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.
On June 3, I raced a ten-mile time-trial in Caroline County, south of Richmond. I'd ridden my training course, still in those high gears, and it seemed like I'd start slow, but then I'd overcome the gear and end up very fast, so I thought this race would be fun.

My rocket ship>>>
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).

Accelerating to warp speed>>>
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! Still accelerating>>>Still accelerating>>>
*sigh* Loligagging up to warp speed>>>
I'd been trying to make that mark since before 1990! I was shocked! I was second in the state and won my very first state medal, a cheesy little silver thing with a safety pin clip. I guess they think people will wear them on their shirts? Well, this was my most surprising race I'd ever had. The medal may have looked cheap, but it meant I had finally made an impact.

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.

...and I come back looking like my grandmother>>>
June 1995

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