I started road cycling in 1988 – the year I graduated high school. My parents had just moved from northern Indiana to St. Louis, Missouri, and that meant leaving the home where I grew up, all my friends, and my comfort zone. It was a miserable experience for me (nothing against St. Louis or Missouri…they’ve got a great baseball team!), it just didn’t feel like home.
I felt lost, especially entering my senior year at a new school where the pecking order had been well established before my arrival. I was floundering…badly! That is when my youth pastor, who was an avid cyclist at the time, asked me if I would be interested in riding with him, and I reluctantly accepted. I had an old 10 speed my uncle had given me; it was heavy and antiquated, but it worked.
We set out to ride 40 miles (which might not seem like a lot, but I don’t think I had ridden more than 10 miles at a time before that day). I immediately fell in love with it. There is something so magnificent and peaceful about seeing the world from the saddle of a bicycle…even an old, clunky 10 speed. In one of the most difficult years of my life, my bicycle became one of my closest friends.
Now here I am 27 years later, a husband, father of two amazing young men, a firefighter and an EMT, and I’m still finding solace on the saddle of my bicycle (but just so you know I have traded that old 10 speed in for a modern Specialized Allez Sport). Life has a way of getting crazy busy and out of control, but everything slows down on my bike.
Slowing down is not something we do too well in our society. We almost feel guilty if someone asks “How’s it going” and we can’t answer “Busy!” But I know this: in the chaos of this life we absolutely need to slow down – it is essential and extremely profitable. Last year was my first Ride The Rockies experience and the first time I had been in the Rocky Mountains. What a year to go – I am so glad I had the Berthoud Pass experience! I am so pumped about riding again this year – especially since it is the 30th year of Ride The Rockies. I am looking forward to being a Riding Medic again this year, because even in the midst of finding my solace I still love helping people. So if you need a Band-Aid or just an encouraging word, look for the Riding Medic on the black and red Specialized Allez Sport, I’ll be glad to help!