Becoming “That Guy”

Posted by on May 20, 2014 in Bike | 2 Comments

Old Stumpjumper. Chrome bar-ends. Neon helmet. Cotton t-shirt tucked into nameless black lycra. Fanny Pack. Hiking shoes. Wool socks. Toe-clips. Mid-60s.

But he could ride.

His gear was dated. His skills were not. He rode the swoopy singletrack as well as anyone on the trail that day.

I want to be that guy.

When I’m his age, and when I can look back on 30 years of bike riding, I hope I have his fitness, his skills. I want the youngbloods to scoff, then get dropped. I hope I’m still competitive. I hope I still get angry at myself when I don’t ride cleanly through a rock-garden I’ve ridden a million times. In 10, 20, 30 years, I’d better still be trying to set PRs up Clark’s Trail, down Jacob’s Ladder, and around the White Rim.

In 2040, I’m planning to buy a season pass to UTCX. I’ll be at the Crusher. The Point 2 Point. And I’ll have four decades of stories to tell. Great races, and bad ones too. Harrowing escapes. Heroic victories. My bike might be dated. I might not have the lightest wheel-set on the market. I might wear old clothes. But my legs will work. And I’ll drop anyone who tells me I’m old. Or die trying.

I want to be that guy.

Heck, to the high-schoolers I coached last year, I’m already half-way there.

You’re 36! You’re a good rider. For an old man.

Yeah, and you’re not too bad yourself. For a little kid.

There is always another trail to see. Another race to hurt at. Another day to be faster, lighter, better. Bike riding is a lifestyle. It’s not just what we do, it is who we are. Bike riding makes us stubborn, salty, and not too proud to ride an old bike on new trails.

Someday I will be that guy.

But first, I have to become him. And the becoming is the best part.



  1. Greg Bachman
    May 21, 2014

    I love it! Me? I’m 53, been riding and racing all kinds of bikes since I was, like, 8 years old. I too, want to be that guy. You should, if you get the chance, check out Don McClung of Salida, CO (Backyard Bicycle Company) – builds sweet old-school cruiser style 29ers (SS, canti-brakes, truss fork). Yep, I’m getting one of his frames. He rides, and lives, like “that guy”.

    • Grizzly Adam
      May 21, 2014

      Thanks! Those bikes sound great. I will take a look at them. They sound like a great townie/commuter option.

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