1997- The Year I Got Serious About Bicycling: approx 500 miles.

Dad and Steve before a rideWith some mentoring, inspiration, and great weather, I learn just how far I can go, and how gratifying that is.

Sure, I had a series of bikes as a kid. My favorite was the yellow, 5-speed Raleigh Chopper I paid for with my paper route money.

But as an adult, even with an avid road cyclist for a Dad, I was only an occasional rider. There were years I’d get out a bit more often than other years, but as a career software engineer with a sedentary, indoors life style, I was usually too out of shape to stick with it. I remember riding a single mile one day in my late twenties, and thinking I was going to die. In time Dad and I started getting on the road with more regularity, and my conditioning improved. But to be truthful, I mostly did it because I liked hanging out with Dad, doing something we could share.

Then came 1997. I had the good fortune that August to meet a woman with a passion for outdoors activity, especially bicycling. And she wanted me to share it with her. And she wasn’t shy about letting me know it, which was great. She was much fitter than me, but in time I learned to really enjoy spending hours in saddle, trying to keep up. And I was pleasantly surprised just how far I could push myself. She taught me to stay hydrated and fueled on the bike, and I found I could go even farther.

My girlfriend and I ended our relationship in early 1998, but she had already given me a great gift: confidence that I could get strong and fast, shed some pounds, and have a great time in the outdoors. I was and have been hooked ever since.

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