How Did I Get Here?

How Did This Happen?


I mean, how did bikes happen to me, not, how did I happen to blog this week for Elden, although, I’ll tell you that if you want to know. Do you want to know? You do, don’t you? Whatever.


Here’s what happened. Last Friday, Elden IM’d me and said “Hey, I’m going to be moving next week, I need you to guest blog for me.”


I said “No.”


He said “So, you’ll have to log in as me, and MSN puts the date in for you automatically . . . “


I said “Hey, did you not hear me? I said No.”


He said “Whatever, anyway, 3 times will be enough, Monday, Wednesday, Friday I’m thinking.”


We went on like that for a bit, I’ll spare you the rest. I’ve known Elden for a long time. There’s no use arguing with him when he gets like that. And if I didn’t do this for him, you can be sure, he would get me back. Put pictures of me naked on the web (and, yes, he has some, and trust me, you don’t want to see them), steal all the power cords from my computer, have the shop mechanic fill my tubes with water. Get his brother in law to not pay me for a month. Something. Not worth it. So here I am. I don’t promise funny, or vitriolic, or anything.


I only promise to take up space. You know, like Chris Stevens in Northern Exposure. The radio station had one rule: No dead air. Dead being silent. I won’t be silent.


So How Did Bikes Happen?


To me, I mean. Well, by accident really. I was a ball and stick sport kind of guy in high school and college. Wasted my youth, really. I get angry just thinking about it. I grew up in Minnesota, but headed west to BYU for college, in order to fulfill my wildest dream, which was to conform to every expectation my family had for me. That went well, I think.


But toward the end of college, I had a friend who wanted to take me mountain biking, something I had never really heard of. He showed me a couple bikes he had, Cannondales, I think he called them Fat Boys. He told me they cost around $1,000 each. This was 1989, mind you, back when $1,000 meant something. Anyway, we rode up Rock Canyon, by most standards a really crappy ride. Talk about your first hit of Crack. I was immediately hooked.


However, since my parents were trying to wean me off the family teat, I was in no position to buy Ramen and Ketchup, much less a $1,000 bike, so I went back to the balls and the sticks.


But a few years later (after I met and married Kim), a favorite professor of ours, Cecilia Farr and her husband, Tracy, took Kim and me to Moab, where we rode Slickrock. Can you feel the weight of history? That was 1991, the bike was a Giant Sedona (later outfitted with a bitchin Rock Shox Mag 20), and I was wearing short John Stockton style shorts, no shirt, and Tevas.


Yes, I have pictures. No, you can’t see them. But my life was changed forever.


I could document my life since by listing children (3), or jobs (who cares), or houses (4). But it’s more accurate to do it by listing bikes. This is like in the movie Gattaca, where they go around checking people’s DNA to see if they’re cool or a likely sex partner. But bike history gives you a better idea of compatibility than DNA or sexual history.


Here are the bikes I’ve had:


The aforementioned Giant Sedona (The guy at Gorilla Bikes talked me up from the cheaper model, exposing a serious flaw in my character).


Jamis Dakar Sport (At various times rigid, Amp fork, and Softride stem. The Spectre Ultralight seatpost broke off under me halfway down Porcupine Rim. I still have the scar.)


Bridgestone, MB1 (Rigid, until I broke the fork off at the crown during the inaugural 24 Hours of Moab, on my first night lap).


Schwinn Homegrown Full (I scored this bike by BS’ing my way onto a grass roots racing pro-form—it was later stolen out of my in-law’s backyard, after a Wasatch Crest night ride).


Schwinn Homegrown Hardtail (Purchased with insurance money, later sold to bro-in law as his first real bike. He now kicks my ass, all the time.)


Salsa a la Carte (Got this back when they made these by hand, I dented it at the Tour of Canyonlands race, converted it to a singlespeed in a premature singlespeed phase, eventually phased it out).


Bridgestone RB1 road bike (Totaled in head on collision with large delivery van, along with parts of my body).


Gary Fisher Supercaliber, Marzocchi Z1 (Sold on MTBR to someone who then objected to several missing teeth on the big ring. Where did I lose those?)


Lemond Zurich Road (Sold after I was run off the road on the Alpine Loop by a woman in an SUV searching for a tissue. She was a really nice lady. I still have the scars.)


Cannondale R2000 CAAD 7 Road (I still have this bike, and plan to have it forever. The top tube is slightly bowed from when Kim drove into the garage with bikes on top, one week after I got this bike. Doesn’t seem like a structural problem, although I think about it when I get up over 55mph.)


Cannondale Gemini (Six inches front and back. I still have this bike, I loved this bike, but I haven’t ridden it in two years, which brings us to . . .)


Surly Karate Monkey SS 29er (Bought it used from Brad, this is the best bike I’ve ever had. It weighs about 30 lbs, which isn’t exactly optimal for a singlespeed. I plan to get new wheels, rigid fork, maybe put on old XTR V-brakes I have lying around. I finally counted the gearing when Brad eased it up for me for White Rim, moving from a 32X18 to a 32X20. I loooove this bike. I’m telling you, I will buy and sell no more forever.)


Here’s the Thing


My friend Paul, the judge, once asked me how I liked some tchocke I was riding in Moab. After I gushed for a minute, he said, “I don’t know why I asked you, you’re not trustworthy. You always think whatever you’re riding right now is the best thing ever.”


And he’s right. That’s how it’s turned out. The best bike in the world is the one I’m riding right now. Always. Always and forever.

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