Friday, December 17, 2010

Things are darkest before the light

My racing career in St Louis started with me racing still for a team out of Champaign IL called Wild Card Cycling. It is a great group of mostly older guys who just LOVE to ride. It is headed by a great guy named Karl Crapse, who loves to ride his very cool looking bikes. I believe his goal was to have a very good racing team as well as a place for anyone who wants to ride to go. This group taught me a TON about riding, they took me in and showed me the ropes. They kept my desire high when I was just coming back into being an athlete. It was less than a year after joining this group of guys that I decided to move to the STL. It was a move that I had to make as there was really no advancement for me in Champaign, and no way for me to make more money which I really needed.
When I got to St Louis I looked for a team like the one that I came from. A group of guys willing to let me into their group, teach me what they knew, and race with me. It was much harder than it sounded. Any group that I was going to join I was going to just be "another rider" in a large group of people. I would just be pack fodder. After going on a bunch of rides with guys and paying attention to how people acted I decided I would do my own thing. I called Karl and asked him if he minded if I started a WC chapter down in St Louis. He was very cool with it and so began Wild Card Cycling STL. I brought in a friend of mine from college who pointed me in the direction of a parent and the gym I coach at. He would become one of my best friends and a mentor to me and my cycling "career". Mike Rickey was a great Cat 2 racer back in the mid 90's who quit his racing to start a career in systems engineering and have an awesome family who's 4 kids are btw great gymnasts on my team. I was enamored with the fact that he had a few times been in races with LA. He was my hero :-) I talked Mike into coming back into racing, which wasn't hard, and we started training together.
Mike taught me everything he knew, which was A LOT. He is also very open to new techniques and equipment.We were only a 2 man team but we KICKED ASS, or Mike kicked ass and I did a lot of leading out. Mike would do everything he could to help me do well but I am still just not that good. I was super pumped to do anything I could to help Mike as he had done a ton to help me improve light years over what I had done the season before.
Mike has an old friend that he raced with back in the 90's that had never stopped racing and was a beast. He was also an owner of a cool clothing line and was looking to start his own team. I was pumped to join with another guy like Mike who could teach me even more about racing.
To make a long story that I don't really want to tell short, we had some differences that should have been gone over at the start and we came as close to you can to splitting up as you can come. But I feel that Mike saved the day, helped everyone see the middle ground and NOW I feel like things are getting better everyday. Someone once told me that every friendship has a few bumps before things smooth out and I think that guy was very right. I am very hopeful, excited, and happy about this coming season and my team is going to do some big time damage when it comes time to put the anger into the pedals.

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