Back in 2009, LA and I decided it was time to take our cycling to new heights. We began training to do the toughest Tour de France climbs. We worked our asses off. LA trained like he had some eligibility left. God had other plans. LA would die suddenly one month prior to our departure date. The dream was now a nightmare. What to do? Should we scrap the whole idea? Nope, Kitty (LA’s bride) would have none of it. She made “83” stickers for our helmets (LA’s Colorado number) and away we went. Wounded but still in the fight…

So, in the summer of 2009, Downer, Peteboy, Littlest, and I limped over to France to see what our old bodies could do. Result? The Alps kicked our ASS. Was the hardest thing I’d ever done, physically. Five years later, we went again. France II brought Blondie into the fold. Peteboy dropped. Durp took his place. We trained harder. Rode better. In 2019 we climbed the Alps again. Same core team of Blondie, Downer, Littlest, and me. This time Brett joined and Durp dropped. Miss and Andrew came too. Beautiful. Trained harder yet again. Rode better (most of us, that is, Downer got sick). You beginning to see a pattern?

2023 we go UP again. This time Marcus (mobility dude) is coming to serve as our SAG wagon and stretch machine. Littlest, Downer, Blondie and me are the core team. Fact. This time, Pj and Brother Mick are coming along. Miss, Andrew, Ek, Baby Aedan, Jordan, Krit, Josh, and even Tay are coming too. The family will not ride much but their presence will push me up each climb as if they have their hand on my back. Love does, you know.

I’m not the same man I was back at age 50. I’ve trained harder. My heart is softer. The Alps have not changed. They are the same. Beautiful and demanding. No guardrails. Steep. Green. Lush. Lovely. Relentlessly steep. They don’t care that I’m fourteen years older. Nor do I. You see, I’ve trained harder and my heart is fuller. I’m gonna kick those Alps in the ASS. In fact, in my mind, it’s already done. When it comes to chasing your dream, don’t expect it to get easier as you age. Expect it to get harder. Train accordingly. Train harder. I mean c’mon man don’t forget a little Lao Tzu – If you wish to be out front, then act as if you’re behind.

Harder. Softer. En brera. Let’s freakin’ go train, my friend. We are all wounded (deeply so). Let’s stay in the fight. Let’s get our ass kicked or kick ASS. Both are? Good…

Live hard. Love harder…

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