The Rad People Who Ride blog series is our opportunity to highlight individuals who love bikes for all the right reasons. All of us at WTB are constantly crossing paths with folks who are consuming their lives with anything and everything related to two wheels. While a passion for bikes unites us in one way or another, there are some who stand out among them. Whether we've interacted through work, play or travel...Rad People Who Ride is a means of letting the rest of the world know how truly rad these people are.
Home Shop and City:
TakeAim Cycling LLC. Harrisonburg, VA.
Notable passions, feats of accomplishment, interests, goals, phobias and unusual experiences:
I'm passionate about teaching mountain bike skills to all levels of riders. I also really like photography and tennis. I was the first NEU 100 mile series champion and I rode for Team USA at Marathon Worlds are nice biking accomplishments. But I'm most proud of the success my students have on the bike. Especially the ones who have come the longest ways and fought through self doubt and now own the trails on their terms.
My goals for the coming years is to continue to grow TakeAim Cycling into a healthy business that maintains a strong ethos and employees who can enjoy their time working with me.
Favorite WTB product:
Well, the saddles I've been on for 16 years for a reason, and I love the tires. If I had to I suppose I could manage on other brands for those, but no one has the PadLoc grips. That soft nubbin on the end is to die for. It's pretty under-appreciated but my hands love it. I can be super aggressive on the outside of my bars and the bonus is the things won't scratch my car when I lean my bike against it.
Right now it's probably Veach Gap to Buzzards Rocks on Massanutten Ridge in the Shenandoah Valley. Super techy with new lines to discover each time and endless challenges. It's what we call a Low Miles High Miles ride. Takes about 3 hrs to go 10 miles. There are great views and the tackiest rocks around. Plus the final descent is decadent.
Background, how’d you get into riding, what kept you going with it?
I grew up in the woods of North Florida dorking around on bikes and 4-wheelers. Once I graduated university I was briefly living with my sister who was into it. I got a job and could actually afford my first knobby tired bike. To me the mountain bike is about the perfect blend of surfing, skateboarding, and snowboarding. You can rip long fast lines, carve everything in sight, or try to trick every dumb thing in the trail. It's endless progression. Racing probably kept me going tho. I was fast, liked to be competitive, and was able to make it a lifestyle for several years. Everything just snowballed from there.
Tube or Tubeless, why?
Tubeless! How is this even a question?? Ha! Lower pressures give that extra grip and special feel to the trail. So fewer flats.
3 most important things to bring with you on a ride?
Appropriate clothing. It's winter now so it's is big on my mind.
Care kit: Tube, pump, multitool, nutrition.
Glasses: Because you don't want to be down to just one eyeball.
Craziest thing you’ve seen or witnessed on a ride?
Was with a dude with one eye who got his good eye's cornea scratched and had to be pseudo guided out of the woods.
Or there was the time we were in the backcountry and I said something like "I feel like we're being watched." and 2 seconds later we're startled by a noise in the tree and a baby bear is staring at us from 10 feet away. About pooped myself.
Or the time my friend had his head down and hit a big pile-up of riders who crashed in front of me and he did a complete flip and landed on his feet on the other side of it. I know a couple people who have permanent scars from that one.
Most important lesson to teach the groms?
How to learn at their own pace. The time to huck will come.
Left my wallet in… (fill it in):
The Wissahickon Trails of Philadelphia and a friend found it the same day. This was Philadelphia so I was pretty convinced I'd be replacing a lot of stuff.
Anything you’d like to plug, courtesy of WTB’s blog?
Support your local NICA league, show up to city council meetings about bike lanes and connecting schools, and come ride the rugged Shenandoah Valley if you want to see amazing east coast trails surrounding a town that loves bikes.