I was asked to write a short bio for a race I was entering. The first copy I emailed the race director wasn't even proofed, but after writing it I thought that it would make an interesting Blog Post.
Enclosed are the highlights of my 48 years on Earth as they apply to ultra racing. They are almost in chronological order although some are continuous and can't be put at any one place on the list.
1st - I was a Paper Boy back in Waupun, WI. I believe every great ultra racer starts as a paperboy in the North. Riding your bike everyday in all types of weather is a good beginning for a 12-15 year kid. It kinda makes you tough.
2nd - I was a wrestler. As a sport, wrestling is probably the most demanding. I was also a very determined wrestler, placing 2nd in the WI High School State Championship and winning the AAU Championship in 1981. This was at a weight of 155 lbs. This is the same weight of many of my current ultra racing competitors. I grew up in college and was a Division 3 All American at 177 lbs. A weight I still wish I was. Most ultra athletes were involved in some sort of athletics before moving to long distance.
3rd – I was a soldier and a Military Officer – My short and varied military career began in 1982. I ran out of mony to go to college after my freshman year so I signed up for ROTC. However, it was so late in the year that all of the Army Boot Camps were full. My only recourse was Marine Corps Boot. MCRD San Diego will kinda change your mind set. I completed Marine Boot and was transferred into the National Guard where I was commissioned after two years. Officer Basic Course also had an impact on my life. It led to my relocation to Arkansas and taught me the very important saying, "What, are they going to do take away your birthday?". Once you understand that concept you free yourself.
4th - I am the first Computer Science major from Ripon College. It took me 6 years with a couple of semesters in other places as I made enough money to finish up, but I was the first Computer Science major at the Liberal Arts School. I wrote the major, and I think they wanted me to leave so much that they let me count any class I took toward the major.
5th – I am the owner of Applied Computer Solutions, Inc. Building a company into a very successful and profitable venture requires the ability to plan and execute as well as learning that recurring revenues are much more important than one-time sales. Owning the company also provides the needed income that is required to travel all over the USA to compete in ultracycling events.
6th – I am married to Trish. Trish is what keeps me going in the right direction. If you have met Trish, then you already understand. If you haven't, then when you do meet her you will understand.
7th – I am the father of three kids. Katelyn, Rachel and Allen. The girls are high school senior and crew members. My son Allen is 13 and is my weight lift and yoga buddy as well as my spin riding buddy. Raising kids teaches you patience and, in my case, it brought me back from being a workaholic business owner that was 60 lbs overweight to being the inner competitor that I am. About 10 years ago my daughters wanted to play soccer and they needed a coach. It got me off my ass and turned me into a coach and an adult soccer player. Next, they wanted to do a kids tri which got me into triathlons and mountain biking.
8th – I decided to become a Mtn Bike Champion. The year I did my first Tri I also did a MTB Race as a Clydesdale. It hurt bad. It was on the hilliest course in Arkansas and I almost walked away. Instead, I set my goal for the following year on becoming the AMBCS Clydesdale Champion. To do this, I built a training plan that included attending PAC tours coaching week. That year I went on to win most of the races in the Clydesdale division and win the champsionship. I've met many great people and learned lots in MTB Racing. I’ve continued to race MTB’s over the years and even won my first Cat 1 Race in ‘09.
9th – I am the 2007 USAT Long Course National Champion in the old fat man (clydesdale masters) category. I had done a number of tris in 2005 and in 2006 I set my goal as completing IM Wisconsion. 2007 was my year to train for 30 days with PAC tours on the northern Transcontinental in preparation for Nationals. Triathlon has taught me balance in my training. This now includes swimming, yoga, weight lifting and, of course, cycling. I’ve had toe and ankle injuries that have really curtailed my running, but hopefully after surgery last year my toe will heal enough for me to start running again and make a run at a National Championship in the 50-54 age group.
10 – I am a PAC Tours veteran with almost 10,000 miles with Lon and Susan. I’ve done numerous desert camps, Alaska which was summer prep for IM Wisconsin, and a Northern Transcontinental which was my summer training for USAT Championships. Living in Arkansas isn’t great for cycling in the summer so I like to join PAC when I can for a summer outing.
11. I am the 2010 Ultra Cup Champion. An epic fail at the 2009 Tejas 500 showed me that I was a great 12 hour racer. So in 2010 I decided to see how good I could be competing at that type of race. I raced Sebring, HOS, Calvins, Balltown, Saratoga, Metamora and Ultra Midwest. I finished five times in the top 2 with 3rd and 4th in the other two races. I also tried a 24 hour race in Michigan with 449 miles, set cross state records in Arkansas and went back to Tejas to finish the 500. This was not a super fast time, but I only had to finish to win the ultra so I took a 6 hour nap.
With my exposure to Lon and Susan for more than 6 years now and my ultra cup background, I had thought about making a run at RAAM in 2011 and have been training with that as my goal. I haven’t been able to put together a crew that I think would get me across the US, but have decided that a better test for 2011 than the ultra will be to do many more longer races and two 1200k multiday events. The year started out with an attempt to break Chris Ragsdale's 502 mark down in Sebring 24 hour drafting race, but mechanical problems and the lack of drafting partners left me with a 473.
Now I have somehow been coerced into racing the Texas Hill Country 600k against some of the top ultra riders in the world on a course that will highlight the fact that gravity is a harsh reality. Both my wife and my friend, Larry Ide, said that I need to see where I’m at and that I do belong racing against these people. We’ll see.