Thursday, June 6, 2013

Happy Trails: My Return to the USA

I’m writing this article during my 8-hour layover in JFK. I stayed up for over 24, so that I could fall asleep on my international flight that left at 10am France time, which was also 1am Portland time. The anti-jetlag method. You gotta break something before you can fix it. So far it’s gone OK, as I’ve been awake in the daytime here in New York and not feeling too tired. Now I just have to stay awake on my transcontinental flight back to the west coast, so that I can pass out after I get home at 1am Portland time and wake up the next day jet lag free.

It makes me think about professional cyclists who jet set around the world and then often times have to race within 24 hours of touching down. Being a professional athlete has its perks, but it is definitely not an easy job.

It's what America runs on.

I’ve also been thinking about the five months elapsed since I was last in the USA. I’m filled with a mix of emotions, both excited to be returning and also already missing the land I left behind. I ate a meal in an Italian restaurant in the JetBlue terminal, and my waiter was actually Italian. Ordering an expresso was a steaming double-shot of nostalgia for the cafés and bars I had left behind across the pond. It’s the little things like that I know I’ll miss most : the laissez-faire attitude of the waiters who will leave you to sit for hours after your drink, and not expect any tip; sipping bottles of red Côte du Rhone along the canals on cool nights; attacking punchy climbs flanked by miles of vineyard in the Vosges.

Staging all of my gear for the long journey home.

They are six months that will stick with me for the rest of my years. It’s been an experience that I’m lucky to have had, and few people ever do. But now I am at the start of a brand new adventure. I’m excited to start working in the bike industry this summer, and testing out my Euro-fitness on the old stomping grounds. America, I hope your ready.

Ride on,
Kyle McCall

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