28 July 2010

Like all good things

As if on cue, I managed to destroy my only pair of this year's team bibs just before my planned final race of the season, the Lost River Classic. The team did a great job hosting the race, and I won't pretend to take any of the credit for its success. Also, big up to "sig." for a well-earned top ten.

My first impulse is to call this season a disappointment. I felt my form improving coming out of the collegiate season, and I anticipated at least a few strong results over the summer. In the end, the only results I'll even happily claim are 10th, 15th, and 20th place finishes at Poolesville, Washington County RR, and Reston, respectively. This season wasn't a disappointment; it was an important learning experience. And for those who don't understand, and ask, "did you have fun?" Short answer, yes, long answer, of course not.

I've got good sensations about my medium-term future in bike racing, especially when it comes to being a part of a team, rather than simply wearing a team's kit when I ride and race. DoJ doesn't just mean Department of Justice.

In the meantime, I've got other things to finish off. In four weeks, I'll be finished with my last requirement in my MA program. Somehow, I totally lucked out, and my last course is War & Conflict in Africa. Being in class is like rubbing my face in a bowl of candy while intravenously consuming pistachio pudding. Absolutely euphoric. If you work for an organization that has even as much as a finger in this field, please, please hire me.

Listening to Neon Bible. Praying the road rash goes away before my one week off-season is over.

01 July 2010

Sen. Byrd

This morning, I found myself in the gallery of the United States Senate. On any other day, this would be an uneventful experience. The old adage goes, "if you see two Representatives on the floor of the House, that's one more than usual; if you see two Senators on the floor of the Senate, that's two more than usual." Not today. From ten to four, the Senate held its first lying in repose ceremony in over fifty years.

Robert Byrd was a man of many--often changing--hats. He was a damn good fiddle player, dedicated historian, passionate friend, and reformed racist. This morning, the late Senator was also the reason the old adage was broken. As I sat in the gallery, I saw Senators new, old, retired, and voted out of office, waiting in a receiving line to greet the Byrd family. I'm thankful that my experience with funerals is very limited, but in that experience, I've never seen such a joyous bunch commemorate the passing of a friend, colleague, and family patriarch. The Senators in line were patiently joking around with one another, no doubt sharing their own stories about the Dean of the Senate. The prevailing emotion for the Byrd clan was also joy; they seemed to be there to celebrate their fallen patriarch, having completed the mourning process during the Senator's last days, weeks, and months. It was a beautiful and surreal moment, and I'm confident I'll never experience anything like it again.

Go out and do things--even if you find out they're the wrong things down the road--that bring people to celebrate your life once it's over. Bike racing is wonderful and rewarding, and might give us a few minutes or hours of purpose every day, but it's important to find the things that hold meaning and give purpose to those around and after you. Find those things. Do them.