Camp at the National Championships was much different from the development camp. First of all, the stakes were high. We weren't doing some hokey time trial at Fiesta Island. This was for the National Championship and we were racing against the national team.
I'll write about racing later. But the most important part of camp this time was my friends. At the last camp, I roomed with the camp director, also known as Super Blind. We bonded over the mouse incident in our room and that is when we sucked in The J's (J1 and J2 for security reasons). Since San Diego, we have emailed and talked, solidifying our friendships. At this camp, we became the people I despise. We were always together. We let others jump in but the four of us were always together.
A producer is making a documentary about J1. She asked him how we had become so close in such a short period of time. If you took people you have spent some time with, threw you in a highly emotional and physically draining situation, you'd have the seeds. Then discard all clothes and be completely naked for a week. That is how close we are. I can't answer that question other than that we get each other. Between the four us, we have one complete and functioning body. We've been through pain and heartbreak and much more. In the real world, we work hard to disguise our weaknesses because others don't understand. But together, you don't need to explain. You don't need to explain why you beat your feet on the floor to go to sleep in the van on the way home from a race. It's OK to laugh if someone accidentally puts Icy Hot on his balls, instead of chamois cream (well, we shouldn't laugh, but we did!). You dont need to explain why you sometimes taking medicine is the only way to escape from reality. No one needs to explain away when someone can't get out a complete sentence. There is no need to apologize for not being able to get off your bike at the end of the race and when you finally do, no response (except laughter) is needed when you fall over. You don't need to explain how biking is the one thing that we can all do that opens some door for us. For me, it's a chance to use legs. For the J's, it's a chance to reclaim the mythical men they once thought they would be. For Super Blind, well, she won a gold medal and it's a chance for her to change people's lives.
These two men and one Super Blind woman mean the world to me. I've never had friends that understand for real. If I never pedaled another mile in my life, it would all be worth it because I met them. I love you guys.