|June 10, 1995...FA(S)T!!!|
In the spring of 1995, I had so many problems with work and marriage that I gave up cycling for a week, thinking I might quit for good. My boss, Pete McEntire, told me I needed to give it up. I went to casual riding for a week. Instead of helping at work, I felt stale, and less productive there. When I started with a little more spirited riding again, I didn't take it seriously, and began playing with different training methods. On one ride I put the bicycle in my top gear, which is very hard to turn over,and rode at a comfortable effort with my hands on the tops of my brake hoods to be comfortable. To my surprise, the speeds were only a few seconds below some of my fastest times. I thought to myself,"The experts say if you are geared too high then you'll hurt your knees and your speeds will be too low". But my results didn't agree with that.
I felt uncharacteristically confident that day. My results from training rides told me I'd be mediocre at best, but as I left the car Miimii jokingly asked me,"Are you going to win today?" I paused for a second and said,"Yes", with no excuses. I was running very late and sprinted to the start line, took off, and took the turn-around at the halfway point too fast, locking up my rear wheel. I slid through the turn and accelerated, feeling spunky.
I came within 1 1/2 seconds of beating my fastest 10 mile (set on September 30, 1990) and that day I won my very first Category 4 race! I was stunned.
Days later, I was woefully slow again in training...three minutes off my best time. I ignored that, and the next week, raced the Virginia State Time Trial at Stony Creek, Virginia. I'd ordered a special piece of equipment days before, a special water bottle which was supposed to reduce drag and give me an advantage. It never arrived, and I was about to be upset when I stepped back and told myself--God is with me. If I don't let this get me down, push on in good faith and smile, put my trust in Him, He will show Himself and give me a good day. And so, below, you see the pig riding his $2000 bicycle (right photo of my old $140 Schwinn from 1984).
|I'd designed that multi-colored jersey and had it made when I was in Korea in 1989. I called it my "Rainbow Jersey" because it had a different color for every panel, strategically placed for effect. The helmet was my old Volvo helment which I'd dug up and dusted off just for this race. I was uncomfortable, and frequently stood on the pedals to relieve saddle pressure. I crossed the finish sore and checked my time. I was a minute faster than my best time from September 7, 1990, and it was the first time I'd broken the hour for 40 kilometers!|
Miimii refused to shoot a photo of me getting my medal. She didn't think it was important enough because the field of competitors was so small. She didn't understand--it wasn't about them, it was about me. I was back, once again. The strength had returned, from death into life.