A few weeks ago, I had heard some rumors about me. I’m never one to beat around the bush so I decided to confront the guy who I thought may be the source. Come to find out, it was all a big misunderstanding and there was no issue. But this guy said something that has stuck with me ever since. “Thanks for talking to me about this. It’s refreshing. It seems like I am surrounded by nothing but cowards lately”
At first, I felt sorry for him because I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by so many wonderful people on a daily basis. But once I peered outside my circle, I started to notice what he was talking about. I guess it happens everywhere but I haven’t noticed it around me in a very long time. An average day in my world usually consists of nothing more than bikes, beers, and best friends
It is inevitable that life will occasionally get heavy and it gives you an opportunity to see things from a different angle. Last week I was heading to Flagstaff for a little fall riding in the hills. My phone rang just as I was pulling in to the trail head. It was my sister informing me of a death in the family. Stunned, I hung up the phone. There was a bike in front of me, the air was cool and crisp, and I already had my shoes on. I did the only thing I knew to do, I rode. I rode so hard that my legs blew up after only two hours. After a solid session of singletrack therapy, I coasted back to the car and went to go find my friends.
I recruited two of my closest friends to hit the town with me on a Monday night, I needed a drink. As the evening progressed, I toasted and celebrated the life of a great man. We ran into the infamous Goldmember and we shot the shit about everything from Mexico to how special east coast, immigrant families are to us. That guy gets it. Then, just as we made the move from cheap wine to good tequila, a coward reared his ugly head. Some guy who I would never be able to pick out of a crowd said to me:
“I’m glad Big Jonny got hit by that car. He deserved it, he was probably drunk”
Full stop. How I acted after those words were said may have been an over reaction or even juvenile but at the end of the day, I look out for my friends like family. I don’t regret it, and now I have to deal with the blow back. Like this e-mail I got the next day:
“The next time you show your little bitch face around Flag you’d better watch your back”
Noted, but this all seems so silly and trivial to me after the past few days. Before I got my bad news, this was shaping up to be a weekend of epic proportions. The plan was to go to a concert with my friend Turkey, who I met through this site. Then drive through the night to El Paso and do a 12 hour race put on by a guy that I also met through DC. It was also going to be my buddy MG’s first mountain bike race. I met MG a couple years ago through friends of this site. Are you starting to see the pattern here?
Instead, I’m sitting in a cabin in upstate New York without a bike for six days. Miserable, because I left in too much of a hurry to pack one. A member of the bike29 crew that I met in Ireland jumped in to save the day. They offered to lend me a bike without hesitation and to give me a tour of the trails around Waterbury, VT. I snuck away from the family for a day and rode some sweet Vermont singletrack, it was just what I needed. I would never have this connection without knowing 40 Hands. And I never would have met 40 without being a part of this web site.
I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for making this amazing family what it is. We would be nothing without each and every one of you around the globe. When cowards and haters make noise, we shut them up. When one of us stumbles or suffers a loss, we get their back. When it is Us vs. Them we look out for each other. I wish all cycling communities were like this.
It all leaves me searching for words. Bikes are cool, but they are just a gateway to what really matters. The amazing people that ride them. My glass is raised to you, friends. Thanks again.
keep it dirty…by