Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Be bold... Live life fully... Have adventures.

Riding with Tim as we finish up Day 1 of the Undefeated

As I continue to iron out my plans for the summer, I can say without a doubt I'm most looking forward to riding with my friend Tim Brown. It was three years ago, on February 3rd, 2011, (the same day Will turned 12), that Tim lost both legs and an arm to an IED blast in Afghanistan. Tough stuff. His life was forever changed that day in February -- the day he defied death -- as it does for all of our wounded warriors. I don't know anyone with as much focus, grit, determination and courage as Tim. I saw his undeniable strength in action as we climbed Torrey Pines near the end of our Undefeated Ride last October -- and he has reminded me every day since not to take my own strength and ability for granted.

Lately it seems like every time I send him a text message, I'm catching him at an airport heading off somewhere. (The minute he reads this he's going to laugh and nod his head). Whether he's on a mountain bike trip with Ride to Recovery, or competing in the Melbourne Marathon, (where he claims his time was "crap"), or flying out to Crested Butte for a weekend of skiing, you can be certain that nothing is going to slow him down. He truly lives life to the fullest. It won't surprise him to know how much I admire him, how he inspires me, and how much I value our friendship.

When I first learned fellow Vanderkitten VIP athlete Joan Deitchman was forming a crew for her solo effort in the 2014 Race Across America, I called Tim to hear what his thoughts were of me possibly joining Joan's crew. RAAM is one of the most grueling endurance events in the world, and the opportunity to participate with Joan is an exciting one. (While I won't be on the bike in this event, being a part of a RAAM crew is no easy task.) Tim completed the race last year as a member of an 8-man relay team with other wounded servicemen from Walter Reed Bethesda, and knows firsthand what is involved and how tough it's going to be. He expressed his full confidence that I'd be up for the challenge, and hearing that meant a lot to me. I'm thrilled to be joining Joan's crew.

RAAM will now postpone the plans Tim and I made to get together in May, (I had planned to head down to Maryland for some training rides), but he's coming up this way in April for the Boston Marathon with Team Achilles Freedom. (Yaaaay!!) I'm hoping we can ride together while he's here, if the snow ever melts, and I'll try to get down to Maryland this summer. We have an Undefeated EOD ride to train for!