Mecca

May 16, 2010

No single geographical location has been the topic of more conversation on this trip than Columbus, Ohio.  No wonder, of course, considering half the members of our trip live there.  For half of us Columbus is just another stop along a long road, but for the others Columbus has been heralded as a Mecca, and the closer we’ve gotten, the more fervent they have become.

I remember my first time coming to Columbus.  It was exactly two years ago, and I came down for the 2008 Ride for World Health Solidarity Ride.  At the time I remember being in complete awe of these warriors who had just crossed the country and were now riding with us.  They exuded confidence on their road machines as they calmly instructed us on how to ride in a pace line, guiding us through the traffic of busy streets all the while carrying on casual conversations with us.  They had six-pack abs and tree-trunk thighs, and they weren’t even breaking a sweat when I was sprinting.  They were fourth year medical students, recently matched, in the sublime lull that occurs near the end of medical school right before residency begins.  I remember stopping into the Trader Joe’s before leaving for Toledo, and when I came out, I saw several team members standing on top of their fifteen-passenger van, while other team members were passing bicycles up to them.  Many of them were wearing grey hoodies with “R4WH” in orange on the back.

Two years later.  The Ride for World Health is back in Columbus, but this time I’m on the opposite side of the coin.  Now I understand the calm terror that fourth year medical students feel as they are about to start residency.  Its true that I have bicycled across the country, but in leau of defined abdominals, I still have love handles.  My butt is better at sitting for hours, and my arms aren’t as affected by the road vibration, but I still get tired, especially after about 80 miles.  This ride hasn’t solved all my life’s problems, or given me super powers.  But I still wonder if there were any first or second year medical students in Columbus who saw me as a cycling warrior as they looked on my feigned confidence with awe.

Cincinnati to Columbus by embricate at Garmin Connect – Details.

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