September 5, 1999
|On June 14 (Melanie's birthday) I met Mary on the internet. She worked at Ft. Monroe, a few miles from where I worked at Langley AFB. We did nothing more than tease each other every day when I woke up (I was working nights). So on July 28, knowing I'd be back on a regular day schedule, I asked her if we could meet somewhere for food. Once I started day shift I wouldn't see her in the morning so I thought it would be fun. I told her I wanted to go to a cheap place and dress trashy so we wouldn't feel nervous. So we did, and it was fun. Mary had red hair and the bluest eyes I'd ever seen. She talked nonstop but I liked it. She had a lot of spirit. We kept forgetting to order food because of the yacking we were doing. I went out with Mary three more times over the next four months. Finally I had a friend who was flesh and bone and not a computer file! She was fun.|
Once I was back on day shift I did more cycling and raced three time trials. The top photo was taken at the finish of the Poolesville Time Trial in Maryland, August 22. I got fourth in my category for that one. Despite not having raced at this level since 1996 and a bad summer, I was on, rivaling my fastest times. Two weeks later, after a hurricane had swept the course at Stony Creek, Virginia, on heavy doses of Motrin for a very-painful recurring back problem, I took third in the state of Virginia in my category with a time of 58 minutes 16.78 seconds for the 40 kilometer course, my fastest 40K ever. I almost didn't go because forecasters predicted heavy winds and I was experimenting with a narrow elbow placement on my aero-bars. At one point I was slammed by a side wind which pushed me a few feet out into the road, but other than that I handled the wind fine. I'd finally perfected my position and was kicking butt (this time against non-military competitors) for the first time in my life.