I am sitting on the airplane with Kerry and Jesse as I write this message. As I try and reflect on some of the events that occurred over the past four days my eyes keep tearing up as my thoughts continue to bounce back to the strength and spirit of Mark Stephan (I guess this hockey guy is more sensitive than we thought). The tear drops are not of sadness but pride. I am proud to be numbered as Mark Stephan’s friend.
If you have not witnessed this incredible endeavor live you are missing a chance of a lifetime to gain perspective on all aspects of life. Steph is showing us all how to live and fight from the recumbent position. The image of Mark grinding up the lengthy hills surrounding Austin is indelibly etched in my mind’s eye. I know that in the future when a difficult situation arises this image will show itself and the
path will become clear. Mark has has shown us the way for 1,500 miles there is no doubt he will show us the way for 1,629 more.
Obstacles are constantly in front of you, just like the hills Mark climbs each day, when the obstacles are overcome you are taken to a place higher than you have been before. The heights Mark has reached will not be properly registered on his Garmin! Mark takes these hills, not with ease, not without sweat, not without pain nor dehydration but without a single strand of doubt. There is no doubt that the hill will be climbed and the trek will continue. I know I echo other’s sentiments – Mark is my hero.
On a lighter note, here are a few memories from a low keyed Stephan Challenge Memorial Day weekend in and around Austin:
The Goldman Clan – Man the firm get’s it right when they hire people. What a
great and dynamic group of people from all over the country.
The Kids – The vitality the younger group brings to the ride is fantastic. I am sure Jesse learned a lot on this trip as he watched Steph, he and Barrett got to interact with Mark’s successful friends and saw the whole group dynamic in motion.
Lincoln, Katy, Maria and Tony (and Katie) – Steph’s support crew is the best. Not everything is perfect, not everything works to plan – but it works. The fact they can keep this train rolling is testament to the strength of their individual skills and character.
The Session – The adult riders and crew had an “epic” session by the trailer parked in the street right in front of the Austin Hilton – see Marta’s post
All of Mark’s friends – New Trier, Miami, Winnetka and Skokie were all represented. Man he is popular.
Steph – He is the man. I was in the lobby of the Hilton after the ride Saturday. Mark was outside on his sticks. He was getting his picture taken multiple times with multiple people in front of the RV (thanks again Mike Glass) and trailer. A woman comes up to me to inquire as to the commotion. I tell her Mark’s story – the woman starts crying – I am hiding under my shades. She takes down the web page address, asks me to tell him God Bless and heads out the door shaking her head with amazement. Mark’s story is that strong. Mark is that strong. Doing it all from the recumbent position….