September 21, 2008

The Leadville 100

As usual, I went for a mountain bike ride on Saturday in Ringwood, NJ with my usual group of friends. We rode for about 2+ hours and just had a fantastic time. Ringwood is quite a playground for us 40 somethings. We're all decent riders and can ride 95% of the technical trails out there. But when it comes to Ringwood, we are always discovering something new. And when we do, we giggle like kids about our new playground. This past ride wasn't anything different. Two weeks ago we discovered this single track trail with many rocks, narrow sections, steep descents & ascents and just plain challenging terrain. It was awesome!

During the ride, I kept thinking about the Leadville 100 mountain bike race. ( I read a recent article about it in Mountain Bike magazine and it just seemed like an incredible race. 100 miles all above 9000 feet climbing to a height well over 12,000 feet above sea level. Lance Armstrong came out of retirement for it and finished second. Unreal!! I would love to challenge myself someday and do it but it's quite a feat. if you finish, you get a belt buckle that says you finish. If you finish under 9 hours, you get a "bigger" belt buckle and the pride that no one can take away. Lance finished in 6 hours 45 minutes plus. He was about 2 minutes behind the winner Dave Wiens.

This is what is great about this sport, as well as triathlon, that we can aspire to compete in the same races the pro's do. Where else can you do this? I can't put the pads on, make my way to Giants Stadium and expect to get in the game on Sunday. But I could line up at the start of The Leadville 100, glance to my right and see the great lance Armstrong or I could wave to Desiree Ficker as she is coming in from the run at Lake Placid Ironman (

What a great World!

September 17, 2008

Jamie Whitmore

There is an article in the October issue of triathlete about Jamie Whitmore, the incredibly talented Xterra pro athlete. If you are not aware of her situation, she has been out of racing this year after the discovery and removal of a cancerous tumor in her leg.

I have enjoyed reading about Jamie's racing successes and her epic battles with Melanie McQuaid. And although the greatest thing about our sport is that we get to race with the Pro's (but only see them dressed and rested while we cross the finish line), I have never raced with Jamie. And now it appears that she is battling not only for her career but for her life. Since the article went to press, it appears that she has struggled with some health issues the cancer has produced and is not out of the woods yet. You can read about her status on her blog:

It's another story in the long line of stories about how fragile life can be. Here is a super trained, super talented and fiercely competitive athlete. One day she is a champion and the next day she is struggling to survive. I believe her strength will save her and get her back into racing but in the meantime, we can all help with her healing by praying.

And when you get up the next morning, think about Jamie but think about your own life as well. How would you live it differently if you knew you were going to be sick? Would you be more aware of your surroundings? The people you love? Would you finally sign up for that triathlon you have always dreamed of? Would you finally take that bike ride you have been talking about since New Year's Day? Better yet, wake up and think healthy. Think positive thoughts and be what you have always wanted to be. You will be rewarded. Just don't forget to pray for Jamie, your family and yourself.

September 13, 2008

Ride Like a Champion

The alarm went off at 6:20 this morning. The tentative plan was to ride trails up in Ringwood, NJ. There is some great, technical stuff up there for mountain bikers. But it rained all night and with that, you knew it was going to be slippery with the rocks making it a challenge. Plus my heart wasn't in it. After waking up and texting back and forth to my fellow riders, we decided to stay in bed.

But the garbage had to be put out, then the dog needed to go out and once I am up I just can't seem to fall asleep again. So I laid there with that work out anxiety that I often get when I haven't worked out in awhile. It's that overwhelming, nervous feeling triathletes often get. I did run yeterday but I needed to ride. The road was calling.

Outside, the sun was struggling to come out but it was going to get there. You could tell. It was shaping up to be a great day. Bending over to pump air into my tires, I noticed my IM sticker on the bumber of my car. And it gave me a boost. I tapped it like the Notre Dame football players tap the Play Like a Champion sign on their way out to the field. I was ready to go.

I ended up riding 33 miles. Much more than I anticipated thanks to getting lost because of a detour. But sometimes getting lost can be fun. Like in the woods when you discover new trails, discovering new roads is just as nice.

September 12, 2008

September 11

One day late....

There was a building
It was my building
and it was a football field from the south tower
There was a desk
my desk where I sat on a beautiful sunny morning
There was the sound
nothing more than a sonic boom
There were the debris
falling from the sky
sheets of metal and images
too hard to describe
There was a second sound
this one louder and
more frightening
There was this moment whatever it was
it was real and it was just beginning
There were these stairs
where we were asked to climb down
There was the confusion all around
the images that won't go away
There is this day
a day to remember all those I passed
the day before and the morning of
There is this day
that no one can forget
but all wish we could
There is this day and
I wish there never was.