In 2004, I suddenly was devastated by an unknown illness that broke me down so substantially that I had lost 60 lbs in three weeks. Luckily I was a basketball player then and weighed a healthy 40 lbs. more than I do now. I remember at the peak of my illness, clutching my mother for fear of the mystery consuming my body and of the psychotic dreams from sleep deprivation amongst every other symptom in the book. With the strength of my mother's nurturing when things were amuck, I vowed that if I ever made it, I'd go wherever I thought I should be. That place was Colorado. I had never been there and didn't know a soul in the state, but there were so many arrows pointing me in that direction like a compass of life.
That summer, I arrived in Denver and I cleaned off the spider webs from my brother's mountain bike and took it for a spin up White Ranch. It was the first time in months that my heart had experienced more than 120 beats per minute. I was in such fragile shape and during the ride, I felt like a 300 lb. human was stepping on my chest with high heels while I gasped for thin air through a paper bag. I quit the ride after half a mile. Frustrated by defeat, I went home damaged, but like all endurance athletes, there was something that spoke and told me to go back for more. That voice still exists, but is only louder, clearer, and sometimes obnoxious and relentless but necessary.
Back at Lair O' the Bear the other day, all this was pondered within a few corners. I realized that since overcoming the sickest of days, things are not only coming together, but I'm just getting started. From the half mile sufferfest at White Ranch to my most recent Front Range Superloop I will never forget where it all started. Thank you mom for giving me the strength to keep going!
Here are some pics that make all of the pain well worth it....
Thanks for reading and see you on the trails,