This is a short, slightly exaggerated memoir piece. Anyone who knows my friends and I knows that we used to go all over our neighborhood on our bikes. This is also the first part of a two-part story. There’s a little bit more substance to these, so I’m spreading them out. Be sure to pay attention!
I was racing through the streets of Farmingdale, New York with my friends at the time. We often tried to beat each other to the end of the block; however, we sometimes had marathon races around all of South Farmingdale, where we would start at the local park and drive to Boundary Avenue (a busy road which required us to ride in single file on the sidewalk, so positioning prior to reaching the road was significant), then go down a hilly backroad that went along the Bethpage State Parkway bike path, up another steep hill to the west on the Farmingdale/Plainedge border, and then back around to the park. In other words, it was a giant, horribly-shaped circle similar to what a four-year-old could do at preschool. I always remembered “Slow and steady wins the race,” so I would try to pace myself because I often saw my friends tire out right at the very end of these long races. The reason, though, why I saw them tire out right before the end, wasn’t because I was watching from the finish line, but because I came in last regardless. I always underestimated what my friends were capable of; I never learned that if I wanted to get better, I would have to try; I couldn’t rely on my friends to let me win. That wasn’t how life worked. “You’re ten now, Nick,” my father would always say. “You have to start doing things on your own.”