The Paralympic games have come and gone, and I will forever be a Paralympian and Bronze medalist of the London 2012 games. I could have never prepared myself for what it would mean to be a part of such an amazing sporting event. From the moment I walked into the Paralympic Stadium to the roar of 80,000 supporters, the Games surpassed my wildest visions. Days later, circling the velodrome in celebration of our Team Sprint Bronze medal ride, I was overwhelmed with emotion. Rather than tears though it was pure joy as I pumped my fist and screamed out to my family, friends and teammates scattered about the 250 meter circumference of the track. Later in the week, cresting a hill in the road race, my competitors and I were immediately confronted by a helicopter hovering just above our heads as a film crew captured every minute of our race. It was as if I had been transplanted into the middle of the pelaton in the Tour de France. In short, what I experienced in 10 days this September inLondonleft me with memories that can never be replaced.
If I am so fortunate to represent theUnited Statesat another games in the future, I still imagine that nothing will exceed the feelings captured in this: my first games. With that in mind I have been asked often in the past week, “So what aboutRio?” to which my response is “quite possible.”
The truth is that preparing and earning a start at the Paralympics is a game of perseverance, sacrifice and hard work like I have never known. My wife Sara, children, family and friends have given so much to make this happen. While my physical being has a burning desire to return and make amends with some of my performances during the games, I am confident that I have represented my country well and left a positive impact on my teammates, competitors and all those that took their time to cheer us on during the games.
At the moment my focus must drift from cycling and return once again to the task of raising and supporting my family. Over the years the “To Do List”, has grown to a page of small print. In our immediate future we need to find a place to make home, I need to establish a secure and dependable means of supporting my family, and we deeply desire to connect with new and old friends– investing in their lives as they have invested in ours.
The next six months will go a long way in helping Sara and I sort out where our path leads in the coming years. I will never stop racing my bike that is for certain. It courses through my veins too strongly to stop. However, so too does my desire to be a loving husband, a present father and a motivator of others to pursue a life without limitations.
Thus, we begin a new chapter: one that has me exploring new ways to provide for my family, expanding my being on and off the bike while giving thanks to the many ways I have been blessed beyond what I deserve.