In Mid- Spring 2010, I went on my first La Grange ride. As a kid typically would, I thought I’d show up and be the first person up Mandeville. I was dead wrong-lucky to be saved from oblivion by Trent MacLean-the first LG’er I met.
I joined La Grange for the hell of it, why not? A nice group of people to show me the ropes, you know? I didn’t expect it to become such an influential and essential part of my life.
For a lost, angry, depressed, easily set off, self-conflicted, and caught up in his own self-loathing teenager, La Grange became a safe haven in this troubled time of my life. My whole high school career was undoubtedly very tough-the last two and half of which I went through the hardest process of my journey-coming to terms and accepting myself for who I am- La Grange made easier. Cycling relieved the loneliness I was forced to live with, unable to really connect with any of my peers. Good-hearted, non-judgmental, caring, and wise people surrounded me. Role models surrounded me.
La Grange opened up a whole new world of cycling for me-I’d never been on PCH before in my life or ridden with more than one other person. Then there was racing. From my first Brentwood Grand Prix, where I remember getting dropped off the back and seeing Marco Fantone tell me to “Dig in” so I wasn’t pulled out of the race and Everest Challenge where I discovered in the greatest depth, just how warm and full of camaraderie this team truly is, I fell in love with La Grange. Each season has been full of memorable moments both during races and training. I’m happy that I’ve been able to race for such a legendary team.
Over the years, I’ve had countless role models from La Grange. I definitely do not believe I’d be the person I am now without La Grange to basically parent me through my difficult adolescent times. Many of the issues I’ve faced my parents would never have been able to help me with, but just the strong support that this club has shown for me has nudged me along through life.
I’ve thought about how I could possibly mention all of you in this statement and decided that it’s not possible at all, but I want those that did even small things for me to know that I still remember and cherish just how giving and supportive all of you have been in my pursuits. I’d like to thank Dave Lieberman for all his clothing donations towards the Juniors Program and Ethan Milius for allowing me to borrow his sensors for a Garmin that PJ Canale gave me. It’s acts like this that have taught me to give back to the cycling community. And over the years, I’ve learned that the more I’ve put into La Grange, the more I’ve gotten out. It frustrates me that I can’t name everyone that deserves to be named in here.
I want to write more, but I’m just beginning to grasp that it would take me a never-ending amount of time to write about how each and every one of you has had an impact on my life and the great memories I’ll be able to enjoy for years to come.
As I begin a new chapter of my life, I am sad to leave you all and head to NYU, but I am sure I will see many of you when I return this December.