Friday, February 17, 2012

THE Day of Awesome!

Antelope Island
THE Day of Awesome! I heard that somewhere on facebook or online or somewhere and I thought "that would make a great blog post." So I tried to remember it and it's been sitting on a shelf in my mind for a while now. What would make a day of awesome? What would qualify for that? I would imagine that there can by many days of awesome but only one THE Day of Awesome! When was it or is it still to come?

Was it my first time riding without training wheels? Graduating Marine Corps boot camp? Climbing Mt. Fuji or El Porvenir or Ensign Peak? Was it my first time up Emigration Canyon on the old bike? Or up Big Mountain on the old bike? Or the day I did my first Snowbird Hillclimb? I was wondering if I would ever be able to figure out THE Day of Awesome! enough to write something about it. THE Day of Awesome! carries with it some pretty heavy weight.

American Fork Canyon
Fortunately my wife crystal cleared it for me about three days ago with a quick and short random text message. Come to find out it wasn't that day of awesome that I can barely remember from before Kindergarten in Japan when I was riding my little blue bike with training wheels so fast down the sidewalk that I amazed my mom enough to get her camera out and record that moment's place in the history of my days of awesome that I have enjoyed over the years. I remember that day of awesome because of the picture. It was my first aero tuck.

It also wasn't that day of awesome Christmas Eve when I got my first real bike: a Schwinn Stingray. I don't remember what year that was but I remember the bike like it was yesterday. Gold paint with a banana seat and ape hanger handlebars. I learned to skid on that bike. I learned to go fast and how to pop a wheelie. I tasted real freedom for the first time as I spent time on that banana seat.  I remember my first upgrade - an aftermarket tall sissy bar. I put a lot of cards in the spokes too and I spent a lot of days of awesome on that first real bike.

most fun you can have with rope - spy rigging
THE Day of Awesome! wasn't that day of awesome spent rappelling and fast roping and spy rigging out of and off the bottom and back of a CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter or the day spent trying to surf for the first time but never being able to get up on the board long enough to have said that I actually did it. It wasn't that day that I woke up one morning in the Philippines and realized that I was not going to stop sweating for 18 months and it wasn't that day 18 months later when I was flying back to the states on a 13 hour plane ride and I realized the guys I was sharing bottles of champagne and celebrating the trip home with were the guys from the band Air Supply.

THE Day of Awesome! wasn't that day when my parents gave me a new shiny chrome Mongoose BMX frame to go with my Ashtabula fork and Webco mag wheels that I had spent two summers mowing yards to be able to afford. It also wasn't that day of awesome that I flew so far and high off a jump while doing the perfect cross-up and landed so hard that I cracked my down tube where it met the head tube and it wasn't the day that I found a guy in a shop by the flightline that took some time out of his workday to weld it back together for me. It wasn't the day any of my kids were born even though those days were days of awesome.

resting at Ophir
I've had a lot of days of awesome. I've forgotten more of them than I remember. There are just too many days of awesome to remember them all. Riding my first 10 speed with my Dad on the frontage road for what seemed like forever in the Nevada desert. Days of awesome spent on a cruise. Racing my motorcycle. Racing my car. Camping. Watermelon. Days of awesome with a magnifying glass and ants. The beach. Old silver mines. Coyote hunting. Decorating the Christmas tree. Finding one. My first century. My first 10 miles. The iron butt ride to Reno and back on my Street Bob. KCLV. Leaving Clovis, New Mexico. Returning to Clovis, New Mexico. Leaving Clovis, New Mexico.

top of Butterfield Canyon
Was my THE Day of Awesome! spent on a bike? Was it any of those rides where I felt like I had a tailwind pushing me the whole way? Or one of the days with the 25 mph headwind no matter which direction I chose to ride? My first Gran Fondo or my first time over 60 mph on a descent? I've had a lot of days of awesome on a bike. Brighton. City Creek. Hobble Creek. American Fork Canyon. Riding out and up to Ophir. Having the old bike on Antelope Island. Great Salt Lake Marina. Butterfield Canyon again and again and again. The first time I passed and dropped someone. Lots of days of awesome on the bike.

Great Salt Lake Marina
It was a day of awesome when we finally got picked up by the CH-53 Sea Stallions after spending three days of not awesome on a tiny no-name island way off the coast of Okinawa. It was colder and more wet and windier than I had ever been or been since from a typhoon that wasn't supposed to be there. We weren't suppose to be there either having gone out for one night to shoot our 81mm mortars but the rain started coming down in sheets sideways and the helicopters couldn't find us and then we waited three days for them to be able to fly again.

The typhoon went right through us instead of skirting around us like it was supposed to. We ate little hermit crabs and bugs and anything else we could find while we drank rain water out of puddles off the rocks and in the mud waiting to be found. When we finally made it back to Camp Hansen I went straight to the Burger King for a Triple Whopper with cheese and jumbo fry and a Gold Medal Ribbon milkshake from the Baskin Robbins right next door. That was one awesome meal on one awesome day of awesome.

my beautiful wife at Chillz Frozen Yogurt
But THE Day of Awesome! wasn't any of those days. My wife's quick text reminded me of that. It was the only text I received from her that day. It was short and out of the blue. I smiled when it hit my phone: "Happy 13th first date anniversary babe!!! I love you xoxo." That was it. THE Day of Awesome! I fell in love that day thirteen years ago.

I also had double pneumonia and was hospitalized that afternoon after having spent all of our first date at lunch coughing the whole time. I ate a club sandwich in my red shirt and she ate some Cajun chicken tenders in her white blouse and we shared some French onion soup. That date lasted maybe two hours, but that day - February 15, 1999 as it turns out and now that I think about it - that day was THE Day of Awesome!

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