Sunday, January 23, 2011

Welcome and a bit of History

to the blog about, well , the adventures of an old (41), short (5'8" almost), fat (fluctuated between 161 and 195 the past two years), bald (I shave what hairs I have left), rider.  I ride a 26" Single Speed and I am darn fact I get annoyed of hearing about all the advantages of a 29er...whatever!

At one time in my life, I was a runner, and a pretty good one.  In Junior High I was undefeated in the county in the 800m at middle school track.  I ran varsity cross-country and track as a freshman peaking with a 2:03 800m, a 4:44 mile and a 10:19 two mile before I gave up running shortly after my freshman year as life became complicated.   Got Back into running as a young adult in the Air Force and ran my first half-marathon in 1:26.  Unfortunately my first Marathon was only a couple weeks after and I had a poor race (likely from running too hard in the half-marathon) and finished in 3:45.  I then started doing triathlons, but injury (two knee surgeries), school and personal life issues took over and I was out of the scene for a while.

Now for the important part of my life, riding.  When I started doing triathlons, I purchased a used Schwinn LeTour with downtube was a solid bike with decent components but it was also my worst leg during triathlons.  Fortunately, everyone who passed me on the bike, I later passed on the run (and then some).  Finally ended up getting a solid bike in 2004, a Fuji Cross (I still own).  I used this mostly as a road bike, but there were some decent double track areas where I lived in California and plenty of hardpack dirt paths to ride on.  I rode inconsistently over the years with my ultimate accomplishement being the 75 mile course of "The Worlds Hardest Hundred" now called "The Auburn Century".

History--Riding in NC
After moving to Fuquay Varina in 2005 I still did some road riding, catching the Cycling Spoken Here rides out of Cary on Saturday (50+ miles) or Sunday (30+ miles).  My biggest road bike accomplishment on the road in NC was likely riding the "3 Mountain Madness" ride...unfortunately, due to a lack of hill training, my ride turned into 2.5 Mountain Madness.  It was not long after that, due to a few close calls on the road that I talked to the wife about getting a Mountain bike.  Wanting to keep her husband safe, and willing to forgo the life insurance policy for a while, she agreed.

History--My First Mountain Bike, 2008
I knew nothing, and I mean nothing about mountain bikes.  I scoured the web.  I discovered MTBR and other sites.  I looked at REI, Performance, local bike shops and Craigslist.  I finally decided that I wanted the best bike I could possibly afford as to not need to do a ton of upgrades later.  My best bang for the buck (other than used) was a Motobecane Fantom Team.  It came decked out with great components for ~$1800 shipped and advertised at 24.5 lbs for a full-suspension bike.  I put on pedals and usable tires and it was still under 27 lbs. I was pretty stoked.

History--Beginning Night Riding
As the days started getting shorter I discovered night riding.  My first ride I had not idea what to expect.  I was at a trail I did not know (Legend Park) and had two cheap lights that did not help me see.  Still, I liked the excitement and decided I had to do more of this.  After a lot of research, I decided my best bang for the buck would be some LED torches from  The batteries did not last as long as traditional bike lights (1-2 hours) but I was not riding much longer that that anyway, and if I was I would just switch out a battery.  I love night riding.  The way the trail looks different at night, the was truly exhilarating.  If I was not hooked before, I certainly was now.  I decided to join TORC who sponsored many of the rides and I consistently began showing for at least one night ride a week.

History--First Race (sort of)--January Mountain Bike Marathon, 2009
Started riding the bike in the Summer of 2008 and I absolutely loved it.  Sure, after 8+ miles of single track, even on FS, my back was sore, my hands were sore and I was sucking wind, but I loved being on the trails.  I was hooked.  I decided to enter my first race, The January Mountain Bike Marathon (Jan. 2009, set up as more of a training ride really).  I had noticed that it was getting easier to keep up with guys that I had a tough time riding with when I first started, so why not try a race.  It is kind of a blur now, but the race invovled 6 miles of single track at Governors Creek, then ~30 road miles (much on dirt roads) and ending with 6 more miles of single track.  I ended up getting into a nice pace line on the road after working hard on the initial single track.  Unfortunately, when we started climbing up the last hill before entering the single track, I (and a couple others) started to fade back.  At about 1 mile into the single track my right leg started cramping (little did I know this was the beginning of a problem I would not get ride of).  I had never cramped before so I shifted up, started massaging the leg, drinking some water and taking it easy.  It seemed like it was feeling better so I started going harder again...then lock up.  I did not know what to do so I started pedaling with just my left leg as my right stuck out and I hoped the cramps would just go away.  Then the true nightmare began.  My left leg locked up and I had to fall over on the trail and pull my bike off the track and sit there.  After a couple minutes I was able to get up and walk...eventually I finished the race by sitting on my bike and coasting down an hill and walking up any incline.  I was able to pedal the last half mile or so without cramping by being in my highest gear.  Yeah, I learned a lot that day.  Oh did I mention it was 33 degrees at the start of the race and ~37 at the end?  Oh well. There were supposed to be prizes raffled off at the end of the race (according to the website) but many people had already left by the time I finished, and I found out prizes just weren't happening.  Oh well, I did not deserve anything anyway, so I packed it up and left...hoping not to cramp-up on the drive home.

More History is sure to come, but rather than writing my entire memoirs right here, I think I will interject some history throughout current updates whenever relevant.