If you read this column even kind of regularly, you are probably of the impression that I’m lazy. I’m not going to disagree. There are just so few times that the reward for mental and/or physical exertion outweighs the obvious punishment. But Ken McAlpine’s story on biking in the Colorado Rockies has lit a small fire under even my slothlike butt. Sure, the vertical climbs and massive miles give me pause, but the reward of camping out in huts and enjoying a gourmet meal (cooked by someone else) under the stars after a long day makes it all seem worthwhile. After reading his story, I just can’t get the idea of it out of my head. And despite the fact that I’m certain my trip will be filled with a lot more wheezing and resting than Ken’s, I really want to test my limits amid Colorado’s beautiful views and incredible climate.

Or maybe I’ll skip the exertion and instead test the limits of my stomach by checking out some of the finest New York eateries as suggested by superstar chef Tony Bourdain. You probably know him from his Food Network gig, A Cook’s Tour, or maybe from his surprise bestseller, Kitchen Confidential. But you’ll get to know him better by reading our interview with him, where he shares his thoughts on superstardom and super food.

Do you see how easy it is for me to shirk off the hard work and go straight to easy street (or the closest restaurant)? I could probably learn a thing or two about perseverance from Steve Case. After resigning from AOL/Time Warner, Case was not content to go quietly into the night (or call it quits and spend the rest of his days lying on a beautiful beach like I would). Instead, he’s focusing his time and energy on improving his golf game and improving the economy of Hawaii — specifically on the island of Kauai. I’m sure it will come as no surprise that he’s already got big ideas and big plans, and given his track record (the merger notwithstanding), he’ll no doubt be rewarded for his efforts.

The biggest reward of all, however, could be yours. Yo-Yo Ma, the extraordinary cellist whose latest album, Obrigado Brazil: Live in Concert, just won a Grammy, is kicking off his world tour this month. And in addition to chatting with him in our excellent story on page 44 (not available on-line), we’ve teamed up with Sony Music to offer you the chance to meet him and see him perform. If you’re the big winner, you and a guest will fly first class to New York (on American Airlines, of course) on April 29, enjoy Ma’s concert at Lincoln Center, go backstage to meet the man himself, and then retire to the Sofitel New York.

The best part is that you don’t have to exert a lot of energy or invest a lot of money to reap your reward. All that’s required is that you click on the Yo-Yo Ma sweepstakes button, and fill out the required information. It doesn’t get any easier than that. Hopefully the luck of the Irish (and all others) will be with you.

SHERRI GULCZYNSKI BURNS
Editor