My grandmother passed away Saturday morning. I knew she was getting sick, but I didn't think it was her time yet. Grandmare was one of my biggest heroes. Full of love and tough as nails. She was the boss of a huge Irish Catholic family. Her family immigrated from Ireland. When she was young, her father fell ill with Parkinson's so she had to help her mother run their boarding house for Irish immigrants. Dropped out of high school to nurse her mother after a stroke. Had eight children, nineteen grandchildren, nine great grandchildren. When she spoke we all listened.
I was still in shock. It wasn't real yet. I felt no emotions and that scared me. So I did what I knew best, I rode. I got on my bike and headed to the Wissahickon. No trail plan, no time limits. Just pedaled. As soon as I cleared my mind it hit me. She's gone. I pedaled soft in deep thought. I pedaled really strong in anger. Then repeated 20 times. I just fucking pedaled. It was all I could do. And then I looked up and I was at my car. Full lap complete.
I can’t explain the transformation but everybody who rides, knows the feeling of that solitude. I love racing, and riding with friends. But most of all, I love the freedom of figuring shit out on a bike. And while I'm still not over it, the world is alright at this moment.