Yesterday, as I came home from my ride and sat my ancient, well stickered box full of gear on the kitchen table, I happened to glance down at the large 2002 24 Hours of Snowshoe bumper sticker that adorns one side (right between a bikeman.com and Merge Records sticker). I have obviously seen the sticker a million times in the past eleven years, but for some reason yesterday it hit home and reminded me of what all that ONE race spawned.
I had been riding mountain bikes for years, but prior to 2002 I had only done a couple of XC races and I had never done an endurance race. That, along with my cycling life, changed when I signed up with a 5 Person Open team for Snowshoe.
A 5 Person team at a 24 hour event is not all that exciting or difficult, and I would only do one now is if there was LOTS of beer and a stripper or two involved, but back in ’02 I became obsessed with it. I trained like mad for that race and was so nervous in the weeks leading up to the race that I coaxed the Shingles Virus out of me. All of that just to do three laps in 24 hours. Eeesh.
I suppose it’s the obsession and all that came after doing that ONE race that really matters:
- A few 4 person 24 hour teams
- 10+ 100 mile races
- Numerous 6, 8, 12 and 24 Hour Solo events
- Several 50 mile races
- Years and years of
bloggingblathering about racing bikes
- The launch of XXC Magazine in 2009 (thought it would be a cool mag)
- The demise of XXC Magazine in 2013 (turns out I was wrong)
- Thousands of hours on my bike
- Thousands of dollars spent on bikes, race fees and parts
- Thousands and thousands of miles in the car driving to races
- Meeting a bunch of new people and friends from all over the world
- Riding lots of cool trails and seeing new places
Would I change anything? Beyond doing some different races or training differently– Nope.
I never excelled at racing and never will (especially with the thirty pounds I have added to my frame since 2002!), I don’t race as much, or ride as long anymore and the idea of doing a 24 hour solo race now seems like the dumbest thing you could ever do on a bike. I still ride, I still race, and in my own way I still have fun… even when it hurts. Still, I can’t help but wonder what direction my life. for better or worse, would have taken had I not signed up for Snowshoe back in 2002?