The last moments I got to spend with my friend Dave Mirra were on a bike ride we shared the Saturday before it happened. It was kind of chilly, and I had delayed my morning ride until the afternoon to take advantage of higher temperatures. Dave and I are the same when you do that – it totally gets you out of sync and it’s easy to end up skipping the workout completely. We hadn’t ridden together in quite a while so I texted him to see if he’d join me. Honestly I thought if he had said no I probably would have skipped it altogether. The window was closing fast on my motivation that day, and I felt like I wouldn’t have the gumption to do it at all if he wasn’t up for it. He texted back that he could go but not for a couple more hours. “I could do 3 but that might be too late.” For a half a second I thought it was and considered asking for a rain check and just going on my own straight away. I’m so glad I didn’t.
“OK 3 will work.”
When I rolled up on his driveway he was ready to go, aero’d out like always with that supercool custom black P5, disk wheel, and his old fallback Kask aero helmet. And a great big smile on his face. “Bruuuuuuuuuuuce! I don’t know, man, I’ve gained a lot of weight. Do I still look like a triathlete?!” I told him he could maybe pull it off. Heh. I knew he hadn’t ridden in a while. We rode side by side catching up, talking about the races we wanted to do this year, just having a chill ride and enjoying being on our bikes together again. We used to play a game called Heart Rate Wars where we’d ask each other what their HR was periodically during the ride. The lowest number wins. Dave made it up, of course. Typical Dave. Usually, we’d be within a couple beats of each other. I had told him when we left his house that I wouldn’t call him out on it this time, but he still wanted to play anyway. For once, I put the smack down on him! He just laughed it off talking about how out of shape he was but swearing he’d get it back.
He was so calm on that ride now that I think back on it. It was just a relaxed conversation with a relaxed pace. Dave normally is a notorious “half-wheeler,” always sticking his bike out just a hair further than yours letting you know he was open to going faster. You didn’t dare do it back to him or it was immediately game on! But on this day it was different. Just two old buddies riding together enjoying each other’s conversation and enjoying a nice sunny day on their bikes.
Whenever we would have a good ride (or swim or run), I could always count on an encouraging text from Dave shortly afterwards confirming how happy he was to have shared the workout. I wondered if he’d do so this time. “Thanks for the push,” I read from his text later while on my couch. “Wudntadunnitwiddoutya!” I texted back. I got my last “lol” from my great friend Dave Mirra after that.
I’m so glad we shared that ride together, and all the ones before that. These are the memories I hold on to and will always remember with a happy and warm heart as I press on. Dave wanted me, and all of us, to strive to be the best we could at whatever we put our heart into. “Don’t live off of old accolades, Bruce, make new ones.” How will I live my life from here on? Making new ones.
Thanks for the push, Dave. Thanks for the push……