With cyclocross season well underway, Cyclocross Nationals just 5 weeks away and the snow beginning to fall in the Cascades, the days are growing shorter, the air feels crisper as I fill my lungs and the cycling booties have come out of hiding and are now showcased on afternoon rides.
Autumn has arrived, winter is not far behind and I find myself smiling, zipped into my down sweater, sitting in the living room. Soup is on the stove, cobbler in the oven and Ben milling about, finishing up some projects before he heads East for a work conference.
I smile because I have found my place.
I have surrounded myself with people who make we stronger, wiser, and hold me to a higher standard.
I have friends that genuinely care about me; about my successes, failures, and my life.
I am engaged to a man that loves me; covered in mud, gasping for breath, he will still give me a kiss.
I have a family that believes in me, supports me in my hair-brained ideas and will encourage me in whatever it is I am passionate about. They come to cyclocross races, stand in the rain, learn to heckle, bring cowbell.
How many women find their mom waiting at the finish line at a Cross Crusade?
At least one.
I have a team that is made up of friends. Friends that meet at the House of Pain for an hour or two of intervals and perfuse sweating. Friends that train together, travel together, exchange emails, phone calls and share meals. Friends who all ride for Sunnyside Sports… a shop made up of friends. People that whole heartedly care about each other, their customers and their team.
In Sunnyside tonight, picking up my Yeti, I had an unexpected conversation. I should probably stop being surprised by what I learn while spending time in Sunnyside, but I don’t really want to. I never what to take these experiences for granted.
Questions of life and love and living are asked, answers are batted around, solutions may or may not be decided upon. Smiles are exchanged, knowledge transferred, and in the most unexpected corners, wisdom is imparted.
While I might be wrong, I am fairly certain that Sunnyside Sports is unique. Unique to Bend, unique among bike shops, unique among most business establishments in general.
Sunnyside Sports is my shop, my team, my friends.
To everyone that helps to make Sunnyside Sports much more than a bike shop; I can’t thank you enough.