In 1985, my brother and I entered a bicycle race in our home town of Bedford, Pennsylvania.  I'd bet the only reason I entered the race in the first place was because Jake did....back then he was significantly more into these types of events than I was.  Honestly, I have no memory of the race (let alone the outcome). It wasn't until I found an old pic of me (dressed in very 1980s sweats) standing on my tip toes over my Huffy Omni 10-speed bike that the vaguest memories of even being there came back to me.  

12 year old me prior to my first bike race.  It looks like the staging area was the old Bedford Primary School on  South Juliana Street -- October 1985

My younger brother, Jacob Raymond -- October 1985

Fast forward more than twenty five 2007, 2008, and 2009...a three year period in which I was really into mountain bike racing.  It seemed like Mark, Glenn, Mikey, and I had a race almost each week during the Spring and Summer months.  Personally, I enjoyed the camaraderie and sense of being part of a team more than I ever enjoyed the race itself.  That's probably the reason why, by 2009, I stopped mountain bike racing altogether and began adventure racing.  For me, it was all about the friendships and teamwork.  By 2013, my desire to race was completely overcome by my simple desire to just ride my bike.  So, for the past six years, that's what I've been doing...just riding my bike.

Mike Nardelli, Mark Lentz, Glenn Medice, and Dave Raymond.  Marysville Relay Race. -- April 2008

About a month ago, while working at the bike shop, one of the guys mentioned entering a team in the Marysville Relay.   When asked if I would be interested in racing I was quite honored, yet at the same time...after not racing for over six years...cautious and nervous.  Of all the races that I would do, the relay...a team affair...was something that really peaked my interest.  Gung Ho entered two three-man teams in the 2019 Marysville Relay.  The team I was on consisted of Ben Kelly, Jay Zech, and myself.  It was neat to be on a team with Ben, a former student and now co-worker and friend, and with Jay, probably my longest continuous friend since I moved to York, PA back in 1995.  Jay and I also wanted to prove to Ben that the two "older" guys could still "hang" with everyone.  

Ben Kelly, Dave Raymond, and Jay Zech at the 2019 Marysville Relay Race -- April 7, 2019

Ben Kelly waiting for his turn to ride -- April 7, 2019

Ben Kelly making the sharp turn that looped back through the exchange area. -- April 7, 2019

Jay Zech riding in the Marysville Relay Race -- April 7, 2019

Dave Raymond finishing a lap and handing off to  Jay Zech -- April 7, 2019

As anxious as I was in the days prior to the race...any nervousness dissipated as soon as we arrived.  It felt good to be part of a team again.  For me, the social aspect of the event...hanging out and cheering for each other along the just a fun as the event itself.  As for the race, the 3+ mile course was super fun.  A lot of twisty and turny single track crammed into a small area with plenty of places to pass (or in my passed).  For five hours, Jay, Ben, and I took turns riding the course.  As far as I'm concerned, the three of us held our own.  We each managed to get in five rides in five hours...averaging about 20 minutes for each ride.  Jay was, by far, the most impressive...riding his fastest lap on his last lap.  At the end of the day, we had a really good showing...finishing in the top 20% of the 100+ teams in the race.  For me, now I'm back to just riding my bike...but it really did feel good to be out there with friends and be a contributing part of the team.  We've already talked about entering the relay again next year (and getting Ben out there for a sixth lap).  That's incentive enough to get me to commit to this bicycle race again next year.

The bike shop entered two teams in the relay this year.  Left to right:  BJ, Ben Kelly, Dave Raymond, Jay Zech, Ryan Martin, and Ed Billet. -- April 7, 2019

Life is a journey...not a destination.

David A. Raymond -- April 19, 2019

My post-race reward...a little surf & turf on the grill when I got home! -- April 7, 2019

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Here are the GARMIN maps and data from the 2019 Marysville Relay Race.  #OptOutside

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