I often find that as my time is taken up with other things, it is my true passions that fall to the wayside. Writing has been a hobby of mine since my youth, and I always find myself stepping away from it for periods of time. I say I’ll be back, write more, post more, keep up on it, but I hardly ever keep my word. As I sat in front of the computer this evening, I saw my opportunity to open my life’s book again and add to its pages, so here I am.
I want to fill sections of my life in that I normally write about, but have neglected to. I think I’ll start with my return to the bike marathon I began taking part in during my first year of college in 2007. This would be the marathon that I race in for charity, with the proceeds going to individuals with vision impairments who are in need of research, glasses, and other things related to that field. In 2007 I finished 5th out of 30, followed by a 2008 finish of 4th out of 20, which lead to a 2009 victory in a field of 28. From 2009-2011 I did not take part in the race and I had been missing it. After moving to Pleasant Valley, NY and into walking distance of where the race begins, I saw an opportunity to jump back into the race, and I did.
I had a few weeks to prepare for the race but didn’t have a bike to use, a problem that was solved one day while I was at work. I had to run to the plumbing parts store to pick up some material and I passed a tag sale on the way. After noticing that it had a road bike for sale, I told myself that I would stop on the way back and purchase it, allthewhile hoping it would still be there. As it turns out, it was and for the small bargain price of ten dollars, it was all mine. The bike needed a little work and it wasn’t the type of bike I typically use (I like to go with an 18 or 21 speed, this bike was only a 10, which holds significant disadvantages) but it would have to do.
The morning of the race, I had the same exact attire on that I had won the 2009 race in, black shorts and my long sleeve Under Armour top (the race is in September and tends to be cold, especially with the 9 a.m. start time.) I did my usual pre-race routine of a few laps around the parking lot and it was time. All I could think about was the possibility of a repeat, but I hadn’t entered this race in three years, which, coincidentally is the last time I had ridden a bike for any amount of time, so I wasn’t getting too ahead of myself. My main goal was my usual goal, to finish the race, number one, and number two, to never get off the bike, no matter what.
I started off in about 7th and for most of the race I was somewhere between 7th and 1st place. I noticed early on that I wasn’t going to dominate the hills as I had in past races because my physical condition wasn’t up to par with the demands of a 26.2 mile race. I struggled on the hardest hills but pushed on, leading about 5-7 miles of the race before surrendering the lead and eventually finishing 5th out of 23. It wasn’t a repeat win, but it was a victory for me.
What I was most proud of was a moment in the middle of the race. I had been leading and two guys passed me, moving me to third. One of them slowed down and said he remembered me from the year I won, asking me “You used to run in this race, you won a few years back right?” That made me feel good. It’s always nice when someone on this planet notices or remembers me, especially since in most crowds I’m the quiet guy who lets his actions, not his words, show his true character.
Finishing 5th was only a disappointment because I expect the best results, and didn’t achieve them. But I gave this race all that I had physically and knew I had reached my limits, so I have nothing to complain about. I’ve been training on stationary bikes and in the gym since that race though and next year I expect the results to be much better. As with every sport that I play, I expect to win. That never changes.