Riding Bikes, AKA Cycling

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Cycling saved me. When I moved to Santa Barbara in 1992 I began mountain biking with my uncle and his buddies on their weekly Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoon rides. On my first ride with them I barely made it the top of the steep hill they rode as training for their winter backcountry ski trips. I did better on the second ride and improved with each subsequent ride until eventually I was the first of the group to reach the top of the climb. A year later a mountain biker I passed on the trail suggested I try racing. He told me he raced, and from what he could tell I was able to pass him without any problem, so he thought I'd do pretty well considering he had been racing for a while.

I entered the next race I could in the beginner category and won. Winning that race gave me a reason to feel good about myself for the first time in a while. My last years in high school and first in college had been somewhat challenging. But that small victory changed things and I quickly became obsessed with racing. Dedicating time to training distracted me and taught me some discipline. Success at races gave me confidence as I climbed the ranks within the sport, and my love of cycling helped me cultivate a healthy, active lifestyle I continue to this day. I continued racing through college, briefly flirted with the desire to turn professional, but eventually had to quit and get a job after graduating from college in debt with student loans. By then I was already 24 and there were already world champions younger than me, so I didn't worry about the decision. These days I still ride several times a week both on my mountain and road bikes, continue to love the sport as a fan and participant, and plan to do so for the rest of my life. In short, I'm a bike geek.