I picked up cycling in college – my freshman year at Mars Hill University (at the time it was Mars Hill College), just outside of Asheville, North Carolina. I was way out there due to a running scholarship.
I loved running in college. However, we only got 2 weeks off the entire year, which was our Holiday break. I definitely was a dedicated runner in high school…but I started to become interested in cycling via one of my teammates, Josh Oxendine. Josh was a runner and he focused on cycling in the springtime – road cycling.
After spending one year running Cross Country in the Fall and Track in the Spring. I started to cycle over the summer of 2008. It also helped that my summer job was working in a bike shop – Scheels Sports, a Midwestern sporting goods company.
At the end of the summer, I purchased a Trek Madone 4.5c road bike. I was lucky to snag a great deal on this with all my employee discounts.
After that, I was hooked and into road cycling.
I joined the college Cycling team in Spring of 2009 as I gave up Track. The balance, both mental and physical was the smartest move I made in my athletic and physical fitness career. Mentally, it was a new journey and something that gave me a nice break from tying my running shoes every day. Physically, it supplemented my cardiovascular endurance with muscular endurance. This helped my running endurance and high volume mileage weeks.
During peak mileage months in the early to mid Cross Country season, I got up to around 140 miles per week (yes, that is running…)
Cycling also allowed me to travel a lot more, and see more of the Eastern half of the country. We traveled to: Florida (several times, especially in the early Spring for mini training camps and early season races/time trials), Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Washington DC, and other areas in North Carolina.
We didn’t need to travel much, as Asheville, North Carolina is a cycling mecca. With the Blue Ridge Parkway and Mount Mitchell (highest elevation East of the Mississippi) riding distance away from our campus, we had the advantage over all other cycling schools with our training…
…My senior year as we won the National Championship in Madison, Wisconsin. 🙂
I then moved to Fort Collins, Colorado – even more of a cycling mecca the Fall after I left Mars Hill College (spent that Summer back home in North Dakota).
I lived in Fort Collins for 3 years, riding a lot of road cycling when I first got there, and getting into more mountain biking open moving there as well.
Fast-forward to now, where I am living in Denver, Colorado (3 years open writing this post) and I own just one bike. A single speed “handsome” commuter road bike. It serves as a bike for many things, as I ride it around town (which is my primary mode of transportation now), and for longer road rides, too.
I’ll get a road bike again, but that is going to come after some other Colorado gear – like backcountry skis 🙂
My Favorite Asheville, North Carlina Road Cycling Routes:
Blue Ridge Parkway – Mount Mitchell
Total distance: 79.67 mi
Max elevation: 6493 ft
Total climbing: 8494 ft
Total time: 06:05:42
Bakery Ride – Mars Hill to Asheville
Total distance: 55.86 mi
Max elevation: 2425 ft
Total climbing: 4455 ft
Total time: 04:59:32
French Broad River Ride
Total distance: 56.98 mi
Max elevation: 2201 ft
Total climbing: 4442 ft
Total time: 04:45:25
Total distance: 52.13 mi
Max elevation: 3934 ft
Total climbing: 5266 ft
Total time: 04:18:36
My Favorite Fort Collins, Colorado Road Cycling Routes:
Fort Collins to Estes Park Loop