Finding My Space

I truly feel myself
When I’m by myself
My trip to Rossano
From Firenze
Tested me in every way…
Trust my instincts, decisions

Of course I thank the Lord
For preparing my way
For bringing people
Into my path

My language and
Communication skills
Were on notice
And served me well

I never felt threatened
Or even lonely
Though I travelled alone
God’s presence was
My constant shadow

I really like this lifestyle
I don’t miss the USA
And all its trappings
I like freedom of movement
Without cars and Big Oil

Planes and trains
And dreaming of bikes
Brought me to these far off

I’m not a tourist
That is too hard
I am a world citizen
Who enjoys a variety
Of experiences

I’ve had great moments
And a few I regret
The person within
Relates well to all
Black, white, yellow and other
Whether we speak the same
Language or not

Our relationship is defined
By the eyes and what’s
In the heart
It’s been all good for me

Been away a long while
Next week I head for home
Weeks of wonderment
Will be boiled down to days,
Hours, minutes

I give thanks again
And again
I’ve turned many pages in my life
These past five weeks
Quickly, with anticipation
To see what God
Will write next

19 June 2012

Scoring in Stresa

One of the highlights of our Eurotour was a weekend in Stresa, on the shores of Lago Maggiore, in Northern Italy.

My first order of business when I got off train was, “where’s the bike store?” Second cousin, Graziella, picked us up and I made my intentions known.

Checked into hotel and asked about bike shops. I recalled sending an email in early May to a store in the region asking about rentals, and got an affirmative response, but could remember nothing more from that exchange.

The front desk clerk suggested a store, but Graziella rejected that and said that she knew someone in town. Since she brought a pickup truck to gather us, this looked promising. We’d  go to this store, get me a bike, and I could ride for the first time in >4 weeks. Dinner would have to wait.

stresa bike

Her English is pretty good, despite her complaints, so we could communicate well. We drove to a neighboring town of Omegna and to her friend’s store. It was a small store, with nice road and mountain bikes. As I walked in, he rolled out a DeRosa aluminum frame bike, with Campy shifters like I have.

While in Paris, we walked by a number of Tour de France vendors with black and yellow jerseys and stuff. I had one in my hand before we hit the Louvre but put it down. I decided to wait until I reached Italy and get a jersey there.

As Massimo fixed the bike, I asked to see jerseys. He showed me a Scott jersey, from the bike company. I told him I wanted one from a local club. Actually, I don’t know how we got this far since he spoke no English and I know even less Italian. He nodded his understanding took me behind the register to show me a picture of his club, wearing their blue kits.

“Yes,” I told him. “That’s what I want!” So he sized he up, gave me the gear, and pointed to a changing room.

While I fumbled with the clothing, Massimo told Graziella about an email he got back in May from an American who was coming to the area to ride. He asked her my name, then found my email from May 1.

I came out of the room with the kit clinging to me and they both said, “molto bene!” and shared the story–I had contacted Massimo and he was fulfilling my cycling destiny in Italy. I was so thrilled I could hardly stand still. I bought the kit, then showed him my YouTube page with all the cycling and South Sudan videos. We took a picture together outside underneath his sign.

On the drive back to Stresa, Graziella and I excitedly recounted this event. I gave thanks to God for blessing me yet again on this trip and she shared this news with her friends on the phone.

After the bike pick up, we went to a restaurant where Graziella knew the chef. Had a wonderful meal, starting with the antipasti, fish, salad, great Bacan red wine, dessert.
Nice fueling for the next day’s ride.