Monday, March 9, 2015

Assault on Mount Mitchell Motivation

My entire life I have needed motivation. As a kid I was not motivated by grades unfortunately but more by the threat of my dads punishment and being grounded from going outside to jump ramps or take something apart. I have been trying to recount my history of my love for bikes. There are a few important time stamps.  My first bike(I still have the wheels for some reason).  My first mountain bike(which began my love for Cannondale, though it was a LLBean bike made by Cannondale).

Since my current journey is road bike related, I want to pin point where my road bike passion began. My uncle used to fix up old lawn mowers and sell them in his front yard in Wadesboro, NC. One day on a visit I noticed he had bikes out front.  I was immediately went to check them out, as I was not real interested in mowing grass at the time. I can't find a picture of it but this is what it was....Just in red, and well loved.. After some serious haggling in the loving comedic spirit my uncle had, I was the proud new owner.  That bike carried me all over the place around my hometown, then spent the remainder of its life at our home at Ocean Isle, NC rusting out in the salty air from carrying me and a surfboard to the beach.

The real reason for an interest in a road bike during this time of my life is hearing and seeing an older cousin of mine, Troy. I did not see him often and he was 7 years older than me so we were not real tight. Because I loved bikes, I thought he was cool because he rode bikes. I saw his freedom, freedom to just go Pedaling around my Free Spirit F500 was hard work. This freedom I am sure was my appeal as I was not aloud to go out of earshot at my age.

In 1988 I was 10, Troy was 17 and he did the Assault on Mt Mitchell.(9hrs 3min 52sec 843rd of 1292 11.2 avg speed)  I didn't know or care at the time but I have in the last few years really wanted to do this ride.  It has always been  one of the "big rides" on the East Coast and I thought it would be cool to honor him in my mind. 

Here is a video I found about the 1988 AOMM. Really cool that this is still around. If you are as into the AOMM as I am.

After I some mental debate I finally decided I would go for it. Troy is my reason, my motivation.  I wanted to do it in his honor. For no other reason than it makes me feel good, and if he was alive I am sure he would be glad to ride it with me. A search of his name Troy Randall Hildreth found me this. I did not realize at the time that he died riding just a week after the AOMM, nor did I realize he rode with any friends or family. As I read on for me it was really special to find out he rode on a Cannondale.  I have owned a Cannondale since I began seriously riding from my first mtb to my current ride. That was cool. I also reached out to his dad who I am still close to as he is family, and he was able to find these gems for me.

Troy and his step dad David Spear.
Troy in his 1988 Cycling attire, my how things have changed.
Someone WILL be taking this picture of me in the same place in May.

So now after a month and a half of training the living room(now 2 1/2 since I typed this)  receiving these pics have helped to renew my motivation. This year Troy would have been 44 and I am finally ready to attempt it. (I have paid and want to get my money's worth) I am personally motivated to get me and Troy to the top.  I'll have him with me for the whole journey from here on out, to remind me of my motivation. I will have a picture of little bow legged me standing in front of him taped to my top tube for the next 46 days.

Go find some motivation.  I never get in cycling shape in the winter for myself. I need a reason to suffer. Go find an event to work for. Find a reason to do it. Remind yourself of all the neat little stories in your life that have brought you to this point with your love for bikes, or whatever that thing is.  People don't remember enough. Then you forget. You forget why you do it in the first place.  You loose the joy. You get bitter, and when the joy is gone the fun goes too. You start trying to race people on the "Sunday Ride", driving around in your car to hunt Strava Segments, asking what other peoples avg speed was instead of "how was the ride", starting your Strava after the neighborhood warm up so it won't lower your AVG....Everyone has been around that person, has been that person or will meet them soon enough...

Be motivated in joy, fun, and happy thoughts! Life is much more enjoyable that way.

On a side note, I was able to be one of the lucky to get signed up for BSG in June as well. Not sure what I'm thinking but, figured if I was going to jump, may as well jump big.


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