AKA – the continuing evolution of a fat dude…
Here I am in summer of 2006. Riding an old mountain bike on the road with my other fat old friends – Bob Roll and Greg LeMond. OK, we’re not really friends – just fat. I had taken many years off of the bike, and was inspired to get back on for the Trek 100. I did the 32 mile route that year. Slowly.
That was enough incentive to get me rolling again, literally. I had so much fun, and it felt so good to be doing something I loved so much, I started making time to get on my bike. Just a little at first – probably only did a handful more rides that year, but I did one very important ride: on the trails of the Southern Kettles.
My off-road skills were anemic, and that’s giving me more credit than I deserved, but I knew they were in there somewhere. Covered with years of rust and beer and God knows what else. I was slower than a stampede of turtles. Hill-climbing? That’s where my dominance really showed! I could climb anything under 10 feet tall in less than an hour. Maybe.
I rode a little more the following year, even got a road bike. I remember telling my friend Mark how proud I was after a 15 mile ride where I had averaged 17 mph. (This year I did a 161 mile “fun” ride and averaged 19.6mph). Late that summer I was really starting to feel the mountain bike bug again. My fitness was starting to shape up a little, and I had started trying to get out and ride a bit more. The whole idea of a single-speed bike really seemed to make sense to me. After all, I was a reformed BMXer – not a roadie. On the road, I had nothing, but get me into some single-track and I could at least hold my own with stronger guys by riding smart. In 2007, 29″ wheels were just starting to get some attention – most bikes sold still had 26″ wheels. Trek took a chance and produced a small run of Travis Brown inspired 69ers.
NOTE: When it comes to “stuff”, I am not a technical guy, I’m an impulsive guy. I’ve never researched a major purchase. I liked the idea of a single gear (only later did a I realize that you might need to change out the gears for different courses…) and I liked the idea of the 29er, but I wasn’t sold on it. The 26″ riders liked the cornering and climbing of their bikes, the 29″ riders loved the way their bikes flew on the flats and rolled over everything at speed. A 69er seemed to make sense so I bought one – without riding it.
2008 was the year that the MTB virus really took hold. I started riding the singlespeed quite a bit, getting out to the Kettles or Crystal Ridge occasionally to grind out a few miles.
Fast forward to 2011:
My 2011 season started with the Burnham Racing Spring Super Criterium on March 26th, and yes, it was snowing when we started. My 3rd road race ever, I managed to finish a respectable 13th in the Masters 4/5s and avoid getting crashed out coming into the sprint. Did a few more road races and 5 WORS races. Managed to get (3) 3rds, (1) 1st and (1) DNF, so 2012 will mean a move up to Singlespeed Comp/Open to get my butt handed to me. Even though I raced less than I wanted to, I rode more than I thought I would (and I’m still riding of course).
As always, time will tell.