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After 17 years, rider returns to Sand Creek Sports mountain bike racing

His legs don't have the same firepower they once possessed, but his heart still loves to race.
In 1996, Patrick Taylor was ripping up the old Sand Creek Series Hell on a Hillside mountain bike race in Manitou Springs. Things were going well ... and then they weren't.
Taylor discovered that his Camelbak had malfunctioned and his water was gone. It was a hot, sunny day. And the sun quickly became a blast furnace.
"I got heat stroke," Taylor said. "I was shivering. It felt like I was freezing. I went to the doctor and they said I'd gone into shock."

That kind of experience makes a rider think twice about stomping the pedals on hot days. Taylor said the effects lingered. He had trouble with hard efforts in the heat. He thought his mountain bike racing days were finished.

See all of the Ascent Cycling Series coverage here
Read more about staying hydrated in hot weather

But it's hard to deny what you love. And last month, Taylor, a machinist who makes bike parts for SRM (famous for it's cycling power meters), raced for the first time in 17 years in the Ascent Cycling Series event at Bear Creek Park.

"I couldn't stay away," said Taylor, now 54. "My boss (Doug Goodwin) used to be a Canadian pro, and he encouraged me to get back out there and race again."

Taylor is a perfect fit at the Wednesday night races. The series is open to anyone with a bike and a desire to have fun. It's common to see beginners and national champions laughing and having fun together ... all in the name of shredding the trails.

The next race is set for Wednesday at Palmer Park. The starting line is across from the dog park, about 1/2 mile from the Maizeland entrance. The  juniors and Category 3 women riders start at 4 p.m.

"Andy (Bohlmann) puts on a good race," Taylor said. "He does a good job of making things fun. It's low stress. Just show up, get on the starting line."

With his long ponytail flying from beneath his helmet, and sharp Cafe Velo race kit, Taylor is living his dream on some of the best singletrack in the west.

"I was looking for a BMC bike, and I walked into Cafe Velo to buy one," Taylor said. "Before I knew it I was part of the club team."

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