Magical Mailbox

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Dawn. Tuesday Morning. I hate my alarm clock.

It is time for the Tripleshot Cycling sprints day.  I’ve managed to mostly avoid this workout, but now that I’m admitting that I am 1) really enjoying cycling and 2) really terrible at racing bicycles, this workout is the one I need to get a little punch into my diesel metabolism.

They gather in the dark at 6AM (I love June) and sort by speed and/or lunacy-of-the-day into the usual packs.  I rode off with B2.  We have to be B2, because there’s already a faster B and we can’t be C. C is an institution all of its own and would not take kindly to being made D for a day just because too many Bs turned up.  There was a Great Confusion one day when B1 blew into two pieces (thanks a bunch, Rob), and the latter half of that group wandered the waterfront unsure whether they’d just downgraded B2 to B3 in absentia or had to anoint themselves B1.5.

Anyhow, the sprints workout runs over multiple laps of a course we call “the box” near UVic.  Every other lap, the group snaps to and races like it’s the end of the world for a mailbox on Cedar Hill Cross Road.  On the far side of the mailbox are dozens of people reeling down the road, tongues dragging on the ground as they recover and regroup to go around a couple more times and do it all over again.  A bunch of relatively sane, mature adults absolutely kill themselves trying to be the first to this mailbox over and over and over again.  On a good summer morning, there are probably sixty people whose sole object for an hour or so is winning the race to that mailbox before their heads explode.

It’s an otherwise ordinary mailbox, one that looks like every other grey Canada Post relay box in the country.  For 167 of the 168 hours of the week, it just stands there doing its job – mail in, mail out – in its grey, oblong sort of way.  But for one sparkling hour, for a bunch of nerds in lycra, it transcends this mundane mantle and represents victory, striving, pain, delight, defeat, and relief.

Next time your eye passes right over the grey bureaucrat who issued your driver’s license, think of the mailbox, look back to her, and wonder whose life she brightens.

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