Stations of My Cross

Thursday, April 9, 2009

I left the office early and excited last Holy Wednesday to go to Bike Room in Cartimar for the bike shoes I should have bought months earlier. After checking out bike shoes in various bike shops, I finally gave in and followed the recommendation of the authoritative but friendly store owner of Bike Room. She recommended this Italian brand which was priced way higher than my most expensive running shoes and certainly costlier than the soft leather shoes I wear for work. While I like the look and image of Italian patent leather shoes, I have long realized that my feet do not love those stiff shoes. Yet here I was in a bike store fitting and paying for italian leather sports shoes this time.

The next afternoon I found myself going to my favorite sports playground to test ride the Italian leathers. Along the way I passed two churches and pondered for few moments if I was capable of doing what Jesus did - you know, dying for others. I suppose if I love enough I can die for others too. Thank God there was no one to die for at moment. I think my parents would prefer that I live rather than die for them. My nieces and nephews, well they have their parents to die for them (haha). Besides, I still have to brake-in my new shoes! :-)

I will let you in on a secret: it took a long time for me to get those bike shoes because I was afraid of them. I have heard of horror stories from friends of semplangs (falls) because they were not able to uncleat their shoes on time. I am such a klutz. While I may be able to think fast, I have poor physical reflexes. Armed with those stories and aware of my weaknesses, I spent a good hour the night of my purchase cleating and uncleating those shoes while standing over my bike.

Before my actual bike ride in my playground, I tested uncleating and cleating again. Ten minutes into it and I assumed I was good to go. I finished one bike round without any incident. I even injected more drills (uncleating and cleating while cruising and uncleating prior to full stop) in the middle of the round. What a difference those bike shoes make! I reached a new max speed of 37kph without much effort, and I hope to clear 40kph soon. Give me long, flat roads and I will zoom away with my Italian shoes!

What I failed to prepare for was cleating on an incline. I found myself in this situation on the start of my second bike round. Still high on my stronger and faster ride (thanks to those stiff soles), I confidently mounted my bike. My right foot cleated quickly but my left gingerly groped for that click. I wobbled terribly with the road incline, but the bike would not move, until finally I fell - one foot cleated, other foot free. Splattered on the ground and surprised, I blurted out an expletive in the vernacular - crisp and loud enough to be heard by a cute girl passing at the most unfortunate time. I managed to rise and embarassingly look at her. I was too stunned to say anything. The girl was proper enough not to say anything and considerate enough to suppress her smile. Fall outcomes: leg scratches and bruised ego.

Cute girl has already passed when I attempted to ride again. Same things happened: right foot cleated, left foot failed to latch, bike still on an incline, pedals would not turn, and clumsy butt kissed the road again. Geez, not again! Eventually I got it. The incline - I was not prepared for it so I must walk with my bike a few meters ahead and start on relatively flat land. Fell twice, humbled nth number of times.

I am no saint but neither am I an evil person. I am an ordinary Juan struggling to make it alive to the finish line. Occasionally I sin and I probably tried all the seven deadly sins. I am certainly guilty of gluttony, sometimes lust, on certain days sloth, and probably more often than I like, pride - said to be the deadliest of them all. So falling is nothing new to me. Certainly not proud of it, but one thing I always endeavor to do is to stand up as quickly as I can. I was certainly quick when that cute girl was in sight.

The stations of my cross for this Holy Thursday were spread along 40kms of a bike ride. Come to think of it, I am still unclear what my current cross is supposed to be. But carry it I will. I have had two falls at km12. As I was about to complete 40kms, I slowed towards an intersection and debated with myself whether I should uncleat and make a full stop or hope for perfect timing that the intersection will be cleared just in time. I bet on the second option, but the passing car did not move quickly enough. I had to press that break without enough time to uncleat. I fell for the third time. The chain even disengaged this time.

I seemed to be destined to master the art of falling. What's a guy to do: practice, practice, practice. And pray. Obsessive-compulsive already I am but that cleating on incline still eluded my projections. I am still thankful all I have had are stupidity falls. When I signed up for this thing called sports I know there are some risks, but so does this thing called life. I do not mind falling and I would certainly continue to stand up each time I fall, but I do have one prayer request: that each fall may knock sense to me, but not knock me out entirely. I want to reach the pearly gates of the finish line strong and jubilant. I might fall over and over, but I will pick up the pieces each time.

I will finish life's races. Because I will it, my loved ones cheer for me, and my God awaits at the finish lines.


TIMMY April 10, 2009 at 10:13 AM  

ang kulit, 3 times din nag fall :) nice blog entry sir rix, as always :)

Rico Villanueva April 10, 2009 at 9:08 PM  

Hi Timmy. Ang kulit ba? Akala ko two times lang, may pahabol pa sa uli. Well, idol ko si Jesus eh! :-)

Bong April 12, 2009 at 9:00 AM  

Can't avoid laughing while reading your post. :-)

Rico Villanueva April 12, 2009 at 4:55 PM  

Bong, laughing is good...Haha...

kelcy June 30, 2010 at 11:35 PM  

ewan kung nabasa na to ni wilnar...pero kanina when we were discussing sa jollibee, sabi niya sa'ken, isipin mo na lang si Jesus...thanks again, rico. this inspires me. I feel that i'm not alone on this craziness. naks!

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