Saturday, July 30, 2016


From the 4:30 a.m. wake-call through the finish line more than half-a-day later,
there are many things that go through an athlete's mind during a grueling 140.6 mile
race. This event requires a swim of 2.4 miles, a 112-mile bike, and a marathon run
to top it off. I completed this type of race for the third straight year on July 24 and,
yes, a million different things circulated  my cranium in the 13 hours it took me to
finish this endurance race in Lake Placid.

Here are a few of them:

"Wait a minute, I paid $725 to punish myself for more than 12 hours and 140.6 miles
on  a hot day in the Adirondack mountains?! They should re-name this event, Stupidman,
rather than the Ironman."

"Um, maybe, I should've done more bricks."

"I wonder what kind of food they are going to have at the post-race spread."

"This lake is a half-a-mile wide! Why the hell does every swimmer act like they
have to swim through a door that's three feet wide and 2.4 miles long?"

"Why am I doing this race again?"

"You mean I have to run 600 yards from the end of the swim to the bike transition
half-naked with hundreds of people within arms length of me?! Good, grief."

"Why the hell do I want to try to endure so much pain?"

"Dude, you paid $1,000 for that aerodynamic helmet that's going to knock
two minutes off your time? What a great deal!"

"Please, God. Let me get through the race without popping a tire."

"What's more painful to all these people. Trying to finish this race or being
off their cell phones for more than 12 hours?

Oh, sh&t! Did I park my car in a tow-zone?!

"PR? Seriously, does it really matter? You could tell your family, co-workers,
and fellow church-goers you took 23 hours to complete the course and they'd still
say, "Wow, that's amazing!"

"Don't they have anything other than gels, goos, Cliff Bars, and two-inch cuts of
 bananas that have been sitting in a cardboard box for five hours? I want a steak.
Is that too much to ask for? I want a big fat steak and I'd like it medium rare."

"I'm 52-years-old and have already completed this twice already. This makes no

"Why didn't I just enter a Wednesday night bowling league? Now, that's what you call
fun. And it's far less expensive and painful.

"My ass is going to hate me after this ride."

"Who invented this damn race anyway?"

"That kid who just risked his life crossing the street in front a pack of riders must
have been playing Pokémon Go. I don't get it. Idiot."

"I've been on this bike for six hours, had 47 Gatorades, 25 gels, and energy shots
and still can't take a pee. What's up with that?

"Please don't pop a tire. Please don't pop a tire. Anything but a flat tire."

"I wonder what normal-thinking people are doing right about now."

"I'm NEVER doing this race again!"

"That's right junior. I'm 30 years older than you. Don't let me beat you now."

"Damn. That lady is 20 years older than me and she's kickin' my ass."

"Whew. That was awesome. I think I'll do it again next year."

Wednesday, July 20, 2016


Over the last year and a half, I have been in one of the 130,000 vehicles that cross the
Tappen Zee Bridge in New York nearly every day. I was familiar with the bridge having
grown up in Rye, which is about 12 miles away. It became a small part of my life
recently as I used it to get to work in Rockland County.

But there's not just one Tappen Zee Bridge anymore. There is almost two. State officials
made the decision in 2010 to build a new one after studies showed the original one had
enough wear and tear that might lead to a major catastrophe.

Watching the construction process over the last 16 months has been a jaw-dropping
experience. Seriously, how many times in our lifetime do we get to see a major bridge
rise up right before our very eyes.

I have been so fascinated by the process, I've documented the process nearly every time
I pass over the bridge. Yeah, I know. Taking out the cell phone on a scary ass ride over
a bridge and attempting to take pictures is pretty downright stupid, but the building of a
bridge this size is an engineering marvel that has gripped me.

To see the size of the cranes, cement structures, and metal for the spans that will be
used is absolutely incredibly. I drive on the bridge and look at these workers
high in the sky and they appear to be as tiny as mosquitoes, seemingly tip-toeing
up and down stairs to get to their next project.

The project is both spectacular and as we found out on Tuesday, downright precarious.
A crane toppled down on the bridge, coming apart like a leggo set smashing the ground.
Amazingly, only three motorists were injured and none of the injuries were considered

As with any project this mammoth, there are consequences. There is collateral damage.
In May, a tug boat rammed into a pillar of the bridge just before sunrise, leaving three
crewmen dead. Today, it was the crane accident. Completion of the $6 billion project
is expected to be finished sometime in 2017, but in New York, nothing is ever completed
on time.

Rest assured, there will be a few more mishaps. I know it sounds morbid, negative, and
dark, but when a three-mile bridge is being built with tons of concrete and steel. Bad
things sometime happen. They just do.

Every time I cross the old bridge which opened in 1955 and was designed to last only
50 years, I am astounded by the engineering that goes into the construction of a new one.
I am amazed at just how precise engineers have to be in planting and stabilizing structures
deep into the Hudson River.  There are no do-overs, mulligans, or room for any type
of error. The slightest misstep or miscalculation results in a near-catastrophe like Tuesday's
crane collapse.

I marvel at the exact science of a project like this. Every bolt, every piece of steel, metal,
and aluminum have to be perfectly placed the first time. The precision that goes into
making eight-lanes over a three-mile span is just mind-boggling to me.

Like most everything else we do on a daily basis, most of us take going over a bridge
for granted. I'll never take going over a bridge for granted, that's for sure. In 1983, I
was over in Taiwan and heard on the news that a section of the Mianus Bridge in
Greenwich, CT. fell into the water. I was shocked more than half-a-world away.

When I saw the crane go down on the Tappen Zee Bridge Tuesday afternoon. I was
stunned. Timing is everything in life. I'm just thankful I wasn't on that bridge during
that time of day.

Bridges are amazing. The construction of them are truly an engineering marvel.

Thursday, July 14, 2016


Mr. Mosley. Social Studies. Room 221. 8am.

Those were the first words I scanned over as I picked up my schedule for the first
day of classes at New Canaan High School in 1979. I was one of the "new kids" to
arrive on-campus that fall. I loved change, challenges, meeting  new people, and
experienced all of them after our family moved into town from Lake Forest, Illinois
earlier that summer.

Mr. Mosley was the first teacher I met at New Canaan High School. He seemed to be
a New Englander through and through. A bit stand off-ish, weary of outsiders, and a
confidence that bordered on arrogance. That was my take as a self-assured sophomore,
an "outsider" trying to find his way in a new town and new high school.

His classroom was meticulous just as he was, and there was no mistaking as to who
was in charge of it. Mosley commanded respect and always got it. As a person who
served the country at 18-years-old, fighting in the Korean War, there was no way Mosley
would've stood for today's dress code and obsession with cell phones, Twitter, and Facebook.

He was the type of guy who would've held out a cardboard box as his students entered
the  classroom, demanding they place their cell phones in it until class was over. Mosley
was a no nonsense guy and when it came to teaching, he was all business.

Mr. Mosley and I hit it off from day one. He was also a referee in football, not surprising,
given his attention to detail and rules. Mosley did everything by the book. As the
quarterback on JV football team, Mosley and I would trade stories about my games
and the ones he officiated over the weekends.

Mosley was much more than a teacher and football referee. He was a legendary coach,
overseeing the track and field teams for more than 30 years. He guided the Rams to nine
FCIAC titles and four state championships. Mosley took his rightful place in the NCHS
hall of fame in 2012.

With his build and military background, he seemed more suited for blowing his whistle
and barking out orders to football players than cross-country runners, but that is where
he made his name and became a New Canaan legend. There is a spot in Waveny Park
where track and field meets are still held today. It's called "Mosley's Hill", a tough
stretch of land that challenges runners and demands their respect---just like Mosley.

Mosley was a tough man, but very fair. And behind a tough exterior was a man with
a giant heart. He cared for his students, his athletes, his school,  his family, and loved
our country. Oh, some people say all the right things about the good 'ole U.S. of A, but
Mosley fought for it and took great pride in it.

Bob Mosley was genuine. He was real. And he was a great American.

On Sunday, July 10, Mosley died peacefully in Danbury. He was 81-years old.
Everybody who met Bob Mosley didn't always love Bob Mosley, but they sure as
hell respected him.

He was a great man and he will be missed.

RIP Bob Mosley.