This is a shameless attempt to save the the most advanced civilization in
history from imminent self destruction by eliminating carbon emission,
dependence on foreign sources of fuel,obesity, hypertension and diabetes.
Cycling accomplishes all those things at once and helps us develop a better
understanding of ourselves, each other and our relationship to the cosmos.

Oh, horse puckey!
I like to ride bikes, have been doing it all my life.
The rest of that crap is just a fringe benefit,
and the blogosphere gives me a chance to share my interior
monologue with virtual rather than imaginary friends.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Refreshing Racer

      Last night I was given a refreshing look at the world of bike racing. Competitive sports is a naturally egotistical process.   One reason I admire Lance Armstrong is that he consistently champions the cause of cancer research and survival. It's a rare thing to find a professional athlete who thinks of anything beyond himself. Last night Chris Gottwald was the guest speaker at our monthly club meeting.

       Chris is a 40 year old pilot and veteran road/criterium racer who has placed  highly in the RAAM (Race across America the past four years. There were a lot of interesting questions and stories about the 3000 mile race which Chris completed solo in 9 days 18 hours and 50 minutes.  The refreshing parts of Chris's story were the reasons he raced.  He admitted he had never thought of or considered endurance racing until he came home one evening and his wife "reminded" him a 24hour Challenge was being held in nearby Grand Rapids one weekend. He responded with "So?" To which she replied that she had registered him to participate. That experience led him to participation in RAAM and place second in team competition qualifying  him for the individual competition.  Despite his success and the aggressive "encouragement" from his wife, he refuses to race without raising money for charity.
     Chris has insisted upon taking sponsorships for charities each of the 4 times he has tortured himself with the endurance test.  He has raised money for Big Brothers/Big Sisters in the past and is now raising money for Activewater.  Activewater is a non-profit organization based in Southwest Michigan which is attempting to help impoverished communities in the world gain access to clean drinking water.  Chris summed up his feelings by saying "It is pretty easy to be uncomfortable for 10 days when you realize a child somewhere is dying every 15 minutes from the water they drink."
     It's also pretty easy to admire a racer who thinks there is something more important than themselves and who they defeated.

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