Just a sinner saved by grace and Forgiven. My name is Nick. Screen name is Forgivenick.
I am a husband, father, son, brother, friend and mountain biker who is constantly looking forward to see what amazing things God wants to do with the relationships I have with the people who cross paths with me in in this life.
I play guitar, hopefully it is a pleasing aroma to Jesus Christ, the God-man who came to be a payment for the penalty of my sin.
Here is my cycling history, updated 20120303:
I love to ride. I love people. I love to help people ride more.
I have never loved riding my bike more than I do today. I am planning on doing my first metric century off road tonight!
Let me shed a little light on how I got to where I am today, a little of who I am as a cyclist, and why I love documenting my experiences on my bike.
First off, my love for riding my bike started when I was 5, riding my bmx through the county park, exploring the creeks, hills and valleys that were accented with granitic boulders, grassland meadows and coastal live oak trees. My best friend and I lived on opposite sides of the park and made an adventure out of everyday we spent there.
Later in life, I got into mountain biking when my dad bought two matching mountain bikes in 1988 and had them waiting in front of the Christmas tree. I was 10 and it was a 24 inch wheeled bike that matched my dad’s 26 inch. I rode that bike everywhere for 5 years, switching off with my dad’s bike during the last two when he wasn’t riding it since I was starting to fit better on it. I encouraged many of my friends to get mountain bikes and ride with me anywhere we could. We used them to explore of course, but also to get around through town, go camp at the beach, go fishing at the lake, and to get home at race pace when we knew we had been out too long and would be scolded for being late to dinner.
When I was 15, I had some small side jobs that allowed me to “save up for a car”. I had a few hundred dollars saved and had been riding with a friend who was really getting into mountain biking. He was showing me that after market parts can really help out. There are cycling shorts, bar ends, small 20t granny gears and all kinds of other things to spend money on and make your cycling experience better. I realized that I could hang with him on my little 24 inch mountain bike anywhere he and I journeyed, but when I tried his bike, I realized that I was a little big for my bike. The next two weeks I didn’t look at the money I had saved as being money that would be spent on a car. After all, I hadn’t driven cars up the challenging switchbacks, I hadn’t used cars to explore the canyons and mountain tops with my friends. I had used my BIKE and I was ready to get one that would allow me to do more in the years to come. All the adults I knew, thought I would regret spending the money on a bike since I was 15 and about to get my learner’s permit, especially my parents. They weren’t going to get me a car, we couldn’t afford it. They let me make my own decision and I am so glad they did. I bought a new 26 inch mountain bike with a Tange steel frame and fork and not 21, but 24 speeds! I was stoked to say the least. My mountain biking friend and I did a couple races/charity rides and I encouraged more friends throughout high school to get mountain bikes and get out exploring with me. I took that bike with me to Hawaii when I graduated high school because I entered a summer long volunteer program working with endangered birds and I rode that bike all over in some of the most scenic places I have ever been. Mostly in Volcano National Park where lava still flows into the ocean.
When I was about to leave for college, my parents surprised me with a gift. An aluminum framed hardtail! I was amazed and instantly started thinking about upgrades. This bike inspired me to ride harder and gave me more of an “athlete” mentality than I ever had before. I still rode with the idea of pursuing adventure, but in a more athletic driven way. Riding in the redwood forests of northern California was an amazing,yet completely different experience than what I was used to riding in San Diego. I began upgrading everything on that bike throughout the 3 years I was riding everyday. I got good a trackstands, drops up to 3 feet, jumps, as well as epic riding while I had that hardtail. I think the only thing that remained original was the frame by the end.
The summer before my senior year, I was riding with guys who were hardcore freeriders, building north shore style bridges and stunt features. I decided to get a full suspension bike with 6 inches of travel and it was HEAVY! It was also strong. It allowed me to do bigger drops and jumps without having to true wheels or replace parts as often. It was hard to climb with, but eventually I got stronger.
After I graduated, I moved back to San Diego to marry my fiance and I got a job at a bike shop. Life was good as a newlywed and working at the shop. I bought a cyclocross bike while working at the shop and found a new way to explore new places and have adventures like never before. I graduated with a degree in Geographic Information Systems, which means I make sophisticated maps using digital layers on the computer. Having a cyclocross bike, I mapped out new routes to take every week where I could take “dead end” roads that lead to county water authority or electric company easement dirt roads that had gates for cars, but were open to hiking, biking, and equestrians. I found so many epic loops that I could create where the roads were empty and the trails weren’t as technical as stuff I rode in college. Perfect for the cyclocross bike.
I rode my heavy full suspension bike as a cross country, trail, and all mountain bike for the first year of being back, but knew all along that I would need something that fit my new application and conditions better. I ended up riding the cyclocross bike more, but realized that I wasn’t wanting to race cyclocross as much as I wanted to ride mountain bikes on epic off road adventures, regardless of the type of dirt trails I would encounter. This meant the cyclocross bike would be sold to fund a new XC/Trail type bike.
I soon got another full suspension bike, a Titus Motolite that could switch between 4 and 5 inches of travel. This bike really lent itself to riding any trail for any distance I could find time for. As the years went by, I met some serious XC racers and rode with them regularly. Riding with them was very encouraging. I found myself covering more ground in shorter periods of time than I ever had before. One of them was on a 12 hour 4 man team and told me all about how much fun it was to be part of the team for that type of race. We had been riding together for about 5 years at that point and had very similar pacing. I told him that I would love to try that sometime as well. He said that the next one was only in 4 months and I had plenty of time to train for it. After thinking about it for a couple weeks and starting training, I told him that I was interested in doing a two man team 12 hour race. He said, “Don’t do that! Do a solo!” I told him that was crazy and asked if he was trying to get me to kill myself. “Trading off every lap just makes your muscles get cold, or you end up riding a trainer while your team mate is out racing. Just ride solo and pace yourself. Oh yeah, they are also doing a 6 hour solo this year. Just ride for a few hours, take a break, ride for a few more, take a break, and then you’re done. Easy.” he said. I remember thinking, “Well, that actually sounds doable if I train a little.”
Fast forward to the June 2011 12 hours of Temecula. I raced the 6 hour solo, took a half hour break after 3 of the 10 mile laps, finished two more and was pleased with getting 30th out of 60 competitors! Not bad for my first endurance race in my opinion.
I bought a new bike in August 2011, just a few months after my 6 hour solo. The Titus was good, but I wanted to try the 29er thing and wanted to try single speeding again. (I had converted the old 1992 Tange cromo frame into a singlespeed when I moved back to San Diego, but it was never quite right as a single speed since I had to use a tensioner, etc).
I bought a Salsa El Mariachi and outfitted it with a rigid fork. I love this bike. Just finished the Racers and Chasers Winter Series where I competed in the Men’s Open class of the Marathon race. I got 6th in the overall standings for the series! I love endurance racing and have blogged about why I chose the Salsa frame to build and how I have enjoyed it.