Being born into a family whose father was a self professed “motor head”, always working on something with an engine and if it was something other than for the yard like a mover or tiller it never seemed to quite make it to the finish line. He drag raced as a young man and did some local dirt stockcar races, so sometime around 1980 he partnered with a guy he worked with to build a bracket racer (drag car) and to this day (2015) he still has the engine in his garage but the car has long since been gone and never was raced. We were never rich so I started on mini bikes that he would buy at flea markets or build himself and I would run through tank after tank of gas turning laps and dreaming of racing myself someday. Around 1981 I got my first real race bike, a used Yamaha YZ80 and I was on cloud 9 or so I thought. I rode that morning until dark or until I was told we had no more gas and thought MX here I come…. To my parents it was too much of a burden/expense and all I was doing was ruining the grass so I traded my motorcycle to a kid from town for his BMX bike and in June of 82’ I started racing, I would ride from sun up to sun down every day and moved quickly up to expert for the next couple of years until I discovered motorcycle road racing in 1985. Somehow I got some money together and off I went on what would be an addiction that I imagine was like the best drug someone could take, it consumed my every thought and waking moment for 20 years. Along the way I always enjoyed bicycles and would ride when I had time, but running always was my go to for fitness when I wanted to be in shape.
September 2nd 2002 I got a wakeup call after a crash at Road America, my right eye got blurry and my depth perception was off and down I went. I had noticed when my body temperature went up my right eye got blurry. After some test and a very uncomfortable lumbar puncture (spinal tap) the doc sat me down and said “you have MS”!!! I spent the next several months sitting around doing nothing, April 12th 2003 I did a 5K for the heck of it and noticed my eye was not blurry, the meds were working! So back to the motorcycle I went for a couple more years…..
On September 30th 2006 our first son was born and we named him Ryder, he showed up about 13 weeks early but was doing fine. In the back of my head I wanted him to stay away from motorcycles and dreamt of the day we could ride our bicycles together…. On May 18th 2010 we were blessed with twins, a boy and a girl (Lauren and Dylan). Ryder had some health issues and on February 26th 2013 we said goodbye to our little boy as he peddled up to heaven. In July of 2013 we decided to take a family trip to Paris to see the finish stage of the Tour De France and to visit friends in Germany, the race was amazing and I knew I wanted to ride a lot more after that.
When we arrived home I had discovered my bathroom scale was showing 207#’s and I am not tall or big in stature, a glance at some of the photos from our trip confirmed what I was for some reason not seeing in the mirror and I knew something had to be done. Back in November of 2012 I was sidelined from a badly broken leg and since that injury I was very inactive and it showed, I started to ride my bicycles a little bit and jogged a little bit and by April of 2014 I was 188# and not happy so I decided on that day I was going to run and race 5K’s every weekend. I got down into the high 19 min. bracket and was finishing well and that’s when the shin splints started and put an end to my running. The off time to let them heal was killing me as I had reached 168# by July and was very happy with my progress. Our friends from Germany came for their semiannual visit in October and on October 26th 2014 I decided I needed to be doing something and WORS seemed to be what I wanted to do. I bought some videos from Wheel and Sprocket and started riding on my fluid trainer (after dusting it off), I could only ride 20 minutes in the lowest gears before I ran out of steam. I knew I needed help so onto the internet I went and I found the Vision cycling team, I liked what I read about them; my next step was to send Nathan Guerra an e-mail to see if we could work together. We met at a coffee shop near his house to discuss my goals (which I thought were a bit lofty to say the least) but he made me feel they were possible.
Here we are almost 33 years since my first bicycle race and the day after Camrock; the site of my first Mountain bike win. The season has been progressive to say the least, a 3rd at Iola, a 2nd at Rhinelander and now a win. I feel great; I weigh 144#’s (down 63# from post 2013 Tour De France) and without VISION and a great coach I’m not sure what I’d be doing right now. Thank you to everyone on the team and our great sponsors for bringing me back to where my racing started, on a bicycle –Full Circle.