Bad body luck followed by bad bike luck from May 22 until July 4 had me craving a step on a podium. Last weekend when many were racing a World Cup at a ski hill called Windham, I slept in my own bed and drove to a ski hill called Winter Park for their point to point race. The bike worked flawlessly and the body was pain-free. For having about 4 weeks void of training as my knee healed my legs were good as I could have expected. I finished third, I grasped a step on the podium that I was unable to step onto because of a circuitous "adventure" back to the car from the finish. I was cracked when I finished, the last 20min really being a slog. What was supposed to be a short cut on trails (as opposed to the 30min jaunt on bike path) back to the start line & car turned into a 2 hour trek up & down the mountain. My partners saw me crack and crack sharper and deeper; they saw me at my hangriest, when I was prepared to gnaw an arm off, beat them with it, steal their water and gels and lick the salt off. But I didn't and the only thing that hampered my implosion was Tom's promise to buy me a milkshake once back to the car.
But now all that seems so trivial after holding a 4-hour old tiny little breathing human being in the crook of my right arm. On July 11th my sister in law, Nicole gave birth to her and my brother's first child, Alison Novembre Dombroski. As some of you may know my mom Alison was taken from our lives the next day, July 12, 7 years ago...so it was a good day for an Alison to enter our lives.
Following the text from my brother that they were going into labor, then that Ali was born & everyone healthy & happy, then the first picture I found myself still calling Ali "it". It wasn't until I walked into the hospital and saw Dan holding the little peanut, that the chills came, my heart fluttered, and tears blurred my vision...it wasn't until he placed her in my arms and I felt her wriggle, felt something so little - so warm - so soft, watched her face muscles stretch themselves...that I realized how real something so tiny can be. I sat in their room holding Ali in the rocking chair for maybe 45minutes and couldn't stop looking at her and grinning. There was the normal talk and questions you may expect but for the better part of an hour all eyes were fixed on Alison. The silent observing in the room wasn't silent at all, it was filled with love, emotion, excitement and wonder. These are the feelings you cannot describe. How on earth do you describe something so new and innocent and little and sweet? Holding her muted my thoughts, flared my emotions, quieted the world and could have even stopped the world and so long as I was holding her and so long as her proud parents stood with perma-grins, no one would notice.
Now I am sitting first class en route to Boise for MTB Nationals in Sun Valley (one of the perks of flying with Goldmember Simon). I have informed my brother that I will need my "daily Alison" photos while I am racing my push-bike as fast I can and Baby Ali is learning that she has legs which will some day power a push-bike.