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My journey to being a cyclist in Colorado Springs

Cycling. It's something that's been near and dear to my heart since I was a child building trails to ride on when I was just 9 years old back home in MN. I guess that's where I started to get spoiled with ease of access to trails. In '87 I stopped riding my bmx bike on trails we made in my neighborhood and started riding my dad's Schwinn Cruiser "5 speed"....big wide handlebars....with the shifter right at the stem for some God forsaken reason. Two years later in '89 I made the biggest purchase of my young life, $529 on a Trek 950 mountain bike. Blue. Soon I found others to ride with and with those others we started building trails in the small town of Winona, MN....trails that still to this day are hailed as the best in the Midwest. You could ride right out the door and be on them in 15-25 minutes depending where you lived.

Fall of '93 I was set to go to college and while many kids were ranking their choices by what they wanted to major in, the pre-whatever program, etc... I choose Luther College because it was home to Decorah Bikes..one of the teams in the Midwest and sometimes the team for mountain bike racing. And well it also had trails 5 minutes from campus that I'd still argue is tougher than anything I've ridden anywhere else.

Once again....spoiled.

After college the decision to move home was not a tough one. My brain was one track. Where can I ride, how far away is it to get there, and how much fun is it. So I moved back to Winona where sick trails, a great group of hardcore riders to ride with, two great shops (Adventure Cycle & Ski which I had worked for for almost 10 years), and great views. However working in the family biz was stressful, the town got to be a bit small, and well...I wasn't working in bikes.

Spring of 2001 I was recruited to go work for LEW Composites in Las Vegas. My unique skill set from working under some of the best wheel builders in the Midwest, to sales, to running a business was key and I was hired in a heartbeat. My job? Work with the most sought after and expensive wheels known to man. Build them. Sell them. Answer questions about them. And make sure it all runs smooth in my department. Alas 9/11 hurt the economy as well as the market for $3000 wheelsets (BTW this was before ZiPP, HED, or anyone else had anything over $700) so I moved to Colorado Springs.

I will admit....it wasn't my first choice of places to live. I had a job offer to work in Boston for one of the top shops in the country, but moving to Boston required cash I didn't have. So I stayed here. Denver or Boulder was my next choice....but as I soon realized my old desires to be within riding distance of trails came back. Denver had zero. Boulder you had to drive to them. But in Colorado Springs there were more trails than free time....just out my back door.

To this day I still love living here. From time to time I get the joy of having an unmarked box show up on my doorstep of something to test. I've had a chance to build trails with Medicine Wheel and Rock Shox. I've ridden on the pub crawl. Gotten to know every shop in town. Sat in on meetings about bringing more cycling tourism to this town and even sit on the EDC's committee for Sports and Wellness. I'm not a fan of the fact that a normal conservative type like myself is considered left wing in this town. But I love the trails here. I love the cycling community. This is home. And I'm here to stay and make a difference.

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Comment by Nicole Odell on May 13, 2010 at 8:34pm
Jon - thanks for sharing your story!

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