18 November 2005


The silly season isn't quite over, but thankfully things have settled down a bit for me. It's mid-November, and teams and riders and companies are announcing plans for 2006 … wait, did I type that right? 2006?!

Next year will be a pretty interesting one for me. Next May marks 10 years -- an entire decade! -- of being married to my wonderful wife, Kim. It's crazy to think how much has changed since that hot, muggy day so long ago in Woodstock, but I'm happy to say that we're going strong and are very happy!

Later that month, the venerable Snake Alley Criterium will mark the 5th anniversary of my racing life. I did Downers Grove as a Citizen in 2000, but the Snake was my first race with a license … hard to believe that was 2001, before the world changed into what it is today.

Three weeks later, I get to celebrate another milestone -- 8 years smoke-free! I locked myself in our apartment, armed only with cinnamon sticks and videos of World Cup soccer from France, and emerged three days later a nicotine-free, new man. Although I slipped up once about a month later, I have now spent the rest of the time staying away from smoking!

To commemorate these events, there will be several changes to my schedule next season. First, I will be taking some time off, away from the bike -- not once, but twice! The first will come in late June, when Kim and I will go to Germany to experience the World Cup first-hand … I was able to secure tickets in a lottery for a first-round game in Leipzig. We have no idea who we'll see play, but does it really matter?

The second will be the first weekend in October, when we will pay a short visit to the B&B where we honeymooned, just outside of Gettysburg. This will be our official 10-year anniversary celebration, since the actual May timeframe was looking to be a bit over-booked …

And to celebrate my half-decade of racing? I've decided to completely change my focus! For the past five years, I've been racing on the road nearly every weekend, approaching 80 race days each in 2004 and 2005. I've achieved nearly all my once-seeming far-off goals, and with the change in the team's focus for next year, I have the chance to do something new …

… any guesses?

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