I used to lead a team of bikers for The Bike to the Shore which raises money for cancer research. It is a 75 mile bike ride from city to shore. During the week, with everyone’s work schedules and long list of commitments, we would do our own thing as far as training and then on the weekends we gathered as many as were able to join and we would do a long bike ride together.
On one particular Saturday, only one other teammate and myself were able to meet up for the long bike ride. We chose to meet at a trail that, depending where you got on, could be as long as 50 or more miles. It was getting pretty close to race day and we decided it would be a good idea to ride this trail because it would give us a good idea of what the actual ride would be like.
Being a diabetic, I also wanted to test ride the effects the long ride would have on my blood sugars. I loaded up my backpack with snacks and candies and extra insulin, filled my water bottle, made sure my bike was in good shape, and away we went on our 50+ mile bike ride. I was feeling good for the first part of the ride. We stopped once for a bathroom break and some nourishment, refilled our water bottles at a water fountain and went on our way.
At the halfway point, I stopped to get some extra sugar in my system because I could feel my blood sugar was low. After a few minutes, we continued on our way and it wasn’t far from when we left that I needed to pull off the trail again and repeat the sugar intake and wait a few minutes. At this point, my supply of sugar was getting pretty low and we had biked a bit further than originally planned. It was a beautiful day and we weren’t really paying attention to the fact that as far as we biked out on the trail, we would have to bike that same distance back.
After a little bit of waiting, we got back on the trail and hoped we would get back to our car without further incident. About ten minutes into this leg of the ride, I could tell I was still having issues with my blood sugar, but I decided to settle into a slower pace, figuring the sugar I had eaten just needed a little more time to absorb into my system.
Unfortunately, this was not the case. With about 35 miles left to bike to our car, I really wasn’t feeling well and I was starting to panic about what I was going to do. Different thoughts went through my head. Maybe my partner could bike back to the car and drive to a closer spot to where we were at that moment. Then I remembered I had some loose change in the bottom of my backpack. Maybe it was enough to get something out of the vending machine that was a couple miles up the trail. We rode to where the vending machine was and I dug up the little bit of change I had at the bottom of my bag and went to the machine, feeling very relieved it was there.
The machine was empty! Except . . . .for one bag of M&Ms dangling from its hook for dear life. We shook that machine like the Incredible Hulk and Hercules combined and that darn little pack of M&Ms would not, for the life of it, let go of it’s grip on its hook.
We left the machine, with the plan to ride up the trail a bit further, where we knew my partner could ride the rest of the way back to the car and then pull right up to where I was waiting. It would be a little bit of time, but at least I would be sitting still and maybe that would also help my situation.
The whole time we were riding, I just kept thinking, God is going to take care of me. Isn’t there some bit of truth to the saying, “God helps those who help themselves” ? I was responsible about my situation, I just didn’t have enough sugar reinforcement. That was the purpose of this ride, to see how my body would react to such a physical adventure and it had a much stronger reaction than I imagined.
As we were riding to our planned rest stop, I noticed the smell of grilled hamburgers wafting through the air. I didn’t say anything to my partner because I thought maybe I was also hallucinating, willing into existence such a necessary item at that moment. Afterall, the park was unusually quiet on this particular Saturday and we were riding back the same way we came and there wasn’t anyone grilling when we rode through this area earlier.
As we rounded a corner, I looked up and saw a cloud of smoke up ahead. And the smell of burgers was growing more intense. At this point, I knew it was real . . . .my partner and I looked at each other and without saying a word, the two of us seemed to gain a little bit of momentum in our pacing. Sure enough, up the trail about another half mile or so was an Outback food truck set up at a picnic area and grilling away.
What. Are. The. Chances!!!
We rode up to the gentleman grilling, explained our situation and flat out told him we didn’t have even a penny to offer him and without any hesitation whatsoever, he put a big, juicy burger on a bun, loaded it up with all kinds of fixings and handed it over to me with a nice cold soda and a huge smile on his face. “No worries”, he said, “I was looking for something to do with these few burgers I had here anyway.”
As we shoveled the burgers into our mouths, the gentleman continued to explain that he had just finished catering a family event and wanted to give his last few burgers “a nice home” before just tossing them out to the animals that would swallow them up in no time.
As he cleaned up the area, my partner and I looked at each other in complete awe of the entire situation. It hadn’t been that long since we had ridden through this area on our way out the trail and there was no one in sight . . . certainly no food truck setting up shop. And there weren’t any people settling in for an event either. Where did this gentleman come from? And how was it we showed up just as he was “looking for someone with whom to share his last few burgers.”
I have my own explanation for what happened that day. I’ll let you develop yours as you see fit and appropriate. But the fact is, my needs were met at just the right moment and in just the right capacity.
COINKY DINK? . . . . .OR NAH??