In the summer, I ride a bicycle. A few years ago, I was training to ride across California’s Death Valley. A friend of mine, Johnny, spent the summer training with me. Together, we rode a “century” (100 miles) almost every Saturday. Once, we rode 107 miles in the rain. Johnny never complained — not once.
One miserably hot Saturday, we were riding through the hills of southern Ohio. One hill in particular was brutally steep. I really wanted to get off my bike and walk, but I held in there, barely turning the pedals over. Meanwhile, Johnny was falling farther and farther behind.
A couple of cyclists rode up, and one of them said, “Hey, you need to wait up for your buddy. He’s really struggling.” I said, “Thanks. He’s fine, though.” The cyclist persisted, “You should really wait.” I said thanks again and kept on pedaling. These cyclists were clearly disappointed I decided not to wait for my buddy. But I had spent all summer riding with Johnny, and I knew I didn’t need to wait.
A little later on, the cyclists looked up, surprised to see Johnny barreling past them, with me barely hanging on to his rear wheel. Johnny doesn’t look like a cyclist or an athlete of any kind, but he’s tougher than nails. And when he gets his second wind, it’s a sight to behold. I told him what had happened, and he gave the cyclists a big grin as he flew past them.