I was one of those kids riding a bike with 12” wheels at the age of 3, using it to explore my neighborhood, and scratch an early itch to travel. My friends and I made jumps and caught enough air to knock our handlebars loose, knock wheels out of true, break off anything made of plastic, and eventually reduce a Huffy or Murray to be only worthy of ghost riding down a flight of steps. Life as a youngster involved grand adventures by bike, but my late teens were focused on skiing, and it was only during some summer days that I looked at my mid 90s fully ridged trek and went out for long adventure rides so foreign to my muscles I’d be unable to walk down steps at the end of it. My bike would then sit for months in between those rides.
It wasn’t until I was 22 that I entered my first race and got hooked on competition. By the time I was 30 I’d ridden a variety of races, from downhill to short track to an 8 hour race. I’d also bike toured for over a year (bike49.org) so I didn’t think my horizons would expand much farther. Anything new seemed too dangerous or too painful. But in the spring of 2012 I became a masochist and enjoyed the feeling of being thrashed after 12 hours on the bike, or rather, maybe I didn’t feel so trashed after 12 hours on a bike. I tackled 100 mile dirt races and then in July the CTR.
Since 2012 the CTR has held a certain fascination in my mind, perhaps being the home state race and all, and each year since, when late July rolls around, I want to be back out there with everyone else. Loving the idea of something and loving doing something are two very different things. For 2015 I had no good reason to be out there but was still fascinated with the idea. I worried I’d hate life after two days but if that happened I couldn’t quit; I had to learn my lesson no matter how quick I’d forget it. But 2015 was something different. I learned how to enjoy the moment and became one of those smiling faces, at least as much as I like to smile, but smiling on the inside. Now I have three good reasons for continuing on with these adventures that slice through the heart of night: I love the idea of it. I love being out there. I love the memories. Game on!