The Old Mountain Biker

Cactus Hill Trail

Cactus Hill, March 9,2014

Voices alert me that someone is around the corner or beyond the trees. I heard them as I walked down the Concourse Park Road into Whiting on Monday. I rounded a corner and found two mountain bikers — a young Asian man and a white man who was perhaps a decade or more older than me — resting in the shade of some oaks. The elderly biker leaned over his handlebars and panted hard in obvious distress.

“Are you all right? I’ve got a cell phone.” I said as soon as I got close.

“Yeah,” he said.

“Do you have water?”

“Yes.” He motioned to a white bottle fastened to the frame of his bike.

“Usually when I have problems it is either that I am dehydrated or my blood sugar is low.” I paused then added “There’s no shame in turning back. I’ve had my bad days when I couldn’t make it for some reason or another, but I’ve always gone back in a day or two and done just fine. There are just bad days now and then.”

He would not give up, so I bade him to take care.

“Can you stay with him?” I asked the young Asian. He nodded. “Keep an eye on him.”

The old man probably got through his ride as I have gotten through certain walks, feeling too hot and too tired to enjoy the victory.

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