Yesterday I had a nice ride with Joe my teammate. we did a solid 3 hr's keeping the pace honest as Joe always does. as we came to the end of the ride i stopped by his place, he lives 2 miles away or so, and he gave me a team winter jacket. i was asked to be on his team over the early winter months. I won't mention the name yet due to certain reasons which you will soon find out. anyway its a pretty good semi pro team. and I was really honored to be asked to the team. it's an honor to be asked on any team. you remember the feeling when you got picked for a team in gym class, right? whether you were picked first or last you felt needed and wanted for at least that one moment. we stop and Joe gives me this jacket. "cool, thanks man" i said and I was off. the jacket it self is, well... poorly designed. thermal jacket like with wind proof nylon. sounds nice ehh. warm. well the pocket sucks. one zippered pocket. I find any thing in there. also the back is... not so insulated. and then, get this, the sleeves have no insulation, zero?! who the hell designed this thing!? what ever it's free and in team colors. And I am thankful for all my possesions so I’m happy. so I through this thing on and head home. after about 2 minutes i start to have this feeling of power and accomplishment come over me.
When I was in college I was on the crew team. a very small program we had, but tradition was already becoming engrained. there is an old tradition in rowing that you don't get a jacket for being on the team. One had to earn there jacket. the traditional rowing jacket is no fashion statement either but we wont get into that. earning this jacket varies from school to school, region to region but one thing is for sure earning anything from guys who are 6'4" and carved out of wood is no small thing. There is a whole other story here, a book really, but on the last day of practice I dragged my tired, beat up freshman ass down to our shack of a boat house. I walked in the door and all the senior guys were there. they all stopped and looked over at me. standing like red wood tree's all in there matching maroon and black crew jackets (I’m 5'10" by the by) Brian, the captain of the team, walked forward "hey EK" he troughs a jacket at me, "I found your jacket... long pause, you've earned it". the felling I got that day is one I will never forget, ever.
so back to today. I’m riding home and this whole story comes into my head. Shivers run through my body and I realize that although not in the same dramatic way, this event had just happened again. I went home changed some layers around on my upper body and went out for another 2 hr's. with, of course, the jacket on. I never felt so good. Thoughts of leading out my teammates up that last climb to the finish of the Jiminy Peak RR floated through my head. my pace would quicken. I would settle down after a bit but not for long. Another race and another scenario would pop into my head. I never felt so good. Today was the same. By my self, I woke up to snow. By after a slow morning I got out there, again with the jacket, by my self enjoying my health, the beauty and like my grand father taught me enjoying everything I have. I never felt so good.