Saturday morning I had one pancake, two cups of Joe, a couple gulps of aqua, threw on my bibs, cycling jersey, and headed out on A1A. The wind was howling as I made the right hand turn and headed into the teeth of it. The temp was a perfect 62 degrees and the sun was shining. My plan was quite simple – ride into the wind until I find a group riding the other direction and hop on and hold on for dear life.
Two miles into the ride a group of fifty riders blew by me going south, it was too early to turn so I let them go on by. Another five miles and a group of thirty riders tempted me to turn ‘round, but again it was too soon. Patience, Chet. Patience. I kept riding north and looking for the right group to come round but now that I was ready to turn after a dozen or so miles, there were no groups to be found. Approaching Lakeworth, I made the decision to turn at the light and return to Delray by my lonesome. Bummer. I made the turn around on A1A and noticed a rider pulling out of the local Walgreens parking lot. Then another and another and another. All told there must have been thirty riders all wearing a jersey that said Beitzim in big bold letters across the back. I tucked into the middle of the pack and struck up a conversation with a woman from Venezuela. She told me the group was mostly from Central and South America and were riding back to their home base of Miami. She welcomed me into their group and told me which wheels to avoid. Good.
After about three minutes of warmup the dudes at the front cranked up the heat. We flew.
I felt like a cyclist again, hanging on for dear life and loving every minute of it. I talked to a dude from South Africa, another from Cuba, and made quick friends with a talkative chap from Mexico. After about ten minutes of me hearing about all the comrades on the ride, I asked my new friend what Beitzim meant. I knew it had to have some significance. It did. He told me it’s a Hebrew word as most of the cyclist on this ride were Jewish (I smiled inside just thinking about what a great serendipitous moment God had given me). “It means eggs,” he said matter of factly. “But the slang use of the word is balls, big balls.” I was riding with a group, he told me that was fearless. They had all left everything to come to this country – they were ballsey. I smiled a Duchenne smile and laughed at this moment of clarity. Beitzim. This country is formed by the Beitzim of men and women like this group of cyclist. Love it.
My hotel was fast approaching on the left so I made sure to say goodbye to my new friend as I pulled out of the pack to turn left. He looked at me and he asked me if I was ok. He called me brother. I replied that I was fine it was just time for me turn in. Ride like the wind, I yelled to him. Beitzim, he screamed back with a smile. Beitzim. Good…