Sometimes on event rides, you might go along with a friend and have a great time hanging out together. Other times, you go on the ride yourself and meet interesting people along the way. The other day I was going through some old photos, and I was reminded of one of those great people I had the fortune to meet once on a ride.
In the early 90’s I was on an Oregon MS 150 ride out near Silverton. The fast riders started much earlier that morning, and they were long gone by the time I started rolling. This was my first event ride ever, and I didn't know anybody else on the ride. No matter, I was enjoying ideal conditions while riding on my own. Great weather, fully supported, all I had to do was pedal and enjoy the riding. Really? Cool!!!
I was pedaling hard, making progress and passing lots of folks, when on a long straight stretch I could see the next rider ahead of me. A guy about my size, on a bike sort of like mine. I did what I always do in that situation, and sped up to overtake this guy. I was closing in nicely...that is, until he noticed me. Then it was on! He picked up his cadence, and so did I. We both were trying to make it look effortless to be going so fast, which meant that we stayed on our saddles and pedaled that much harder. The gap stopped narrowing, and then he pulled ahead. I did my best to hang on, and this nonsense went on for a while. He could see I wasn’t going to go away, which is probably the only reason he finally let me catch up to him. I think we were both relieved when we gave up the chase and just talked instead.
That’s how I met Mr. Henry. We talked nonstop for the rest of the ride. Then we found some other rides to do once in a while. This picture shows the two of us at the Kingdome, the start of the 1996 Seattle-To-Portland ride. And yes, some fashion statements truly are classic and timeless don't you agree?
Over the years we have stayed in and out of touch, but always interested in reconnecting and catching up. He has a very technical mind and a huge heart, passionate and devoted to things and people he cares about. He saved up for years and bought a Cooper MINI (or is that, Cooper MINI?) which he named Gromit. Owning that car led him to meet the love of his life, also a proud MINI owner, who eventually became Mrs. Henry. They shared their vows on Mt. Hood above Timberline Lodge. I see from Facebook that he’s recently gotten into motorcycles and owns a BMW bike. He has become an avid racer, too. Hmmm. This would seriously hurt my chances of ever keeping up with him now.
Every time I do an event ride, what honestly goes through my head is that I might just be lucky enough to meet another person as interesting as Mr. Henry. Be careful, you might, too.