“You will need to keep up with all the riders while on the racetrack. Okay?” My head weighted by the helmet, gave an exaggerated nod signaling “Yes” to David. I fastened the velcro to secure my gloves and got onto the machine that I would ride in the parade lap to honor Carl Sorensen.
David gestured to follow him, as his race bike headed to the “pre-grid” where riders line up before entering the racetrack. Years ago I did a lap on this track, but it was on the back of David’s bike. This time I got to ride it myself and I would experience just a hint of what it feels like to race. I sat in pre-grid with our fellow racers while they revved their engines. The vibrations moved my soul. The corner worker signaled us to enter hot pit lane. I watched all the motorcycles in front of me roll forward and bunch up in the turn that leads to the racetrack. Turning my throttle, I entered the track.
By the time I got onto the back straightaway, the group of riders had spread out. Motorcycles in front and in back of me, I was mid-pack. By the time I hit the end of the “back straight,” I’d picked up speed. I remembered what David once shared with me: “When riding, despite the high speeds, everything in my head slows down.” He was right. Despite my speed, everything had slowed for me too. I pushed the front wheel hard into the first turn. I spotted a group of corner workers waving flags in slow motion, honoring Carl. Air rushing through my helmet was the only sound. Tears formed as they saluted and waived honorary flags. He died too soon, I thought. Then, as if in answer, a whisper on the breeze, “When we finish all that we’re called to do, we cross the finish line and see God waive His checkered flag. Don’t give up Dawna. Keep doing what you’re meant to do. Keep the race pace.”
My heart welled as I braked for the next turn. I glanced at my speedometer which had reached a whopping 30 MPH on my pit scooter. Guys, it felt faster than that! Reality hit that this probably isn’t the sport for me. Finishing the course, I headed down the front straightaway and each of us lined up on our “rides” along the wall. Carl’s wife rode his race bike, riding past the long line of MRA riders. We revved our motorcycle (and scooter) engines. With her right hand on the throttle and her left fist pumping in the air, she signaled victory. Death has not won.
Carl’s legacy lives on. He raced life’s racetrack hard and fast. Loving others greatly, with passion, and living out his God-given talent. We never know how many laps we have before our race is over. That’s why it’s so important to do what we’re called to do, while we have the time to do it. And when we finish our last assignment, God calls us home.
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7