Had a fantastic ride in the wind today — wind that was stronger than any wind that I have ever ridden in. Looking at the weather reports, the wind was sustained at 25 mph with gusts up to 40 mph. To say I got blown all over the road would be an understatement. I wanted to ride 75 miles, but I had to change my priorities once I got started. My ride turned into a 3 hour battle with the wind that I fortunately won. But it wasn’t without a cost — I averaged 210+ watts over three hours for a whopping total of 40.0 miles. That’s right, I also averaged just over 14.5 mph over a course that I typically will average about 21.0 mph, even with the climbing. It was a tough day, but the ride was eclipsed in comparison to what my brother had to do today. There are things that are more important than running, cycling, and triathlon training tips afoot.
My Brother is Army Strong
Today my brother Jake, the same one whose Army Basic Training graduation I went to about a year ago, was deployed to Kandahar today. In every interview you read, Kandahar is still one of the more dangerous places in Afghanistan and I have to admit, I am really nervous for him and his safety. He will be there for a seven to nine month deployment and I gotta say I going to sweat it every day he is gone.
His wife is pregnant and due in June. He has two children, a boy and a girl who absolutely adore him. He is an amazing man. There are four brothers and a sister in our family, and he is by far the gentlest and kindest of us all. I would argue that he is the best of us all, and his sacrifice for our country is amazing. I pray I do not have to write the entry that I fear above everything else.
Before he left, he and I had a conversation where I told him that anytime he got in the crap and felt someone over his shoulder, know that he had the strength of his family behind him. My small gesture to always remember him was to get a RoadID that summarizes Psalms 91, “You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor the arrow that flies by day. It shall not come near you.”
Jake is about 11 years younger than me. Once when he was small, we were swimming at a neighbors pool and I saved him from drowning when he jumped in the water when nobody was watching. I saved his life then and the thing that scares me the most is there is nothing I can do for him there. I got to admit for the first time in my life, I am really scared. I like to have control over situations and in this one, I can’t do anything to help him.
He is an amazing guy and I am sure his training will keep him safe. This is the first person in our family that has been deployed as part of the Global War on Terror. It is extremely selfish of our family to expect other people to fight for our freedoms, and my heart breaks for those families who have lost loved ones in the military. While hearts swell with pride at the sacrifices of our military personnel, we can’t help but think of the sacrifices that are being made by their families here at home.
So for the next seven to nine months, please indulge me — I will be posting appropriate emails and letters that Jake sends me to keep you guys up to date. He has promised to send me letters from the front. I would appreciate all prayers, thoughts, and meditations that you can send his way to to his family.
If you would like to, please leave a comment on this entry. I will print them all up and send them over to him as long as they are positive and uplifting. Tell him your stories of your service and the service of your friends and family. I want him to see how his sacrifice can make a positive impact on the lives of other people and how we all support him and his efforts.