Biking is a huge part of my life. Wherever I go, chances are that I am sitting on my bike pedaling to my destination. I have three bikes, one for each type of trip. My mountain bike has a design I love from the Rockrider company. I like its thick wheels, very tough to pop, which is very useful when biking in tall grass. I ride the Giant brand when biking on the road because the controls for the gears are very easy to use and the bike overall is very efficient, whether I take it on the road, on some dirt path, or for an all out race. When I compete in triathlons I also use Giant because their bikes are lightweight and do not get in my way when doing transitions. Biking is the passion and pastime for most of my family. My grandfather needs to bike every day or else he feels like something is just not right. My parents love to bike. Last spring, they trained for and completed Gran Fondo New York, a 100 mile bike race that took eight hours to finish. Every day, I go to school by bike whether it is raining, snowing or the wind is strong enough to be able to Kitesurf with a size one kite.
Bodhi is my dog, an English Springer Spaniel. He is on the smaller size, and has a black and white coat. On his white muzzle he has a big black spot that always makes me laugh, because it looks so unnatural. His fur is very soft and his long hair makes him quite fluffy. When he wags his small tail it looks like his whole backside is shaking with excitement. He always has the blue steel (Zoolander reference) look that makes him very famous in our house. Everyday, whether I am in the greatest of moods or the foulest, Bodhi will always come to me in hopes of getting a chance to play with me. He always wants attention when I am doing my homework, and when I take five minutes to go play with me, he goes to his bed and sleeps. Even when Bodhi was small, he would never bite hard enough to hurt, he would be gentle and he would be tolerant of anything we did to him. Whether it is spinning him around when he is lying down or sleeping right next to him, he never says anything, never complains. He is always there to make us laugh, with the occasional fall on the slippery floor of our house. When reading, he always gets a toy and rams into us, and when we reach for it he would runs away growling playfully and looking back to see if we were chasing him. Everyday after school, I look forward to seeing him and his playful ways once again.
For me, books are between the fine line of love and hate. Sometimes, I read three books from the Ranger’s Apprentice series, a total of seven hundred pages in one day. Other times, I read a two hundred page book like The Three Musketeers in two weeks. With books I enjoy, I keep on reading no matter what, going to sleep at one or two in the morning because I can never put the books down. I love the Harry Potter series, as I almost finished the first two books in one night. The rest of the time, I avoid the book at all costs, and try to forget about it, like Hatchet, which took me about a month to complete, maybe more.
Brothers, the bane of my existence. My two younger brothers, ages ten and twelve can act as if they turned three yesterday. They are about the same height and are always really competitive with each other. Sometimes, they would be really nice and appreciative, but most often they wake up and start singing and yelling during breakfast, when I am still waking up. They are in my face and then act as if they are really stupid, and sometimes I suspect that they are. Other times, they just go right next to me and start asking stupid questions that don't even really matter at all. For example, they ask me what forty five times ninety eight hundred seventy eight is, or they ask each other really easy questions until they get it wrong, and they start screaming to everyone about how my brother got it wrong, and how everyone should question his intelligence. I guess that is the definition of brotherly love.
When I was younger, I didn't really like my name. I thought that it was different than everybody else's, and that I didn't fit in. It was also really frustrating that everyone was saying my name wrong. Having to correct the pronunciation of my name is really frustrating after a couple of years having to correct the same thing over and over again. My friends know how frustrating it is to correct my name every time and they love to say my name with incorrect pronunciation.
For a couple years, my cousins who lived in Cherbourg, Normandy were the highlights of every vacation in France. With my cousins, one a year older and the other a year younger than me, we would go to the beach and play until it was time for dinner. We would play dodgeball on the beach and would have volleyball tournaments. We would have seaweed wars when it was low tide where we would throw the most disgusting, the biggest and the heaviest seaweed at each other. Before we left France, we would always take a few water guns and water balloons, hide in our cousins backyard and wait for them to come out. After that, it was an all out water war. There were guns firing, balloons exploding, buckets full of water drenching an unlucky fighter. Whoever launched the attack first always gets attacked next. It was supposed to be a surprise attack, so there was always tension between us after one family attacked the other. Everyone acted likes it was okay until they brought out the guns and fired on the others. It was always tons of fun and we all said we couldn't wait for next year.
When I think of France, I see vacations and trying out new things. I see tennis, a beach, a ping-pong table, boats, family, friends, farms, cows, sheep, and plains full of wild grass. Every time I go to France, everything I mentioned is part of what I experience. Every time I go to France, I play tennis with a friend of mine, Leo, and we have competitions all the time. The beach is also a big part of the vacation. It is by far the place I've been to the most. Then comes ping-pong. With Leo, after we are done with camp, we go to my house, go dip in the pool and we play ping-pong for hours on end. For family and friends, we would go live in the south with my grandparents from my mother's side and see my cousins from my mother's side, and then go north and live with my family from my father's side. As for the farms, the cows and the sheep, every time we go drive somewhere there is at least one or two pastures filled with cows and sheep, which is very different from the suburbs of Larchmont.
Family and Friends
Family and friends are very important to me. I say that my brothers act stupid all the time, but I really do love them. They can make me laugh when I am sad and thay are always there when I am hurt. My parents can seem overprotective at times, but they stick to what they say. If I keep my grades up, I will be rewarded and I will have more freedom. When my grandparents come over to the U.S., they don't just visit the family, they become part of our everyday lives as if they were always there. They help with school, they go over my essays and give me suggestions. They find videos and movies that will help me do whatever project I am currently working on. Friends are very important to me as well. Again, they can be irresponsible at times, but they make me try new things I never would have done without them. If I really want something, they help me get ideas and suggest ways to make it work. I am almost always with my friends, and I know that they always have my back no matter what.
Throughout all my younger years, I remember going to some toy store and begging for whatever toy I could lay my hands on. Whether it was a LEGO set or a huge drone, I would go to my knees and pester my parents until I could get what I wanted. So far, the percentage of that working has been zero percent, but hey, don’t ask, don't get, right? Money now has been easier to get, with so many opportunities to earn it, with babysitting, ballroom chaperoning, and refereeing.
Sports is always a big part of my life. I love kicking a soccer ball around, scoring goals and slide tackling the opposing players. I love scrimmaging with my team, because I start forming friendships with people I didn't even know the name of a month ago. I love the sound of a ball hitting the back of the net. I love the intensity of running across the field on a breakaway, with my team cheering me on. I also love the water. Surf is a new sport for me. I am not very good at it yet, but I remember the feeling that I had when I surfed for the first time. That feeling of joy,being on top of something bigger than you and deciding where you want to go. I love being in the water, sitting on my board, waiting for the perfect wave to arrive. Triathlons are very important to me as well. I love races that go mainly to my strength, and there is nothing better than beating someone else in swimming, biking and running. The sensation of racing that keeps me going through the competition is something that I only feel during triathlons. I love being on the podium in the end of a competition, especially when you are ranked number one in the 13-14 division of the Westchester county. I love the feeling of seeing all the other contestants around you, and you are just standing there, above them, feeling superior in every way for a few seconds of glory.
The Tour de France. The oldest and most prestigious of all the cycling competitions all around the world. Every year it changes its course. Last year, 2016, was the year St Martin de Brehal was chosen to host a small part of the race. Luckily, my grandparents have a summer house there and invited us to attend. Our whole family loves to bike. My parents trained for and completed a one hundred and sixty kilometer bike race. My grandfather feels an urge to bike everyday, or else something just doesn't feel right. For as long as I can remember, my family has been watching the Tour de France whenever they have a break. I often see my grandfather in his favorite chair watching professional bikers compete in a race that only a few even dream of doing. Last year, we saw plenty of signs like the one above telling us that the famous race was starting on July First 2016 at the Mont Saint Michel in Normandy and would then go through the main road of our small village Saint Martin de Brehal.
Everyone at home was talking about it, discussing how lucky we are and how this will probably the only time in all of our lifetimes that the Tour de France would pass through Saint Martin de Brehal. The day before the racers would go through our city, I went to my first French rap concert with my cousins from Cherbourg. I went to sleep at one or two in the morning. I was so tired that I woke up at noon, just in time for the cars and trucks with the logos of all the companies sponsoring the Tour de France to throw small samples of what they have in their store at us on our small sidewalk.
In order for the bikers to race in the Tour de France, they need to raise money for their equipment. Some companies sponsor the bikers, thinking that if their biker wins the race, it will make more publicity for the company. My grandfather’s company, AG22 La Mondiale even has its own team competing for first place and good publicity. By two o’clock, when the trucks came and left, we had grabbed from the crowd comics, food and water bottles. An hour later, everyone in town saw what they were all waiting for, the bikers racing. There was no fences to protect us from the bikers, speeding at sixty miles per hour in our very narrow street even though some bikers often crash and hit spectators. It has been on the news many times that pets walk on the road. get hit by a bicycle and create a major crash, involving the end of many racer’s careers.
My family expected the racers to pass all day, but everyone was gone in a matter of seconds. All the bikers went by so fast we could barely make out if they were wearing sunglasses or not. Of course, the security motorcycles appeared right behind the racers to pick any injured cyclist and close the race. What my family and I had been planning for almost a year now was over in a matter of minutes. It seemed very brief, but everyone was excited by what they saw: bikers race for their dreams through our little village in Normandy. Bikers race not only for the trophy but also for glory such as wearing the yellow jersey telling the world that you are the best of the bestIt was one of the best experiences of my life, all represented in that one picture at the top of the page. Normandy embraced that picture and every village created welcome decorations for competitors and spectators according to that one image. I loved the feeling of spectating a sporting event very important to only a few, but a few bike lovers who have given their entire lives for that moment. That feeling of being the fastest, the strongest, the best, with people who are screaming for you and encouraging you to pedal more, faster and harder must be overwhelming. Those very strong emotions must justify a life’s worth of hard training.