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  1. #1
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    Reputation: Douger-1's Avatar
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    New found passion.

    So I have been mountain biking since the mid 90's but took a big 8 year break and stared riding again in 2010. In that time I moved from Illinois to Arizona and gained about 20 lbs. For the past 3 years or so my riding consisted of rides between typically 10-15 miles which would take me 90-120 min. I would always have to stop at the top of the climbs to catch my breath but I typically recovered quickly. I lost some weight and was feeling good but I kept hearing about these endurance rides and something called AES. The Arizona Endurance Series.

    It sparked an interest. I couldn't fathom the distances some of these people were riding. It seemed impossible for me but the spark of interest never really went away. There was always that little voice saying "I wonder if I could do that?"
    So one day I decided to try it. There was a new race fairly close to my house that would utilize some single track that I have ridden previously. I figured this would be my foot into the door and man did I pick a beast of a ride. The AES PicketPost Punisher. 50 miles and 8100 ft of climbing.

    I trained for 3 months with my only goal being to not DNF. I learned so much about my ability or lack of ability. As a self supported race I had to learn about nutrition and packing everything I needed including the necessary things to perform trail repair. Getting stuck 20 miles out in the Sonoran desert is no treat.

    Well it took me 10 hours and 7 minutes to finish the race. No DNF. I cramped on and off for the last 25 miles and I generally felt like crap when I finished. But something odd happened. I wanted more. I wanted to do it again. I couldn't stop thinking about it. What was wrong with me? Hours earlier I was yelling every expletive I could think of as my quads and hamstrings cramped at the same time. I wondered why someone would choose to do this and yet now just minutes after the race ended I felt sad it was over. Lucky for me the AES had another race just 2 weeks later. As I completed my second AES race I couldn't help but think back on how far I've come. From riding 10-15 miles per week to just completing my 2nd AES race in as many weeks logging over 122 miles, 18,000 verticle ft of climbing for almost 20 hours of ride time, I had indeed come a long way.

    Since August I have logged 663 miles with almost 80,000 ft of climbing. I never thought in a million years that I could come close to those numbers (and I know this is nothing compared to some people). These AES races have sparked a new and very strong passion for mountain biking in me and I have met some really amazing people along the way. I've signed up for my third AES race which will be a 68 mile ride in Dec. I'm hooked.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails New found passion.-cam00080.jpg  

    New found passion.-cam00077.jpg  

    “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

  2. #2
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    Pretty impressive numbers for most Doug. I am in a similar boat as you were (before your Enduro spark). Used to ride, took a bunch of time off, gained some weight (unfortunately much more than you did) and am now back at it. I have a long way to go before I could ride 60-70 miles on the trail in one sitting, but I am working towards it. Not sure if I have any interest in competing, but would love to do some long endure type rides for fun. Sadistic I am sure, but that's the way us Gen-Xrs roll. great job. can you post your training schedule or a sample?

  3. #3
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    Hey thanks! I didnt really follow any specific training schedule per say. I would typically have my "big" (> 30 miles) long rides on the weekend with 2 smaller rides (~15 miles) during the week either before or after work. As you know not all miles are created equal in mountain biking so I spent a good amount of time analyzing the GPX track and tried to tailor my rides to what the course was going to dish out. About half of the 8000 ft of climbing was going to occur in the first 15 miles of the PicketPost race so I found other rides that were a similar forest road climb with a lot of vertical feet and focused on those.
    Bottom line I think its more about being consistent than anything. Just work on getting your miles up and be consistent. It will come.

    As far as competing I think its more along the lines of marathons. While there are some who do want to "win" most are just out there to have fun and shoot for a personal best. Everyone is supportive of each other and there is plenty of beer drinking and grilling afterwards.
    “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
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    Quote Originally Posted by Douger-1 View Post
    But something odd happened. I wanted more. I wanted to do it again. I couldn't stop thinking about it. What was wrong with me?
    Awesome post! Good to see you have got the bug. I like long rides for the adventure and the challenge. I get bored riding the same stuff all the time so this opens up a whole new world of possibility for linking stuff together and checking out new places. Keep it going!

  5. #5
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    Good story. I've had a somewhat similar experience the last 18 months. I have a long way to go though.

    Quick ? - what is your bike? I can't tell from the photo, but it looks interesting.

  6. #6
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    Its a Transition TransAm 29er. AM steel HT.
    “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

  7. #7
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    congrats and thanks for the inspiration
    Keep The Rubber Side Down

  8. #8
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    Congrats, that's quite the ramp up in mileage. I gave the endurance thing a go about 7 years ago, trained hard for about 6 months (so I thought) went to the US, did 2 races, had fun on the 1st although did suffer, had great trails, suffered like hell on the 2nd. Kept at the big miles/long rides thing for another few years until more people started riding and just weren't as fit, got boring having to wait all the time on everyone else, so just started riding for fun and cut the mileage down. Just had dengue and lost pretty much all fitness and decided I want to do those long epic rides again, even if it means solo, I just miss covering some good miles and being very fit. Keep it up, work on your nutrition (that's the key to these things) and main thing, have FUN.
    One day your life will flash before your eyes, will it be worth watching??
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  9. #9
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    Your experience mirrors mine as well, for some reason it is incredibly addictive. Great story!
    I'm not a vegetarian because I love animals, I just hate vegetables.

  10. #10
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    Doug,
    It's funny how it all comes together, huh? Like many others I was in a very similar situation about 3 years ago. Just wait until you run through the full AES schedule, that's when you'll start pouring over topo maps to create new routes to explore. Mix in some bikepacking and it's ON, no route will be off limits and you'll find yourself down at Parker Canyon Lake in mid-April some year waiting for the start of the AZT300. There are worse things to be addicted to!! See you at the McDowell race.
    Ski. Ride. Hike. Be.
    My Two Schillingsworth

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