Sunday, February 15, 2009

8:25AM, Friday, February 13th

My dad's dad passed away of a burst aneurysm in his abdomen. He was a ripe 94 years old.

I was very close to Burt Frey, and he's the only grandpa I've ever known. He was the most wonderful, kind, gentle man I've ever known as well. The lasting memory I will always have of Burt is his approach to life: "I've always thought of myself as lucky." I try to live by that every day.

It's been a rough couple of days, with waves of emotion sweeping over me without any specific thought in my head to trigger them. I'm going to be fine, and my parents and I have had some good conversations that really helped me. It will surely take some time, but I have great memories of Burt that will be with me forever. I got to say goodbye to him on the phone, but I would have given anything in life to be there and hug him.

I'll be flying home on Friday morning to attend services and be with my parents and find closure. My friends have been very supportive, and it's really the people around me that are helping me get through this. Thank you.

I've always loved to make Burt proud, and as a life-long coach and athlete he was ecstatic about my cycling career--I am more motivated than ever to make him proud! I know he's out on some infinite football field or track stadium, coaching his old athletes and having a ball. I'm sure he's also back to cutting the grass on his riding mower!

Take care, Burt. I love you.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Cali pics

Hey everyone--I know, it's been a LONG LONG LONG time since I did a complete, quality post! I am beginning a new strategy: more short posts with pictures! It makes it much easier to sit down and do a quickie with some cool pics than a LONG, drawn out one that may not even be that interesting.

So here goes . . .

I spent Winter Break in Iowa and Colorado. I had an excellent Christmas with my parents and family, had a fun New Year's in Des Moines (I know, not Party Central, but not bad, either) with my cousin Jim Schwartz and his awesome g/f Vanessa, and flew back to Princeton almost immediately to slog through the endless black hole that is January (more on this below!).

My dad and I went on our annual Frey Ski Trip to Copper Mountain, of course meeting up with our bestest friends Shawn and Karl Heidgen and Dori Biester to have dinners and sleepovers! The coolest part of the trip had to be snowshoeing with my new Team Legacy Energy boys and camping in a yurt on top of a mountain northwest of Fort Collins!!! It was a SICK trip filled with great stories, beer drinking, tubing adventures, tough snowshoeing miles, more beer drinking, but NO coffee (ouch). The trip basically made getting through my final few months of college almost impossible because I'm so psyched to be racing with them and living out in the great CO!

Now January: Princeton is the last school (that I know of) to have this ridiculous policy of finals AFTER Winter Break. Makes life HELL. I spent the entire month just plugging away at text books and the keyboard doing projects, reports, essays, and the like . . . all while cursing at myself for forgetting 90% of what I had learned throughout the semester. I am very happy I will never be doing that again!!! The upshot was I got in some serious mileage, especially after putting up with Iowa's INSANE weather, as I reached a new level of pain tolerance on the farm roads. Mad respect goes to Jason McCartney for still living out there (check bottom of the page) . . . I don't understand how, much less why :-)

FINALLY "Intercession" arrived on January 24th. That is the 9-day vacation between semesters, really the ONLY time there is nothing to do during the school year--your new classes haven't started, and all your first semester stuff is DUNZO. Luis Sanchez '12, Jeremy Furchtgott '12 and I flew straight to NorCal, met up with Eric Chi '09, and floored it [quite literally] up to Occidental to hang and train at the sick cabin of Friend of Princeton Cycling Mark Slavonia '90. Mark hosts the FOPC Annual Trip and was psyched to have us out there and show us the amazing terrain west of Santa Rosa. And I know I speak for the four of us when I say, "Mark showed us some of the best eight days of our lives!" I got in some awesome training, taught the boys a few things, caught up with Tyler Wren '03 and Anthony Colby of Colavita, and GOT A TAN! Basically the sickest cycling trip I've had in a long time, and I'm posting pictures from my iPhone and Luis' camera below.

Now my last semester as a Princetonian is upon me, and my nostalgia and bittersweet emotions are overcome by my excitement for the future and turning over another page in life. There are fewer than three weeks until my first race in Prospect Park, New York, which I am using as a little tune-up for our Princeton Criterium on March 7th. It's ON CAMPUS, and I'm very excited to show my friends what I do during most of my time. My dad is driving out here for the weekend and my 22nd birthday on March 9th, so it should be a brilliant weekend. Then I'm jetting out to Silver City, New Mexico for a nine-day training camp with the Legacy Energy boys scouting the Tour of the Gila courses and putting in the vertical miles. And before I know it, the racing season will be upon me!

Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy the pics.