The year was 1995
After writing yesterday's tale of the "rites of passage" , it got me thinking into my own entry to this sport. It brought me back to 'Day 1' of my new found sport.
I was around 25, maybe 26 years old. I bought my first house, I was working and trying to make ends meet. I was playing some sports, but I was kind of 'in between' stages in my life. I have played sports as a kid , had lots of fun, but now it was time to get serious, right. So, I put my sports on the shelf, and proceeded to be a good father, husband and provider, there was no time for games any more,right.
However, there was something missing in my life, I couldn't put my finger on it, but I knew I needed something to do....so, I bought a bike. I mean, I had really missed riding my bike. I thought back to the days when I used to race my friends around my block back in Queens. I remember the greatest x-mas gift ever...my Schwinn Varsity 10 spped , back in 1975 that bike was the real deal! Man I loved that bike. I rode that bike everywhere, I raced my friends around the block,and I don't think anybody ever beat me on that bike. However, that bike was later stolen from me while I was riding it...that's a story for a later date.
I decide to get a bike, nothing crazy. I spent $125.00 at Caldors for a Mountain Bike. It was old school, no shocks or suspension, but it did have nobby tires and I could ride over stuff. So, I took this bad boy out to Manorville and road aimlessly in the woods. That worked for about 2 years or so, until I found out about some trails in Shoreham. It was there when I stumbled onto other riders, guys my age with the same passion for riding, except these guys were hardcore, they rode every Sunday and they were fast. So, I started meeting up with them and we would chase each other around for an hour or so. Good times.
So, it got me thinking into thinking about some of my first experiences on the bike;
1.I rode 2 years without padded shorts...I couldn't ride around the block now without them.
2.My first real Mountain Bike, bought that machine in 1998, a Cannondale V500, full suspension, Hydraulic Disk brakes, Hydraulic Suspension, it's a 40lb beast...btw, I still have that bike, and it is my favorite, and if it continues to rain, I will ride it tomorrow in Shoreham...somethings never change.
3. My first race...The Vermont 50, an epic Mountain Bike race in Vermont, with 10,000ft of climbing, I was ill prepared and rode that 40lb Mountain Bike of mine, but I finished, took me 7 hours...and I cried when I crossed the finish line..can't make that stuff up. Oh... I wound up taking 2 hours off my time the very next year.
4. My first road ride was on a borrowed bike , a size 54cm (way too small) and it was at the Early Birds! My friend and co-worker Rob, an avid cyclist kept trying to convert me to the road, he offered to lend me his other bike and just give it a try. So, I met him in KK in Manorville. I managed to hang on with the group until the Tanks. I even took a pull, I was hyperventilating and proceeded to blow myself up, but hey, I loved it and I was hooked.
5.My first Road Bike, Cannondale R2000, Bought that in 2002 , I still have that bike and ride it most training days.
6. The first time I stayed with the group the entire ride.
7. The first time I made it back with the group that broke away.
8. The first time leading the group back into the parking lot. Winning that last sprint was like winning the Tour De France.
Looking back, I never realized just how big of a purchase that 1st Mountain Bike from Caldor's was. All I can say is...Good thing I didn't purchase a Bowling Ball that day.