I just returned from my good friend, Andrew Murphy's, graduation party. Andrew is an incredible guy. I've known him for three years now, and I've never seen him anything other than happy, upbeat, and laughing. When left to my own devices I can become fairly negative fairly quickly so I always enjoy spending time with Andrew. It didn't hit me until I was walking home from the party alone, but Andrew is graduating college and moving onto the real world. It seems like a big step, and Murphy leaving seems like a big step as well. Andrew is the kind of guy that definitely brings people together. He's all about friends, and having a good time with his friends. Anytime I hang out with Andrew and his friends I feel like I'm hanging out with my brothers rather than a bunch of drunk college kids.
As I was walking home I was really realizing how much who I am around matters to me. It is not that I was having this epiphany that friends are important in life, but I was just seeing it differently. It is more important to me who I am with than what I am doing. As cliche as that sounds it just hit me really hard how important that sentiment is to me. Murphy loves bike racing, and he loves hearing about my races. I was thinking about it tonight and though and a lot of the fun in bike racing isn't going out and just riding hard. I enjoy that, but it is about being with a great group of people and doing what you want together.
As I was thinking about this I was thinking about my recent trip to New Mexico for Tour of the Gila. I had a solid ride there. Sometimes solid is good enough. However, sometimes solid falls to the wayside fairly quickly when there are so many people putting in spectacular rides. I kind of feel like my ride at Gila fell into this category. I felt like it was solid, but it is hard to be happy with solid when my peers are doing the spectacular. This may seem like a negative interpretation of the race, but what I realized tonight is that I don't care. What got me through that race, and what gets me to the next one is not results, but rather my great teammates. Every race I go to, I am excited to race, but usually more excited to see my teammates who have become some of my best friends. I sit around telling people I want to race professionally and this and that. I still feel that way. However, I think that if I had to race with people I did not like being around I would not enjoy racing. Maybe that seems black and white but I think it is important. If I had the choice of signing a six figure contract to race time trials all year or paying to race office park crits with some of my best friends, I would choose to race office park crits every time. Now maybe if I was actually faced with this decision I would crumble. But at least for a split second, while I type this, I am experiencing a moment of clarity where I am letting go of the pressure to chase a pro contract and embracing the moments I am experiencing right now.
I am sure my message did not come through totally clear in my myriad of words above, but the point is clear to me. Thank you Andrew for all the good times, we'll miss you.