Friday, May 27, 2011

My Amazing Husband (Part 8?)

I know I write a lot about how amazing my husband is.  But the thing is, he really is THAT amazing!  And I keep learning more amazing things about him all the time.  We've been together for over ten years now, and I still don't know everything about his life pre-Mara.

This poster has absolutely nothing to do with anything.  I just think it's cool.

For example: the other night we were watching the recent 60 Minutes episode about Lance Armstrong's alleged drug use, as told by his former teammate Tyler Hamilton.  Some of you may know that John was a professional cyclist in a past life, but you might not have known he actually raced with Tyler Hamilton back when he was 17 or 18.  I remember several conversations over the years in which friends asked John if he thought Lance had used drugs, and John, always diplomatic, would say that he didn't know for sure, but he suspected it.  After all, one of the reasons John left cycling and went to college was because he was being pressured to use EPO.  (He also had the foresight, even then, to know that a professional cycling career could only last so long.)

This is also irrelevant.  But aren't vintage bike posters awesome?

While we were watching the show, poor John had to keep pausing it so I could ask him a million questions about cycling and his own experiences.  I had no idea his first race ever was the Junior National Championships when he was 14.  He placed around 20th with his "not-at-all-fancy aluminum Cannondale road bike with clip-on aero bars."  His second race ever was also his first mass-start race.  He placed first out of 100.  He went on to win the California State Championship in 1995 and got 5th place at the Junior National Championship.  In 1996 he placed 3rd at Junior Nationals and was selected for the Junior National Team.
After training and racing for a year, John was in a bad cycling accident in April of 1998.  He lost his four front teeth and a lot of his face (thank goodness for dental implants and plastic surgery!).  During that time John was under a lot of pressure to use EPO (they actually wanted him to get it from his dad, who had access as a veterinarian).  He later got 5th at National Championships and went on to join the "real" U.S. Cycling Team.  I'm going to quote the next part because it's pretty funny:
"July - more pro-circuit racing in Wisconsin. This is the month that Derek and I floated from hotel to hotel (including the one with the crack pipe between the sheets)."
In 1999 John started college at Davis, did one race, and hasn't raced since.  I would be sad at the waste of talent, except if he hadn't given up cycling, I never would have met him!  Besides, he's not exactly retired as an athlete.

I know, I know.  But it has a greyhound AND a bike!

This weekend John is off in California, doing some ridiculous training exercise with his coach.  John is sponsored by Vespa, which some of you have probably heard me describe as "wasp extract." I'm a little skeptical of the whole thing, but as my dear husband pointed out last week, "Wasps have been eating it for thousands of years." 'Twere John a wasp, I'm sure I would be much relieved.  He's going to be running 52 miles Saturday, 19 Sunday, and 38 Monday, for a total of a whole lot of miles. Western States is in three weeks (eek!) so hopefully John survives his training and doesn't come home to me even skinner than he already is.
So, to sum up, I just wanted to say (yet again) how proud I am of my amazing husband.  Thank you all for bearing with me.

(Come on, the bike posters made it all worth it, didn't they?)


Mer! said...

That is SO cool about all his cycling accomplishments. Ok, I admit it i've always wanted to ask more questinos about his cycling, but then I would be even more of a bike-dork and you'd have to drag me out the door to go shopping :). Hehe.

Every time someone talks about doping..I don't use his name but I always tell them about John and how his coach told him "you are really good, but to be really great....." enter: move. I'm not sure the foreign service has dopers so John wouldn't have stood a chance. Just another amazing fact about John: he's smart and avoids sketchy situations. Except running 100 miles. That's sketch, but he's good at it :)

My feet hurt thinking of his run...but you're so good to support him Mar!!! You guys are supportive of one another=makes everyone happy!

Mer! said...

PS: can't beat a greyhound AND a bike!!

Mara Rae said...

lol mer, john was like, "no one wants to hear about this," and i was like, "mer does!" figured you'd appreciate all that bike stuff. john was telling me a story of how he was in a race with tyler and tyler just smoked everyone, and john thought "i'll never be that fast." turns out that was the year he started doping. :P

taffy123 said...

I am glad he switched to a safer (if also totally insane) sport. My friend Nikki is a competitive biker and after she told me something along the lines of biking clothes needing to be made a certain way so that "when they cut them off of you at the hospital they don't stick to the blood" that was kind of enough for me! And the posters relate, they're of bikes!

Anonymous said...

When I first read John is being sponsored by Vespa, I thought you meant the Italian scooter company. Strange fit for long-distance running, I know, but you'd look so cute on a Vespa!
Great job, John, and great job you for supporting him so much.
- Eliz

Sarah said...

Great post, Mar! It's cool to hear more about John's cycling background - I was just talking about him yesterday and casually mentioned that he was on the US Cycling Team, but that's all I really knew about it! Hope is training is going well. Love you!

Shauna said...

I love that you write about your amazing husband, because you two are both amazing and your love is inspiring :)I hope to have a marriage like you guys! Not to mention the things he does is pretty freakin cool and fasinating to read about. And I dig the posters too :) Love you!!

Shauna said...

The first poster is my fave.

Mara Rae said...

Shauna - I was going to ask if it was because she has red hair, but then I realized they all have red hair! :)