Gratitude

Tomorrow’s Thanksgiving in the US. It’s a good day to enumerate and express what you’re grateful for. So, in no particular order, I am grateful for…

  • Mountain bikes. For about twelve years now, I’ve had one hobby. Or obsession. Whatever. I think about mountain biking every single day. When I am happy, mountain biking makes me happier. When I am sad, mountain biking helps me work out my problem. When I am angry, mountain biking gives me perspective. Mountain biking makes me strong. Mountain biking has taught me that I am not entirely without athletic ability. Mountain biking has taken me places that are less than ten miles away from where I live, but may as well be thousands.
  • Road bikes. I like road bikes, but not as much as mountain bikes. Except for when I’m on a road bike, at which point I like road bikes better. How is this possible? I do not know. It is quite a mystery. I intend to investigate further.
  • Hydraulic disc brakes. Using only two fingers’ worth of effort — and not even hard effort at that — I can completely negate the combined forces of gravity, my weight, and my momentum. How is this even possible? Is it dark magic?
  • 29″ wheels. I don’t crash nearly as often as I used to. Those big wheels like to roll over stuff, instead of getting stuck in it.
  • The core team. I’ve got a big group of friends. They’re very lucky to have me.
  • People who read what I write. Some people write for themselves. I am not one of those people. I don’t write anything unless I expect somebody’s going to read it and tell me they like it. Call me vain, call me an attention whore. This blog is an extremely important part of my life, but it wouldn’t be if you didn’t take the time to read it. Thanks.
  • Mashed Potatoes and Banana Cream Parfait. Thanksgiving gives me permission to make the two most comfortable comfort foods in the whole comfort universe: my mashed potatoes and banana cream parfait. You should make them too, and then you’ll be thankful that I gave you these recipes.
  • A good job. I’ve got a good, interesting job. I work with smart, kind-hearted people. My boss is exacting, yet understanding and appreciative. I’m in the catbird seat, employment-wise.
  • Family. Susan’s family and my family have really stepped up to the plate to help us out while we fight Susan’s cancer. They’ve reworked their schedules as necessary and have pitched in as if it were no inconvenience at all.
  • Neighbors. We live in a small — five houses — cul de sac. The people in this little neighborhood have taken over our carpool responsibilities, given Susan rides to countless doctor appointments, taken care of our kids, and been great friends to us.
  • A Cycling Industry That’s Ridiculously Easy to Make Fun of. Thanks WADA and UCI. Thanks, professional cyclists. Thanks, crazy guy who proposed the Tour of America.
  • Twin Six. A year ago, I had never heard of them, nor they of me. Now — while I still have never met them in person — they have designed and produced two incredible jerseys (one of which appeared on the cover of Bicycling Magazine), a t-shirt, and two different socks for me. Together, we have raised enough money that Susan’s medical expenses aren’t a burden on my family, and have donated thousands of dollars to the Lance Armstrong Foundation.
  • Lance Armstrong Foundation. I don’t care much anymore about Lance’s cycling accomplishments, and I for sure don’t care about his personal life. His foundation does a tremendous amount of good for a tremendous number of people. He turned a near-fatal disease into a life’s mission, and has succeeded wildly. He is a true hero for that.
  • Singlespeeds. I love singlespeed mountain biking for all the reasons I love mountain biking, and then some. I especially love my WaltWorks. Thanks, Walt.
  • The Mary Bar. Since I’ve started riding with this bar, the numbness I get in my right hand during a long ride has practically vanished. It’s a wacky-looking bar, but I’m going to put it on every MTB I own from now on.
  • The iPod Shuffle. For $80, you can have a clip-on music player that will hold more music and play longer than pretty much any ride requires.
  • 4 really great kids. All four of my kids are healthy, smart, funny, and kind. I’m a lucky dad.
  • Alpine, Utah. There might be better places in the world to be a mountain and road cyclist, but I doubt it.
  • Sleep. I had a good night’s sleep last night. First one in about five days. At this moment, I’m very thankful for sleep.
  • Steel-Cut Oats. I’ve always liked oatmeal, but I’ve only recently discovered steel-cut oats. Somehow — even though they’re the same thing, just processed differently — they’re twice as good. Chewy instead of pasty. I only wish they didn’t take so long to prepare.
  • The means and expertise to fight cancer. I’ve griped a lot about doctors recently, but apart from one particular instance, we really have had great medical care. I’m thankful science has advanced far enough that we can at least fight back cancer for now, and am very thankful for the people who are doing everything they can to find a cure in the future.
  • Tibble Fork. I really love that trail. Really, really love it.
  • Susan. Susan and I married 3.5 months after we met. We’ve now been married 19 years. I stumbled into a great marriage, and I’m very, very thankful for that.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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