Did you know Kevin Costner’s first on film role was as the corpse in The Big Chill?
I know, seems like a random question, but as I sit here on a Monday morning — supposedly taking a day off — I can’t resist writing this column about what just be a new niche job for me.
Actually, this is going to be the first of several pieces about the Alzheimer’s Association’s Ride to Remember which I covered for three days over the weekend as nearly 300 cyclists traversed 252 miles of heat and unkempt South Carolina back roads. And the roads, well that too is a different story for a different day.
I am going to keep the serious material and dole it out in pieces, hopefully prompting some of you to become involved. Meanwhile, back at the ranch.
It seems over the last two years there has been some discussion concerning the way I shoot this ride. Apparently no one else does it quite the way I do — and I’m not quite sure whether that’s a good or bad thing.
While most would ride and shoot from a vehicle or chase car, I walk. I did 56 miles last year and 44 this year, a little disappointing but circumstances dictated the shorter trip on foot for me.
Along the way I find out-of-the-way spots to shoot from and actually prefer to lie on the shoulder at times to get just the right angle on the riders as the packs pass. It’s this which has become fodder for the riders, even after two years of watching me.
You would think after all this time, cresting a hill in the middle of nowhere, or even better, the peak of Ravenel Bridge into Mount Pleasant, seeing me lying on the shoulder or in the road would become the norm. Alas, this is not the case, according to my sources within the peloton.
It seems, no matter which group of riders, there is almost always the same discussion among them before there is the realization it is me and is comprised of almost the same questions, a little like this:
“Did someone wreck?”
“Is that a person?”
“Is that homeless guy dead?”
Or a personal favorite, which fortunately happened only once to the best of my knowledge:
“Why would someone just throw a bag of trash on the side of the road?”
And actually, by the end of the ride this year, I was “the homeless guy,” compliments of Claire.
During the ride the peloton begins as one, but it doesn’t take long for there to be separation and gaps created with riders moving forward and sliding back for miles and on occasion individual riders will be left all on their own in the middle of nowhere.
This happened to Claire. She was riding alone down an empty stretch of country road with no one in front or behind. That’s when she crested the hill and spotted a man with a satchel slung over his back with no shirt on walking along the side of the road.
She almost stopped, but instead decided to brave it and slid all the way to the other side of the road to avoid him, convinced she would be accosted and dragged away by some wandering psycho.
Instead, all she got was a quick photo, with just a tad of a look of shock on her face — realization mostly — as it dawned on her it was me.
Soon the story made its rounds and booming laughter and catcalls of “Hey, there’s the homeless guy” could be heard echoing across empty fields and asphalt.
It’s not quite the legacy I was looking for, but at the same time, it has a certain funny appeal to it. I suppose it does make an impression that will make me memorable for next year should I be lucky enough to do this again.
And Claire, if you’re reading this, you have made me do some reflection and I may just have to take a new look at my wardrobe and fashion sense. Or lack thereof.
D. C. Moody is a staff writer for The Easley Progress, The Pickens Sentinel and Powdersville Post and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper’s opinion.