12.06.2006

inspiration can come from everyday people all around us...

this morning as I returned from a short frost filled hike with my black dog brutus I stalled as I waited for the road to be clear of speeding traffic

as I waited I did a little dance of taking a step forward then taking a step back as things would be clear of uphill traffic, but not of downhill traffic
then vice versa
it is an anxious game of hokey pokey that the dog just does not understand

just as things were clear of cars I waited as a bicycle commuter came spinning up the hill in front of me
even through the balaclava I was able to make out the female form
it was a friend from the local mountain bike race circuit, Libbey Sheldon

over the years I have come to know Libbey and her husband Chris from the parking lots of various races
the exchanges are always friendly as chat in the parking lots before and after various events
we share anecdotes of the trails
and
we learn about each other's lives in incremental tid bits

Chris and Libbey are a mountain biking couple
but beyond their love for the bicycle and their faithful year round commutes Chris and Libbey are parents
they are parents of four boys

Chris and Libbey like so many mountain bike parents are forced to struggle and balance their love for cycling and their devotion to their children
things have been especially tough in the last few years
as their youngest son came on the scene with little warning
Libbey was riding and racing at the highest level she had ever achieved
Libbey was enjoying trips to Colorado for the Leadville 100 and was looking forward to another strong finish at the Shenadoah Mountain 100 when she did not feel that her strength was where it should be
so she went to the doctor have things checked out
that is when she learned that she was pregnant

it has now been a year since the birth of their fourth son, Malachi
which means that they are going through what all that people go through with raising a one year old child... the sleepless nights... the feedings... the miracle of life and the endless flow of dirty diapers
all of this in addition to the demands of their three older boys
which has caused Libbey to lessen her focus on racing
ah... that balance of life

Libbey and Chris are still on their bikes
I know this because I see each of them at different times on their various bikes riding up or down the hill in front of my house
but... it has been a while since I have seen them at the races
which is not to say that they are not racing as I do not attend each and every race offered in the Mid-Atlantic
but from what I gathered in my short exchange with Libbey this morning is the the focus on racing was removed from her life for since the pregnancy diagnosis
hopefully as the wee one turns one things get to be a tad more manageable and they can get back out to the races
but I am sure that there are kids soccer games, kids birthday parties, homework, and colds
all those things that kids bring to the equation

in my world there are only two young boys
at times we feel overwhelmed
I gave up on trying to train long ago
but I try to keep a balance
I want to go to the kids birthday parties and I want to go to the races
sometimes the birthday party takes priority
these are the choices that we make when we decide to be parents

to see Chris and Libbey out on their bikes commuting is inspirational
to see them out racing is an even more encouraging
in the parking lots it is not always just Chris and Libbey
they usually bring their kids to the events
as they are not just a mountain biking couple
they are a mountain biking family

I expect to see their kids out at the races in their bikes and out on the courses in the years to come



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