Today was a special day for us (Jake and I). We made a pilgrimage of sorts to the grave of Mr. Royal Wilder. Big brother to the one and only Almanzo, pioneer and literary figure. His namesake race will be the sort that separates and we figured it was right and prudent to seek his blessing prior to making preparations.
Initially it was a challenge how to approach him. After all, we had no idea if he'd ever ridden a bicycle and surely would never have envisioned his current role. We sought some sort of common ground; a gift which would be salient to both his life (1847-1925) as well as our current endeavors. Without much luck toward such ends we simply saddled up and rode. All the while hoping that the answer would become clearer as the time approached. A solid plan when you consider things so often do when viewed through the timeless lens that is hours upon hours on gravel, fixed.
The wind and sun kicked up and kicked the clouds out around noon. As the temperatures soared into the low 20s we found ourselves approaching without a clearing of the mind. Finally, as though a veil was pulled, we hit 151st avenue and the clouds within lifted. We were approaching it all wrong. We would go before Royal and ask for his support. Nothing more, nothing less. Who had we thought that we were such that we thought he needed something from us. It was only me wanting. He has rested peacefully for years. It was I who had the traveling left to do. It was I who would kneel before him and ask for his blessing with no apologies, no false pretenses.
We collected a few bits of gravel from where His race would be won or lost. These would be our offering, our monument and hopefully our salvation.