Sep 14, 2010

A Racing Tribute to 9/11

Three local firefighters, three Hampton Roads Cities, one team.  Mike Tamayo of the Chesapeake Fire Department, John Gray of the Suffolk Fire Department and me, Joshua Goyet of the Virginia Beach Fire Department, all of the Virginia Beach Wheelmen, could not think of a better tribute to 9/11 victims and heroes then to race our bikes.

Also racing for the Virginia Beach Wheelmen on this day was Kevin Horvath, who as a City of Chesapeake mechanic, helps ensure public safety stays on the streets.

Why race our bikes on 9/11?  BECAUSE WE CAN!  The terrorist may have changed a lot 9 years ago, but they did not take our freedom.  On this day, remember what happened, but remember what happened while having fun and exercising your freedoms.

That is what we wanted to do on this beautiful Saturday morning.  I circled this race on the calendar when I saw it being held on September 11th.  I trained for it, prepared for it, and asked my team to support me for the win.

Support is exactly what was given.  Then again, what would you expect from a bunch of firefighters?  So the Virginia Beach Wheelmen arrived in Hampton ready to race and to show mourning and support of 9/11 victims in our own way.

My race number, by special request was 343.  That is number of firefighters that died 9 years ago.

On our calves were written the numbers "911" and "343":

On our thighs were written the words "Never Forget":

Our team logo draped front and back of our jerseys:

In our hearts and on our minds we carried the thoughts of that day.  Where we were, what were we doing, how was this going to change our lives?  Nine years later, there we were racing our bikes, hanging out with friends and enjoying life as an American.  Sure things have changed, but thanks to our brave men and women in the armed forces, we are still free and we can still have a good time, even on September 11th.

Live every day like it is 9/12/01.  Remember how we all came together and how many American Flags flew on that day and the months to follow.

For those that protect our freedom, thank you for letting me race my bike.