The Rookie

I have just received this paper certificate for Santa Rosa Bicycle Clubs“Rookie of the Year”.
Kathy is looking for a frame so I can frame it and hang it in my office.

This award means so much to me it will be hard to explain, but I feel I need to, you see, I have really never won anything before.

I was in the 1957 junior Olympics in Los Angeles, I came in last but I did beat the local kids in Pomona to qualify to go, so I guess I won a few ribbons then. I was ten years old.

I have never been athletic other than swimming, I was the drum major of the band, I played solo clarinet, I sang in the choir, and Yes I was a geek.

Fade to 2000, I am a 53 year old over weight motorcyclist. My group of friends has started road-racing with the AFM, a local motorcycle road-racing club and want me to join up and race.

GAD ZOOKS I am not a mechanic, I am overweight and I am scared of the thought even though I had done many many“Trackdays” and was familiar with the drill. They convince me to go for it and I do.

Fade to 2003. I am now 56 and am racing a 250 production bike, which is a Kawasaki 250 Ninja (Beginners bike to most) that weighs 305 pounds and has 28 horse power, will roll along at 105 mph down hill with a tailwind. I weight 220 lbs.!! Almost as much as the bike! In 2002 I finished 18th (That’s top 20 to you) and beat 52 of the 70 kids that are the age of my daughter, around 33 years old, and most weight 110 to 150 pounds dripping wet! Weight is horsepower! And with a 28hp 300lb-motorcycle, weight is the second most important thing next to forgetting how to use the brakes. Use the brakes and you slow down, you slow down you lose.

It’s February 2003 and I am getting ready for the new season of racing and think…. You better do something here, get a life, grab hold, take care of yourself, DO SOMETHING.

Albert Dall, a new friend and customer stops in the shop. Albert is a champion time trails bicycle rider. The thought just falls in front of me like a brick!“Albert my friend I want you to help me pick out a bicycle. I am going to start excising and lose some weight”. Albert and I pick out a Giant, Iguana mountain bike from Windsor Cycles. I spend more on gear than on the darn bicycle.

We load the bicycle up and take it to the shop in Healdsburg. I ride it home to Windsor for my first ride. I am KING of the mountain! It only takes my 45 minutes to travel the 6.2 miles! I am a DUDE!

I start keeping records and the weight starts coming off. In May I am hooked and I purchase a Specialized Allez, with cool wheels and cool running gear way to much money for me. I am sending Albert my Excel file everyday and asking him a thousand questions, I am sure, driving him totally crazy.

By the end of April my rides were averaging over 14 mph and I am averaging about 300 miles a month now. In May I have completed 592 miles and my first fifty mile ride on the Iguana the day before I get the Allez. I am now down to 193 pounds from 220.

I road race motorcycles against a young man named Andy Grayson, yea, Gary’s son. So I grab Gary at one of the races he came to and quiz him about the club.

I begin my quest to ride with the “C” group on the “Friendly Friday Rides” Ha Ha, with one thought always on my mind, “When will be the first ride I do,… and NOT get DROPPED”.

One of the Northbay Bikers group, and good friend Raghu, is training for the “Half Vineman” and I join him for a couple of training spins. On one of the rides Bill Hand appears from behind as we are leaving the Airport Cinemas and asks if he can ride with us,“Well of Course” I say.

My new coach has been found!

Bill is an X racer and at 63 he is trying to get back in shape, he is awesome, we are the PERFECT match!

I ask Bill if we could sign up for a century and we decide to prepare for the PPR“People Powered Ride” out of San Ynez.

We begin a training program.

On October 11th Bill and I complete the Century side by side and I am not ashamed to say I had tears in my eyes going over the last climb about a quarter of a mile from the finish, I had done it!!! 105 miles, 7:06, 14.8 mph. Over 6500 feet of climbing, I am stoked!!

As of Dec 31st 2003 I have ridden over 4300 miles in 10 months.

Here are some high lights of my 10 months of riding a bicycle:

1: Feb 28th Ride home first day 6.2 miles in 45 minutes.
2: Mar 9th Ride Westside / Eastside from work to home 18 miles. (I actually called Kathy from the Wolher bridge and said I was toast come and get me. By the time she showed up I was on Starr road on the LAST climb for home, and I completed the ride!)
3: April 7th Rode 30 miles with Albert (The KING!) Ave. 14.4 mph… he must have been bored to death!
4: April 17th Rode 20 miles with Albert, Ave. 15mph this time. Climb Canyon for the first time.
5: May 18th Do my first 50 mile loop waving at Gary Grayson who is picking up trash on West Dry Creek road. He had NO IDEA who I was.
6: May 19th Purchase my beautiful Specialized Allez.
7: May 30th Ride 50 miles with Gary Grayson and the SRCC. I Charge Chalk Hill like the novice I am. Everyone has a good laugh.
8: June 10th Do a 45-mile loop and climb Dutcher for the first time.
9: Sept 13th First of two 75-mile training rides for the PPR .
10: Sept 20th Climb the Geysers to the ranch gates with Raghu. MAJOR RUSH!
11: Sept 27th Second of two 75-mile training rides for the PPR .
12: Sept 636 miles
13: Oct 11th PPR!! 105.57 miles, 14.80 MPH, 7 hours 6 minutes 6500 feet of climbing.
14: Oct 31 I got to witness my first high-speed bicycle crash from the catbird seat, being the first one in the paceline NOT to fall! (Don King, Kipp Frey, Gary Grayson)
15: Oct 637 miles
16: Nov 11th First night ride! What a blast.
17: Dec 19th Ride with the “Friendly Friday” group…… Did not get dropped!!!!

Other notations:

I have inspired three or four of my friends and customers to start riding bicycles.
I feel better than I have in years and will continue on riding just has hard this year.

In closing this little story up I want to thank these very special people:

Kathy Storin My wife of almost 20 years, supporter, friend and co rider.
Albert Dall THE inspiration.
Bill Hand My“Coach” and friend, we are a team! I feel we can do anything together.
Gary Grayson For taking me under his wing and letting me TRY to hang out with the“C” riders
Martha Barton For her inspiration and help

The New Friends I have meet and ridden with this year.
Looking forward to meeting and riding with all of the SSCC.

Thanks!

Richard Battles
SRCC Rookie of the Year”