Back in 2012, Coral (my girlfriend at the time) and I bought a house in Cherry Hill, and I moved down from NY, changing jobs as well. I have been working in finance 2005, and during that time focused entirely on my career, with little regard for my personal health. I’d ballooned to 185 pounds off of 15-hour days sitting in front of a computer, eating lavish lunch and dinner meals on company dime (at the hedge fund I worked at the two years before I relocated to NJ). For a 5’6″ short guy like me, that’s a lot!
Around that same time, Coral decided to partake in a local triathlon of sorts, the Great Absecon Pedal, Paddle, Run and began riding a hybrid that her coworker had loaned her to practice on. Coral had been making efforts to get me to shape up, but running was painful to endure. When I saw her on the bike, I was reminded of the fun times I had before my finance days, riding mountain and BMX bikes more than a decade prior. I decided to take up cycling again, and to give road cycling a try. When I visited my local bike shop, D&Q, they mentioned Team Evesham as a local group of road cyclists that went out every Sunday, so Coral and I showed up after we both got bikes and that’s how we started riding with TE.
I cannot understate the significance of Team Evesham. For me, Team Evesham is my home away from home. Fellow team members are my new family since I’ve joined. When I left New York, I left to be with Coral (now my wife since June), but I also left behind the constant presence of my parents, my cousins (my best friends) and my close personal friends from the city. Team Evesham gave me new friends, great ones, who’ve come to be the best part of new life in South Jersey, people I laugh with, enjoy adventures with and can really identify with in my new life in my new home. Without Team Evesham, I would basically just have Coral (not a bad thing!), especially since I work so far away (Newark, DE) and don’t really have friends from work outside of work. Team Evesham is my family down here, and I cherish the relationships I’ve made through Team Evesham more than riding itself.
I have always been pretty active for much of my life. When I was younger, I was constantly riding my bicycle, swimming or roller skating with my sister. In high school, I was on the cross country and track teams. At college, I always made time for the gym no matter what (even if it meant I was reading a textbook or reviewing class notes on the elliptical – yes, I’ve done that more than once). Even today, I have what some of my friends call an addiction to my gym routine. In short, being active has never been a problem for me.
Where Team Evesham has changed my life is how it has impacted me socially. In many ways, I very much fit the stereotype of your “typical” engineer: I’m pretty logical and good at math and physics, but I’m also introverted, shy, quiet and not very sociable – not so much because I don’t want to be friendly but because I generally feel socially awkward around people I don’t know very well. In school, I got around that by becoming friends with people I had things in common with by joining clubs and sports teams (and believe it or not, a sorority in college). After graduation, I was at a bit of a loss as to how to go about finding a new circle of friends (like Ed, all my family and the vast majority of my friends live in New York City). With few exceptions, my coworkers (who for the record are all good people and very nice) are all into golfing, sailing, fishing, and hunting – none of which I had ever done before and in all honesty, wasn’t terribly interested in trying.
When Ed and I moved to Cherry Hill together in June of 2012, one of the first things I tasked him with was finding us some friends who lived locally, since I had failed miserably to do so in the 2-1/2 years I had already been working/living in the general area (you can laugh; it’s funny in a sad way but true). When Ed first suggested that we check out Team Evesham, I must admit that I was very hesitant (a large group of people I had never met before? Oh the horror!). Now I’m really glad that Ed dragged me (nearly kicking and screaming) out there that first day. Everyone was immensely friendly and welcoming and I was definitely put at ease. I distinctly remember Dennis Wall and Andre immediately chatting it up with us and by the end of my first ride with Team Evesham, I didn’t even feel the need to stick to Ed like glue anymore (which is quite the accomplishment for me!). In fact, I looked forward to seeing our new friends so much that Ed and I rode straight through that winter – for someone like me who thinks 50F is frigid, that’s saying something!
Joining Team Evesham didn’t just mean Ed and I now had people we could ride bikes with, it meant joining an incredible family, all of whom are wonderfully warm and supportive. I’ll be forever grateful for the amazing people that I can now count as my friends.