This summer marks my twentieth year competing as an amateur endurance athlete. Wait on that for a moment... Twenty years. The year I entered my first race was 1994 and I was a novice mountain bike racer competing in the beginner-ist of beginner categories at the Highland Forest XC Mountain Bike Race in Tully, NY. The course was five miles. I remember that because the "Sport" category did two laps and the "Expert" category did an inconceivable (to me) three laps. THREE! I sweated it out in the mud and the steam, sucking wind and praying to make it through in one piece; black flies biting and that day's lunch churning in my untrained stomach. I rolled across the line in second-to-last place, just ahead of the guy who broke his rear derailleur and rode the balance of the course in one gear. My friends laughed at the effort; I even admitted to them that I too thought it was pretty weak debut to the sport. I talked for days about all the things I was going to do differently the following year to prepare again. They all dismissed it as a phase.Read More
We waited patiently for dark to come, and when it did, the evening greeted us with a boom. Our legs tired from a day of walking around the town fair; our skin itching from the evening breeze tickling our sunburned bodies; and fireflies buzzing about and dotting the backyard - the fourth of July came and went with the magnificent colors of the night's fireworks.
Six days passed. The sun shone down anew; the rain completely dissipated. The skies that had previously been flat and grey now encapsulated the city under a brilliant cobalt dome. Light winds rippled hanging flags and blew my hair into my face as I once again walked the streets of Frankfurt, Germany.Read More
The days are longer now and a warm breeze pushes through the yard in the evenings. Mosquitoes and black flies buzz about, giving way to the lightning bugs that join later on, and giant snapping turtles waddle through the yard on their way back to the river. The horses come out for their evening stroll, pausing to eat along the way. In the background, the sound of the wind chimes subtly reminds me that each night hereafter will arrive just a bit earlier until winter returns.
The clock just barely ticked over into the eighth hour of the morning and the thermometer read over 100 degrees fahrenheit. In my hotel room, the gentle hum of the air conditioner filled the space around me with a calming white noise. The sun was bright and yellow as I stood at the window peering out of the twelfth floor and onto the streets of Bangalore, India.Read More
It was the first truly hot day of the year, this Memorial Day. On Main Street of a small town where I used to ride, people came out in droves to watch the parade. An hour before the festivities began, these plastic chairs of all colors and sizes lined the road. Kids prepared for the procession of cars and floats, fighting for the best positions in which to receive candy that would be tossed to them. The smell of hamburgers and hot dogs wafted through the air and people milled about with nary a care in the world. Eventually, the parade came and went, but we all knew the summer was just beginning.