Tuesday, April 15, 2008

24 Hours of Booty

Grandma died of Cancer 20 years ago. I was 13. It’s strange you know…the things you remember. I try to remember her as my Jelly Stone Park camping buddy; as my Disney World Escort; as the popcorn sharer while we watched Fivel search for his family.

But there are other memories that come to mind – the grapefruit I cut up so perfectly that she couldn’t eat; driving the brick road that made her grimace as her stitches pulled; the red nightgown and the wig; the dreaded phone call.

20 years after the fact and these memories are still able to break me. And I don’t even fight it.

First year: 12 hours, 179 miles. It was eerie in the middle of the night; after the traffic was gone and after a lot of riders had gone to bed. The bugs were loud, but the night was otherwise silent. The street lights were on, but the red lights on the backs of bikes stole the scene. A lot of us rode with memorials of loved ones pinned to our jerseys and in the calmness of the night it was like you could hear those loved ones cheering you on from a far away place that was as close as your handlebar. And every now and then, someone would ride up next to me and ask about the picture of Grandma on my back. We’d share stories back and forth for a lap and then they’d be off. I would not recognize them again in the light of day.

This is 24 Hours of Booty. Second Year: 17 hours, 260 miles. Third year: marred by intense thunderstorms. This year: who's counting?

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