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  1. #1
    My other ride is your mom
    Reputation: Maadjurguer's Avatar
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    The high mark, subsided: A roll call for those still in Fight Club

    This is a call to all of those flotsam souls who got caught up in the sea change swell that overtook many of us in the past few years economy. This is a roll call of sorts; this is an affirmation of our savior, the mountain bike, our Fight Club....and those of us still fighting.

    Many of us a few years ago started having troubles, and yet.....we're still here. The hardest of us, learned from Tyler Durden:
    "Man, I see in fight club the strongest and smartest men who've ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy **** we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off."

    When I fell on hard times, many folks wrote to me voicing their similar problems, their struggles, their challenges; and yet every voice, every letter and every PM had a singular thread: hope.

    I find myself in a comfy job once again, square on my balance sheet and flush with cash.....yet changed. I want to hear from those other folks out there who went through what I did. I want to hear from the folks who lost their homes......and more.......how your bike played a role in your sanity.....because I know it did.

    I had a few letters from folks who lost it all, like I. I'd especially like a PM on the subject, or voiced here if you're so inclined....if you're still on here. These past years sucked.....but I now find myself, still riding, still searching....and yet, I'm now searching for what's next.

    What's next is the most difficult question of all. In a way, when you're going through the financial difficulties, the personal and professional trials......what's next is the big ride. It's the few days you can sleep under the stars, the best run down Holbert you've ever had or the moment you had 10 Antelope cross in front of you just as Phish played "Run like an Antelope out of Control" on your iPod......on a 3rd day of hard riding and bonking.....I now think of these as the easy days....they just happened.

    There are those who are still struggling....I want to hear about it. And there are those who've moved on.....and yet are marked by the change and wondering what's next.....and I guess are like me....holding on to what they gather, afraid to make a move....and then they see a new bike, and start dreaming.

  2. #2
    My other ride is your mom
    Reputation: Maadjurguer's Avatar
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    Post Script: I promised a few honorable souls a pot of gold a while back for protecting a ladies honor.....I have not forgotten.

  3. #3
    How much further ???
    Reputation: Douger-1's Avatar
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    I would say that quote sums it up for me. Mountain biking has gotten me through a lot. My avatar quote of "I hate what Ive become" and signature of "I wish I could ride more" about sum it up for me.

    "I hate what Ive become" referes to fact that I feel I've lost who I am in all the stress of the day. Im not happy with myself, my job, my inability to do the things I want for my family. There are times I truely hate what Ive become. I feel defeated. A mear shell of the person I once was.

    The "I wish I could ride more" referes to the fact that at times the only thing that has gotten me through is my mountain biking. It makes me happy. Allows me to disconnect from the chaos of the world if only for an hour or two. I definitly need to do it more but struggle with finding the balance with the 4 other people in my family who depend on me.

    Im really looking forward to my first AES race in Nov. It gives me a purpose. Something to shoot for. I feel like no matter how hard I work at my job it doesnt mean anything. I doesnt result in anything. But preparing for a race like this I know my efforts will pay off. And the saying goes that "only through suffering can you obtain true enlightenment". I know this will be true for the PPP 50 for me. I hope its true for my life.
    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did." Mark Twain

  4. #4
    parenting for gnarness
    Reputation: chollaball's Avatar
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    surrender. its easier to live on your knees than die on your feet.

  5. #5
    pedaller
    Reputation: Noelg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chollaball View Post
    surrender. its easier to live on your knees than die on your feet.
    Which explains why most people do...
    "Nobody ever told me not to try" - Curious George Soundtrack by Jack Johnson

  6. #6
    SamuraiBunnyGuy
    Reputation: longhairmike's Avatar
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    as honorable as "he died doing what he loved" may be for an epitaph,

    i could get used to people chuckling behind my back, "man, he still rides like a pu55y at age 95"

  7. #7
    How much further ???
    Reputation: Douger-1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chollaball View Post
    surrender. its easier to live on your knees than die on your feet.
    Sounds like taking a DNF 2 miles into a 50 mile race because its going to be too hard.
    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did." Mark Twain

  8. #8
    mtbr member
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    I had to turn on the laptop for this one...

    I have always been in to bike riding, but I got into it a lot more after a pretty bad motorcycle accident a long while back. My physical therapy was sitting on a stationary bike, so I figured it was a good time to invest in a good mountain bike. Probably the best silver lining after a near fatal dark cloud.

    Not too long after the accident, I got my first official post college job. Things looked stable, so I bought my first condo, closing date May 5th (held a party every year on that date). A year in to the job, in an effort to make the company look more profitable, my position was given to someone in our Shanghai facility, and I was laid off. Residing with me in my condo was a fellow rider who worked at a reputable shop, and got me a job building and fixing bikes. So now I'm working part time at a bike shop, and had a mortage to deal with, but life was pretty great. I was busy paying my mortgage with a credit card (debt is easier to fix than debt and a foreclosure, right?) and life was pretty great. I'm surrounded by bikers, going for great rides, kept me sane. Someone in my old industry came in to the bike shop and I eventually got a great job. Great benefits, great pay, and I can start digging myself out of this hole.

    Well them comes my current wife. I've known her since I was 6, and she came back in to my life. She lived here in AZ, while I was still in CT (long story, I'll spare the details). So the condo went up for sale, and I moved to AZ in 2008. I am still in quite the financial hole, but I had the bike, and tons of great riding awaited me.

    It took me a while to find my first job, and what a crap job it was. But it enabled my wife and I to (along with my VA benefits) buy our first house together. We kept it reasonable, and things were looking up, and we dreamed of one day having an actual savings account.

    Since things seemed stable, we had a daughter. A few short months later, my wife got laid off. Well it was crunch time now. We sold everything we didn't need, lowered every bill we could, and began clipping coupons, everything. We did everything we could to keep our house. Now I finally have a good job, and get a very large increase in pay come January (weird probation period). I have great job security, and a great retirement plan and everything.

    Meanwhile I am still on a low salary, but I can still ride. I may be riding in gear from 4 years ago (oh its really worn, like WORN) with a bike seemingly held together by hopes and dreams, but I can still ride. This bike has done several things for me. First, it has enabled me to see some of the most beautiful sights this world can offer. But it has been my therapist, my friend, and my supplier of euphoria during a time that saw a grown man cry from time to time (actually getting a bit emotional as I type). But it has also reminded me how great people can be. I am not easy on my bike, so stuff breaks and wears out. I am riding on a set of donated tires, a donated crank, and a rebuilt rear shock from a donation. I have had friends also offer their bikes while mine was down.

    So not only did my bike bring me great joy and provide a light in what seemed like a dark world, but it allowed me to be around a great group of people. So, now that there is a light at the end of the dark financial tunnel, I am looking forward to riding in new gear soon, along with a bike that will be tuned soon.

    Even when things are rough, it's great to know that a bicycle can show you how great life is and how beautiful both people and the world can be.

    Thanks for the thread,

    tyson
    “Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world.”
-Grant Petersen

  9. #9
    mtbr member
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    The high mark, subsided: A roll call for those still in Fight Club

    I can't even imagine what tough times some of you have gone through. But it's always nice to know that no matter how bad it gets, a lot can be forgotten once the ass hits the saddle.
    Nobody gives a s#$t you singlespeed.

  10. #10
    My other ride is your mom
    Reputation: Maadjurguer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Casual Observer View Post
    I can't even imagine what tough times some of you have gone through. But it's always nice to know that no matter how bad it gets, a lot can be forgotten once the ass hits the saddle.
    That is the point......good stuff so far.

  11. #11
    mtbr member
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    One of the things that I like about this website is it gives me things to look forward to. As much as I've been able to see, the photo Friday, along with many others, reveal to me how much more there is. Once all the ends meet, I'd like to give bikepacking a whirl. I did my first race last year (again, paid for by a friend who wanted a partner) and it was really fun.
    “Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world.”
-Grant Petersen

  12. #12
    dirt visionary
    Reputation: clockwork's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Casual Observer View Post
    I can't even imagine what tough times some of you have gone through. But it's always nice to know that no matter how bad it gets, a lot can be forgotten once the ass hits the saddle.
    Amen!
    Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of
    arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body.

  13. #13
    Always in the wrong gear
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    When in doubt, ride it out! This mantra has gotten me through some stressful times. Just glad I'm not the only one that uses Mt. biking as a medicine.

    Let's hear more stories!

  14. #14
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    Cool thread!

    I can't say I've been through a lot of hardship. But I put in some pretty big hours for years at my past two jobs and riding was the one thing that kept me from working even bigger hours. Biking kept me sane, and the passion for it always gave me something to keep the stoke going when work was stressing me out. Seriously, I don't know how people who don't have hobbies cope...

    I worked for a real estate developer in SoCal so with the years of sh*tty market eventually my company decided to exit the US market. I was offered my old job back but declined it and decided to stay here and take a bit of time off. Co-workers were starting up new companies and such so I had opportunities, but nothing materialized and I was not seeing many interesting job opportunities. A couple months turned into 21 months off before I finally got back to work.

    The promise I had made to myself with the time off is that I had to make good use of it. No sitting on the couch watching tv. In fact, cancelling tv was the first thing I did. I rode my a$$ off for the whole time. And when I wasn't riding I was doing trailwork, preparing for trips or recovering from trips. I also got into bikepacking and back into home brewing. So I was definitely busy. Busier in fact, than when I was working and didn't have time to attempt all these projects.

    I'm not one to keep stats of my riding but I figured when I started looking for work that I should have an explanation for my time off. I went through my photo directories and my gps tracks and counted the following:

    640 days off work
    210 days road tripping (32 road trips total)
    125 days local riding
    110 days trail work

    Thats 5 days a week road tripping, riding local or doing trail work which makes that pretty much a full time job. I certainly have no regrets whatsoever. I basically considered this taking a couple years of my retirement now.

    I was fortunate to have a bit of money saved up so I could do this without too much worry. I did have to downsize my rent and car expenses beforehand to make it work. And I did set a minimum bank balance I was willing to get down to (which I hit the week I went back to work!)

    In the end I had the best time of my life. Got to meet and ride with a ton of great people and experience a lot of great places. I know not everyone can take off the time that I have taken off. But if you have to be off work there is a lot you can do to optimize your time off. I would highly recommend taking off as much time as you can and ride as much as you can, while you can, as you never know when life might rope you back in.

    I would much rather have to live on the cheap later in life and have great memories than possibly be more comfortable yet unable to do things physically or have regrets about things I never got the chance to do when I could have done them.

  15. #15
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    The high mark, subsided: A roll call for those still in Fight Club

    Definitely not as bad as what some of you have been there, but here's how my bike has helped me recently. After being with my girl for four years, I finally decided it was time to tie the knot and started looking for a ring. Well, she had different plans apparently and long story short I was single less than a week after looking for a ring for whom I "thought" would me around forever. Luckily for me, I just happened to purchase my "dream bike" literally one day before we broke up, and honestly that has taken so much of the sting away. July was by far the most rides I've done in a month. I'm happiest when I'm riding. I'm thinking about the ride, not about being alone, not trying to figure out what went wrong with a relationship that seemed perfect, and not feeling the usual sting that comes from a tough break up. Sitting at just over a month since "d-day," I'm almost 20lbs lighter, stronger, and flat out crushing all my previous best times on strava. Sure, it still sucks at times and I know it's going to be a long road before I can move on, but that new bike and hitting the trails I love took so much heartache out of the situation, especially during those 2hrs that I'm on the trail. Riding has really become who I am, it's how people I know identify me now and I'm very fortunate to have stumbled into this sport years ago.

  16. #16
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    I moved to AZ from another country about 6 years ago on a workers visa. I liked Phoenix a lot, then a year later my friend introduced me to mountain biking in Papago. Then I really loved Arizona and T100 and SoMo and Sedona and McDowells and White Tanks, and Deems and Sonoran, all of it! Almost 95% percent of the friends I made here in the US is from mtb or mtb related.
    Unfortunately this year, my former company decided my job belonged back in Asia and I still didnt have my residency, so I had to take another job out of state with another company until i get my residency. So now i'm here in the East coast... everytime I close my eyes all I can think of is the sweet rocks, drops, climbs, red sunsets, and that distinct desert scent in the air. I swear it is my mission to go back to live in AZ and ride in the valley of the sun once again.

  17. #17
    mtbr member
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    I have tons of stories to share about the bike rides I've done, the digging in dirt and soul, and the supported love of my spouse over the last few years. Its been a subtle but profound change for me. I'm a better person for the long miles and trails ridden and imagined. Create good stress and manage "it" out of doors is a great form of therapy. The pressures we men put on ourselves for financial reasons is huge and sometimes damaging of our soul, even if we don't really mean it. We have been given a formula from our society that tells us what is "success", which is chasing ones and zeros. The accumulation of stuff... The bicycle has a nice advantage to help us in our daily life. It's when I can bring the lessons learned on the trail back home to incorporate into daily practice is where Soul Riding has its place.
    Besides riding, today is a great day to learn. I've been listening to podcasts about a number of subjects. Healthy eating, history, comedy, and the alternative life experience have been taking the place of background music. Joe Rogan anyone?
    There is a big difference between ripping and skidding.

  18. #18
    Rhino
    Reputation: urbanseeds's Avatar
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    Some days...
    I wanna live beneath the dirt.
    Where I'd be free from push and shove.

    I'm so poor I have to jerk off my dog to feed my cat.

    Then it all gets better by a long quiet bike ride, or the charity concert ticket from a friend to dance and twirl the night away to String Cheese or WSMFP.

    But today...life is starting to be Irie.

  19. #19
    shred my gnar
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    nice... sci, phish & wsmfp all in one post! epic.

  20. #20
    Shovel Ready
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    Plain and simple for me. I have been told I will need a kidney or be on dialysis in the near future. Only time I don't think about this issue is when I am riding my bike. Nothing beats the time I have on two wheels.
    Currently at Mayo Clinic being tested for a kidney transplant. Donors welcome.

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