I tried to start a politically charged blog last spring only to realize that posting to it only made me angrier! I know that was the whole idea of the blog in the first place, Stand Up and Speak Out, I just quickly lost interest. I thought sharing about the activity that has changed my life would maybe keep my, and your interest a little longer!
So let me start with my story! I bought a mountain bike a little over a year ago in order to lose the weight that I had put on after getting back into retail. We had bought my wife a cruiser, and I got myself a bike a couple of weeks later so that we could ride around together. I quickly fell in love with riding around and started to ride further and further. Just as I was starting to make a little 10 mile loop on the road, I started to feel as if I was coming down with some sort of virus. I kept riding 3-4 days a week anyways, but never seemed to get sick or feel better.
After a month, I decided to go see my doctor. After some tests, he informed me that I had the Epstein Barr Virus. Mono. It became all I could do is go to work. The doctor prescribed me a medication to give me enough energy to make it thru my work day. A side effect of this medication was hunger! In the 7 months that I was sick, I managed to put on about 60 pounds. As I stated above, I was into my seventh month of sickness when my doctor and I decided that was enough. There is something about your doctor saying, "you too fat, you need to lose weight" It's like thanks doc, you put me on the meds that made me like this! Bottom line though, he was right! I was way to fat! So I decided to do what it would take to change.
That is when my bike changed my life! I started to hit the trails. It wasn't easy. I road and puked, I rode and walked, and I rode and felt like dying! I always rode alone at that point, so there wasn't much to compare my lack of strength to! Occasionally a rider would blast past me and make me feel he burn though! I started to ride 6-7 days a week! I was enjoying it that much. I had a couple local hills that I made to a goal to make it up without stopping. After a while the pounds were melting away, easy. I started to climb bigger hills, fly faster on my descents and accomplish the goals that I set.
I quickly realized that I wanted to race. So I entered my first race in November 2006. I had lost 55+ pounds and was riding an average of 15 dirt miles a day. I raced the winter classic at Southridge in Fontana Ca. I entered the 200 lbs.+ division. After a protest from one of the riders in my class, I ended up with 2nd place hardware! What a sweet day! I had so much fun! I also had my work cut out for me! I learned a huge amount on that day! I didn't know how I was going to make it to the Winter Series that started Jan. 2007!
I continued to train and learn. I registered for the 200+ class for the season and raced my the first race 1/13/07. What a day! There were snow flurries at the track the day before the race, and arriving to the park early Saturday morning, the temperature was a freezing 28 degrees! On top of that the Santa Ana winds were blowing 40-60 mph! I managed to get warmed up but as soon as they lined us up for the race, we waited for a good 20-25 minutes in the freezing cold wind. By the time the whistle blew, everyone of us was shaking violently! It took me a good five minutes into the race to start to warm up! There was a group that took off like mad, but we quickly caught up to them as traffic slowed the pace. I managed to get into the lead but was caught behind some slower kids from another class as we started into the 1st descent. During one of the sandy drops, I somehow dropped my chain. That allowed 2 people from my class to pass me up. I quickly caught and passed both but was passed in the flats by one again. I finished 10 minutes quicker than my November time and about a minute behind 1st place.
I was stoked! I can't believe how much fun this is! I have met some great people at these races and look forward to each coming challenge! I competed in the second race of the season last Saturday the 17th. 1st place baby! I made plenty of mistakes and have a lot of known areas that I know I can improve, so the challenge gets that much more exciting!
I hope to race 20+ races this season if things fall into place! That is a hefty schedule but I hope to be ready to race in the Sport class by the end of this season! I will follow up as much as possible including pictures, links, training, and anything else that may interest others?!