These days, we live in a society that seems to be lacking (among other things) a strong sense of gratitude. Far too many have become spoiled, and assuming. But not here.
On Saturday October 29th, I will have the honor of competing in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in St. George, Utah. Though I had to individually qualify for the event, it has been FAR from an individual journey that put me there. Thank you for taking a moment to read through my humble words of sincere appreciation for those who made this completely unanticipated series of events possible.
First and foremost to my Wife Shari, a decade ago You encouraged me to come out of 25 years of bike racing retirement, and the immediate result was back-to-back Cherry Roubaix victories, including a 2012 State Road Race Championship, and the 2013 Red Jersey as the overall winner. You are my Biggest Fan, my Perfect Partner, and I love my life with You.
To my Mom and Dad, and my grandparents, thank you for this extraordinary genetic profile that has benefited me in more ways than I can count. And thank you for putting up with my infinite list of idiosyncrasies, challenges and tribulations. I may not have been easy, but I am absolutely grateful. And specifically to my Dad, who gave me endless opportunities to participate in every conceivable sport, pushing none yet encouraging all. You, above all others, are the primary reason that even today at my advanced age, no matter the sport, I’d rather be playing than watching. I wish you could have seen all of this, but you will be with me on Saturday.
To my children Kyle and Danielle, and their spouses Kayti and Samuel, Ironman Michigan was obviously a good day, but having all of you there along with Shari and Carl made it a great day! We were Team Ironman, and your faces and voices absolutely helped to put me on the podium. I am very proud and grateful to be your Father.
To the city of Flint MI – In addition to the annual Olympian Games and CANUSA Games, the Community School Directors program gave us open gyms in all of our neighborhood schools four nights a week plus Saturdays. Your commitment to us created an entire generation of kids who enthusiastically embraced virtually every possible physical activity, resulting in a long list of outstanding athletes from Flint who went out to take on the world in practically every sport imaginable. Those youth sport and open gym days may be long past, but they are not forgotten.
To Jack Marlette, my Flint Northern HS Swim Coach. You took a lost, insecure sophomore, and over the course of three years turned me into a swimmer. I hope my letter to you last year adequately conveyed just how much You and Your Team changed my life.
To my late stepfather Elie Moynet, you embraced my Mom, saved our family, and along the way introduced me to the community of French cycling. My motivation and my fitness (and wardrobe) were never the same after that. I miss you.
To the MSU Human Performance Lab – The tortuous (often to complete physical exhaustion) regimen of testing, filming, analysis, prodding and even poking, provided a scientific basis and plan for my then and future endeavors as a cyclist. I’ll never know whether your selection of me for all of that special attention was truly due to my being “elite,” or simply because I was willing to engage in serious suffering so you could collect sweat, respiratory gases, urine, blood and even muscle tissue. I still have the trocar scar on my thigh.
To Lee Frantz, my cycling Brother from Flint. You have had more to do with my cycling knowledge and success than any other individual. You gave me my nickname “Monstergear” that I still proudly embody today. You have always been, and will always be my favorite individual with whom to ride, and though we have been physically separated by circumstances and geography, you remain my most trusted cycling advisor.
To my first wife Leslie who gave us two amazing children. From the day we met, through all of our years together, you were always supportive of my time and efforts in the gym, in the water and especially on the bike. I’m so glad that you were there for the wins at the Cereal City Classic and Thunder Thighs Thirty.
To the Wisconsin Rapids Boys – Tim, Charlie and Tom. Though I was a complete outsider, you immediately welcomed me as one of your own. Never has so much suffering been so much fun, and you guys made me a better man in more ways than one. You have been, and will always be, my favorite Group Ride.
To Scott and Steve – Our friendship has lasted many decades and you have come to be my two closest friends. Though your knowledge and understanding of my endeavors is often limited, your support and encouragement has always been limitless. Thank you Gentlemen!
To Mark Gerlando of Ride Science, several decades of successful cycling led me to believe my position was perfectly fine… and man was I wrong! Your fitting expertise launched me into a whole new phase of fast time on my bike. Your attention to detail and routine “tweaks” not only helped me to qualify (which you predicted!), but is also sending me to St. George with confidence, even though I’ll be riding a bike I’ve never raced on a course I’ve never ridden. Our entire TC cycling community is fortunate to have you here.
To Allison, my LLM Massage Therapist, no matter how badly my fiercely intense workouts manage to tear my body completely down, you always manage to somehow put me back together. You are an angel.
To my Tri Again Fitness family/team – You took an aging cyclist who was a committed “One and Done,” just wanting to see what doing a triathlon was like… and turned me into a triathlete! As a result, the TAF kit will be on the course Saturday at the Ironman 70.3 Worlds. We are headed to St. George people, and I’m taking each and every one of you with me in mind, body and spirit.
Finally, again to my wife Shari, I have to open and close with You. Mere words cannot adequately convey my appreciation for the support, intellect, encouragement, passion, patience and commitment You have demonstrated every single day for over 11 years. Next Saturday is but one of the innumerable things I could never have accomplished without You. Through Your efforts involving our friends, families, and each other, we have achieved genuine Oneness, and little else matters beyond that. Regardless of what happens at Worlds, afterwards we will return home and continue on with our life together. That is Victory!
Again, thank you one and all for being such a huge part of my blessed life. Your time and attention has been incomparable, and you have my deepest and most sincere gratitude.