Completely Unexpected

<<<previous <<<free falling

July 16, 1999

Praying for another hurricane>>> Come on hurricane, where are you?>>>
Yeah, I'm the guy who did the solo breakaway two miles into the race...what's it to you?>>>On July 5, I began attending Seaford Baptist Church. Miimii had taken me there on June 7, 1998 and I loved it, but she didn't want me to attend when she was there. She didn't want the people to know she was divorced. One day she called me and said she'd quit the church so it was okay for me to go.

I'd had it with the Catholic Church. It felt unloving, and more interested in its traditions than in Christ. I'd tried for nine years to learn but for the most part people didn't want to even talk about Christ outside of church. I'd gone to a local Catholic church for six months and it was rare that anyone spoke to me at all. At Seaford, first day, everyone was very friendly. In my first service an elderly man had a stroke in front of me. Services were stopped and he was rushed out. I thought it was a sign I should stay. He later died---another good sign. They needed new blood.

One day my boss, Captain Darnell said,"I found you can drive up to eight hours on your day off without taking leave." He'd previously told me three, and after I'd cancelled all my important bicycle races and pretty much lost motivation to train, it was a little late! I liked Captain Darnell--I couldn't stay mad.

And so, in horrible shape, I drove to the Virginia Commonwealth Games in Roanoke. I hadn't done them since 1997. Knowing I would be badly beaten, I broke away two miles into the race to steal some glory before the fast riders did to me what I did to everyone else in Korea. The race was 40 miles on the Blue Ridge Parkway, all climbs and descents. I led alone for six miles, and when I was overtaken, only three riders caught me.

You want an autograph? Oh well then...>>> They passed me, and not wanting to give up too easily, I passed them back. They passed me again, we took the turn around at 20 miles and I was in fourth, chasing second and third. The lead dude had flown. That pig. If only I'd brought a gun. On the fast descent I caught the two guys in front of me and tried to blow by them, but I had problems. My legs cramped. I was clearly stronger but perhaps because it was so hot or that I hadn't trained in a month, I couldn't stand on the pedals without my legs cramping. I easily stayed with them and tried to sprint away but because I had no acceleration, every time I tried to get past them they'd just get in my draft and suck my wheel. We reached the uphill finish which I am normally very good at, but when I stood on the pedals my legs locked and I almost crashed. I watched them ride away.
I placed 4th (my best finish), first in my age group, and got a gold medal (paper weight). That was completely unexpected. Riders came to me at the finish and said,"You were the one who broke away? That was a daring move!" I'd earned a lot of respect from doing what was in reality an act of desperation.

I drove home overjoyed, but when I entered my empty apartment realized no one else in the world cared. I kicked a hole in my wall then I was okay.

Final climb to halfway point on course>>> Here's where you go if you can't make the turn>>> Descent from halfway point>>>