Yes, it was a nearly picture-perfect day.
Along about 90 or 100 km into the course, the countryside became more rolling. i'd fallen in with a small group behind a couple on a tandem. We rode along together until we came upon a slightly steeper rise. Determined not to get dropped i pushed along with them, only to fall behind on the way down- i'd overdone the effort, so i backed down to my usual slow pace and watched the others ride away whilst i caught my breath.
A few minutes later atop a hill in the middle of a crossroads i saw a knot of dismounted riders and a couple of stopped cars. Thinking it to be a crash, i felt a chill as i approached. It was worse than a crash.
A cyclist lay on the pavement surrounded by the others. One driver was on his cellphone, another was kneeling beside the fallen rider pushing on his chest while someone else was giving mouth to mouth on every third count.
Some of us stopped a respectable distance beyond the scene, not quite knowing what else there was to do. One man said that it didn't look good, as the rider was already pretty blue. There was nothing any of us could do really, so one by one, we moved away in silence. A few minutes down the road, a county police cruiser blasted by, shortly followed an ambulance and a couple other police and fire vehicles.
i haven't learnt of the outcome for that rider. He looked to be a few years younger than myself, maybe mid-40's. There was no word to be found the next day from any local area news nor on the cycling sites i follow. i can only hope he was revived, but i don't think it likely.
As i continued down the road, i meditated on that phrase in Latin that is the sub heading for thisblog:
"Vive memor quam sis aevi brevis."
Remember how short life is.
Carpe viam, mihi crede, comes, terrestria quando
mortalīs animas vivunt sortita neque ulla est
aut magno aut parvo leti fuga: quo, bone, circa
dum licet, in rebus iucundis vive beatus
vive memor, quam sis aevi brevis.
("Seize the way, trust me, pal, since things on earth
have been allotted mortal souls and there is no
escape from death for either the great
or the small: therefore, good fellow,while one may, live happy in pleasant circumstances,
live mindful of how short-lived you are.” )
- Horace,Sermones 2.6: The Country Mouse and the City Mouse