she would be in the pro or elite category because of her age.  We didn’t realize that meant she is not eligible to win the rainbow jersey.  We found this out when they called her up to the podium.  To top it off, she got a flat tire just as she was starting the race yesterday.  She had only gone about a mile and had to get a spare wheel from the support car.  It was a disappointing day for her, but after the ceremonies, they told her she would get a rainbow jersey after the races are done.  Saturday she is going to show the world how awesome she is.

OK, we are off on a safari now- more later!

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