Brian reminds me of my Dad. It is funny because he is a fire fighter just like my Dad was for 30+ years. The major difference.....his interest in bikes. I have been chasing you for two years now. I keep getting a little closer every year....but that motivation is enough to keep my trying. Last year we had a group ride at Luton. We were riding really tight together with Lisa. I was feeling pretty good and was pushing Brian a bit. He missed a corner just by a bit and I was able to pass him...for the first time! It has been a lot of fun chasing you around. I am sad to hear that Brian will be having some surgery soon and will miss a few months (potentially) from the bike. This means two things.....I might be faster than Brian for a short time....and I better get in gear because he was faster than me while riding with an injury. Brian, Thank you for being a good friend and teammate. I have enjoyed getting to know you and your awesome family for the past few years. It has been fun suffering with you on training rides and laughing like crazy after races. I look forward to you getting healed up and riding 100% again.
On one of the first training rides I was ever on with this team....Dan was there. He approached me when i was getting ready and said "do you understand how fast you are going to be when you lose the weight?". I didn't take offense to this at all....I instantly started thinking about the potential I had. Dan saw it....and he was giving me the push to get thinner and see how fast I could get. Unfortunetly it hasn't panned out yet...but this is the year that we finally get the answer. We have ridden a lot together over the last two years. Two different century rides. Lots of Barry Roubaix rides. The one that sticks out the most may have been the shortest. I started the Custer TT and was pulling away from the guy I started with. I heard a rider coming and it was Dan T. on his SS. I was redlining and he was talking to me about pacing. I remember his saying "don't do anything stupid" and peeling off to go start his race. Dan, Thank you for helping me see what I was capable of even though I didn't see it myself. My promise to you is to get lighter and see just how fast I can get on a bike. I look forward to riding and having all kinds of humor whenever we are together.
Before I was ever on the team Dave found a way to try to get me faster. On a group ride at Custer one Thursday I heard "Sean, lets go....you aren't going to get any faster sitting in the parking lot". I turned myself inside out that day trying to keep up....to no avail.....but I tried. Just a few days ago Dave told me to "get my ass on that bike". I don't want to say that I am afraid of Dave....but I have tons of respect for Dave. I would like to have the drive and skill set that Dave has and maybe one day be able to keep up with him. On a century ride last year Dave was pulling the group along. He peeled off to take a brake and let someone else do the pace setting. Within a few minutes he was passing me and heading back to the front because the pace was too slow. Ha....he didn't need a break....he just wanted to GO! Dave, Thank you for being a steady teammate and friend. You always encourage me with just the right amount of anger to make me want to not disappoint you. It has been a pleasure riding, racing and just having a good time with you.
Lisa is the most steady person I know. She loves to ride and has had a lot of obstacles just like the rest of us. She has always just been even keeled. She gave me a workout video because she felt like I could use it. I have used it....a few times....but uh...I am going to utilize it more this year. On a training ride for Iceman last year I rolled up to a stop sign....and promptly fell over because I couldn't unclip. It would have been very easy for Lisa to laugh....instead she just stated "it happens to everyone" and off we went for the rest of our ride. She has offered me encouragement every step of the way. She was waited for me countless times during training rides....offering tips and company. Lisa, thank you for being awesome. You always seem to know how to motivate and encourage everyone on our team. It was fun riding with you and hanging out at your Aunts pool afterwards. It has been fun kid.
Summer is a trader. She was offered a pretty sweet deal to ride for another team in 2013. Doesn't really surprise me though....she is an animal. I watched her pull a tag along that had a burly hooked to it around Fort Custer....and not on the pavement or gravel roads...but down the trail. The "mommy train" as it was affectionately called was quite a sight to see. Not only would Summer pull the kids around for a while...but then I would watch her disappear about 20 yards down the trail. Yes...she would pull the kids...and still have enough power to leave me behind. I witnessed Summer go right to the podium on a number of occasions. Summer, thank you for showing me that what seems impossible can be possible.
Mark and I haven't ridden together much...maybe once or twice. All I know is that he is an ANIMAL. At Yankee last year he did the race twice and then rode his bike home. I feel like death when I finish a race.....and he was fresh enough to ride home after two events. Mark gave me a great deal on a set of Mavic Crossmax wheels for my Epic and I am still trying to do them justice. Even an injury didn't slow Mark down much last year. Mark, thank you for the deal. Thank you for showing me that slowing down is never an option. I hope to ride with you more this year...and to do my best to keep up!
Jay is like my brother on the team. We rode a lot of training rides together last year. It was fun getting to know Jay and watching him get much faster. It wasn't fun watching him disappear over hills on Barry Roubaix....but it was cool watching a teammate get faster. We rode in a lot of conditions last year. The worst was a blizzard. It started snowing so hard on the last 5 miles of the ride that I couldn't even see his tire tracks. I had a blanket of snow on my front side when that ride ended. Tons of fun! Jay has always offered me encouragement. He has drug me around on training rides and waited for me countless times. 70 miles of Kal-Haven with temps in the 100's or a ride around Fort Custer....always fun. Jay, Thank you for being a good friend and teammate. It was awesome riding with you this past year. I hope to see the same sort of increase in speed that you saw this year. Thanks for giving me encouragement and for all the miles together last year.
The fearless leader. Dan was one of the first to encourage me to join the team on a Barry Roubaix training ride. He promised to wait up for me because I knew I would struggle. He did and would not let me apologize for holding him up. Dan just flat out loves to ride. Fast, slow, hills, road, centuries, raging blizzards.....Dan and I have ridden them all together. One highlight from last year was the Custer TT. We lined up together at the start line. His exact words to me were "I am just going to cruise the first part".....but when the timer said go....he hammered the first pedal stroke and had a gap on me right away. I kept him in sight for about the first 1/2 mile and then never saw him again. Dan is the guy that drags my ass off the couch and makes me ride. He knows I will be slow and he just doesn't care....he just wants to ride and see other people ride. The major highlight from last year was watching Dan disappear during the last 10 miles of a century ride. He was cramping terribly but kept riding....and dropped me....my Hero. Dan, thank you for allowing me to be part of your team. It has been a fantastic two years and I know this year will be just as awesome. It has been a blast racing with you and riding in every condition from 100 searing heat to 20 degree blizzards. Thank you for making me go out and making me accomplish things that I normally would never even try. I rode more 50+ rides with you this year than I have in the past 3 years combined. Thank you for having a great team and an awesome family. I look forward to riding with you this year and eventually catching you....maybe.....
Always my biggest fan. Chelle comes to the races to take pictures of the team and scream for me to ride faster. Chelle always wants me to ride because she knows that it helps me keep my sanity. She would ride too...but bad wrists and a twice broken tail bone make it nearly impossible. I wish she could...but she has fun being drug to races and cheering me on. The team certainly helps that situation. Michelle, thank you for being you. You have gone behind my back with Dan S. to get me a road bike and you have always reminded me that I am better than I give myself credit for. Without you I wouldn't be able to do the things I do. I love you so much.
These people are ones that get glazed over the most. My 4 kids put up with my crazy sport. Some of them like to ride...some of them don't. Some of them like to come to races....some don't. All I know is that my kids are good sports for coming to the races and even joining in on occasion. Thankfully the promoters make it fun and the team loves you guys just as much as I do. My in-laws even come out to the races to cheer us on. It makes it a lot more fun when everyone is there and I don't feel so guilty for racing. To my family, Thank you guys so much for dealing with the sport that I love. It makes me very happy to see you guys on your bikes or asking to go on a ride. I know I take time to ride for myself but I need you to understand that I will go crazy if I don't. I promise to take you guys more and we will always have fun whether it is riding a bike or playing dominoes after dinner. I am glad that you guys can experience racing and the biking culture with me. I would rather have us on our bikes than playing Xbox or joining eating contests.
I know I have left a few other teammates out....but you guys know that I love the entire team. Each of you has been a part of my life, and my family, for the past two years. I look forward to a great year with many miles and tons of laughter. Lets make it a good year!