Labor Day is in view, and in its shadow, the beginning of the end of summer. Standing on the shore of Cazenovia Lake, I think back to all of those adolescent summers spent buzzing around town; finding trouble with friends; and feeling like those days would never end. More than twenty years later, the sun still looks the same as it goes down behind the lake's western shore.
The air shakes and the wind blows about. Engines roar overhead. Clouds swirl within a sea of deep blue marble. For a moment I lose myself, wondering how everything's been tipped upside down; looking up, as an airplane passes over the ocean above me.
Standing on the shore, my feet planted firmly in the grainy sands of New York, I stared across the lake and into the depths of the beautiful Green Mountains. Seagulls squawked all around; some occasionally dive-bombing for crumbs of food, while others stayed patiently perched atop their lookout posts. The air was perfectly clear, and the summer breeze passed right through me.
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