I walked part of the course Sunday, watching the Redlands Classic. Even as they rode in a peloton, there were differences in equipment, attire, style, approach, and attitude. If one stripped away the common – individual riding a bicycle, one found a community with differences.
Initially, I thought the differences mattered. I thought equipment would make some better than others. Yet, their wheels varied – amount the leaders, those mid-pack, and even the stragglers that fought to finish in their own time. The types of bicycles they were riding were scattered across many different brands. Every brand was represented; there was no apparent domination. I assumed the approach to diet, liquids, and riding style would be dictated by the latest thinking. Yet, some ate while riding while others pushed on. Some drank and drafted, while others pushed hard at the front. Even on the push uphill and down, there was a range of style and approaches.
Individuality was on stage, especially in terms of the rider’s attitude. During the later stages, it became harder and harder to know who was as the head of the lap and who was trailing. On a lonely hillside, a solitary rider was pushing hard. Her form looked great! Her presence was impressive. She had a motorcycle escort. As she passed, a friend turned to a course marshal and asked, “Is she leading?”
“No, I’m last!” came a shout from the rider up the hill. From the tone of her voice, if I did not know better, I would have assumed she was leading.
In their diversity, there was a clearly a common bond. It was clear that each loved to ride. It was obvious that each was a competitor that was in the race to do her/his best. The wonder of the day unfolded. I listened and I remembered Paul’s words; “In the generations before us, God let all the different nations go their own way. But even then he didn't leave them without a clue, for he made a good creation, poured down rain and gave bumper crops.” (Acts 14.16)