How Stuff Happens

As sometimes happens before embarking on something big, people get curious and retrospective about how exactly they got themselves into this pickle in the first place. In the past, you could embellish a bit and make a really good story out of it.

But not today. Today we have email and blog trails to keep us honest. Last night Rob sent me the very first email I wrote to him (you would not believe how many we’ve exchanged since then. It’s crazy), then the very first article I wrote about Haute Route – where it all began. That got the wheels turning and I thought it’d be fun to see how ‘my journey’ progressed to where I am now.

That First Crazy Idea

I don’t remember why or how it happened, but I think it had something to do with Shoko telling me how fat I was getting. It seems to have all started taking concrete form with a chat I was having with my old friend Karsten, way back in January 2010.

are you interested in joining a cycling race?
  this spring sometime?
8:39 AM me: Not at this point, no.

Two ‘nos’ in one sentence…

Then, somewhere in the Fall of the same year I got the idea to ride the 2011 Etape du Tour. I immediately emailed Karsten:

Ever think about doing this thing? Registration opened today. I’m going to do it, I think.

Before you knew it, we were both signed up and the ‘training’ began. Or so I thought.

As soon as I made that decision I knew I needed to change just about everything I did on the bike. Till then, I was a leisure cyclist at best, with a 2005 Cannondale Cyclocross, set up with a back rack for the touring I did quite often. Things needed to change. And they did, quickly. Here’s the blog article I wrote about my new bike, the Bianchi Infinito whose frame I still ride (everything else is new – I cringe at the amount of money I spent on that ‘mistake’).

That First Email

I’d never met Rob in my life, even though we sort of share the same parents. It was Rob’s dad, Tom, who suggested I email him and I figured that was a good idea. Who knows, he might have a pointer or two he could throw my way. Here’s the first part:

Hi Rob,

Tom was saying the other day that I should get in touch with you, since I’ve recently entered the world of cyclosportives here in France. He figured you might have some tips on how not to kill myself, I think.

He replied, in typical Rob fashion, with an email of epic proportions and excellent advice. And it hasn’t ceased since then.

That Second Crazy Idea

A year later, after being sucked good and truly into the world of bike racing/training, I ran across a new event and blogged about it.

Check out the comment from Rob at the bottom. His ‘bucket list’ item idea germinated for a year before it took root in my brain, too. On August 20th (during last year’s HR actually) I wrote the fateful blog article that led to the final push:

And the rest is history. Thanks for enduring this post. It was really an exercise for me to see how we got to where we are today. And let this be a lesson to you all. Be careful who you email for advice. You never know the madness that could ensue!

12 thoughts on “How Stuff Happens

      • Thats what my mom always says when I talk about Haute Route ;o).

        My Club got a new sponsors last winter. Since then the back of my bib shorts says “Heul doch” which means something like “start crying”. This helps people not shoutin “slower” every 10 minutes. And prevents some of my own “complaining” feelings…

  1. Three thoughts, 1) Be careful what you wish for ….. 2) remember Rule #5 when it really hurts, because it’s going to ….. 3) Buy you lead filled shoes today, because when this is done your feet won’t touch the ground for a month.

  2. “Till then I was a leisure cyclist at best.” A leisure cyclist at best … who just happened to wander off his once-a-month ride on the local mixed use path to ride solo, loaded, across all of Australia? And to move to France in order to ride? We should all be such leisure cyclists!

    You’re funny, that’s excellent, this post was great to read, and you know I wish you amazing success in this extraordinary venture you’ve taken on, having wandered off that little voie verte!

  3. As a fellow leisure cyclist (and old riding buddy of yours), I have to say it’s pretty darned impressive to see (and especially read) what you’ve turned your passion for ‘spinning around the countryside’ into these days. I’ve always thought it would be fantastic to head over there someday to hook-up for some joyrides through the hills – and I still do – though I doubt I’d see your back wheel for more than a few minutes now! Anyway – well done, and I wish you and the crew all the best for the coming week of excitement and pain 😉

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s