I love Thanksgiving. Mainly because I love turkey. No, I love it all. I love going from the cold into a warm kitchen filled with people. I love the chatter and banter and seeing my family. I love hugging my grandma and playing cards with my cousins. And I absolutely love turkey, stuffing, potatoes and gravy.
I’m all about saying grace, and my goal is to stay in that frame of mind well into the new year. I have much to be thankful for, starting with Coach Ben, who patiently, diligently works to keep me on course; Coach Jared, Mike Cerimele and the folks at Velocity — who helped me square up after my injury; Phil, Gazza, T-Bird, Jess, Trish & Lisa, my Verducci-Breakaway teammates . . . looking forward to a great 2009; Tiffany Brown at Giant Bicycles, who gives me the fastest, most incredible bikes to race on; Matt, Kim and my other training partners at T-Town; Matt, who deserves a second mention because he’s such a great motivator and generous guy; Gene Durigan, without whom I wouldn’t have a slick computer to write on; Dave Q Pryor, who somehow calls me with freelance work when my tank is on fumes; my Lath, who’s zen-like in his encouragement of my goals; the many friends who’ve listened to me kvetch about how hard it is at the elite international level; all you kooky people who read my blog; Bicycling magazine, for giving me a forum to share my experience, and the good lord, for giving me a body that can take the kind of punishment I dish it.
Just kidding about that last sentence. I love training, riding and racing bikes and seeing what I can do. You only live once, I say.
Since 2005 I left a great job, started a freelance business, moved to a new town, got married, focused on training and racing, made an uninhabitable living space livable, made the US National Team, shut down my business, got fast enough to chase after the Olympic games, worked through two injuries, and ran completely, utterly out of money.
Giving up everything good and secure and reliable to jump head-first into a world where there are no guarantees has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done. The best part, so far, about doing this has been the depth of the experience, and the many smart, friendly and passionate people I’ve met—both in cycling and outside the sport. I’m grateful for every single one of them.
Plus, I can now ride rollers using only one leg. That has to count for something.