I grew up on a dirt road on the edge of the earthquake capital of the west, Ridgecrest, California. This location dictated my first bikes, a Nishiki BMX, later an SE Racing P.K. Ripper.
In my teens, mountain biking began to rise as I bought my first trail worthy mtb, a Schwinn Cimmaron. Say that three times fast! I bought the Cimmaron a little too big, as I was lured by top end Shimano Deore XT components. Now I always buy on the smaller side for better handling, but still prefer XT.
While at college in Santa Barbara, I rode all the legendary trails of the area, Tunnel, Romero, Cold Springs, Jesusita, McMenemy and the death-defying San Ysidro, without suspension. Before decamping from Santa Barbara for the Front Range of Colorado, and the cycling mecca of Boulder, the first black bodied, pink logoed Rock Shox appeared on a friend’s Yeti, at the time still based in Malibu. Yeti and I moved to Colorado at the same time, and I have ridden nothing but Yeti mtbs since. If they fit you, there is no better mtb. To date, I have owned 5 Yetis: ASR, 575, 303RDH, SB66 and now an SB-6, a bike better at descending, but still climbs well.
During seventeen years living on the Front Range of Colorado, I had the good fortune of riding some of the best high country singletrack in the nation, with multiple yearly visits to Utah, and rounds on the Kokopelli Trail and White Rim. These experiences led me to the Whistler Bike Park and many days of mountain bike touring the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia, retracing the courses of much of the BC Bike Race from Powell River to Cumberland.
While I have been a committed cyclist for as long as I can remember, I have always preferred the solitude of open desert, deep forest and the high alpine. I have raced on Triathlon teams - yes, I know road bikes, too - and as an Xterra soloist, as well as a few early mtb races. The shwag attached to such events is fun, but I do not care for crowds. The biggest group event I have raced was the Steamboat Marathon. I am not built to be a distance runner, but enjoyed the methodical training leading up to it. I am a confirmed carbohydrate fiend, and training is never hurt by this weakness. Cycling has become a baseline of my fitness, now in my mid 50’s, with a resting heart rate in the mid to high 40’s, I have climbed almost all of the 14 thousand foot peaks in the west, and ridden my SB-6 up one too, California’s White Mountain, in the time of COVID.
During my time in Colorado I also taught snowboarding for fifteen years, first at Eldora, then Winter Park, where I came into contact with some of the early innovators in snowboard instruction. They helped change the way I ride and made me a competent boarder in powder to bumps, once spending an afternoon shredding the Jane bumps with members of the US Olympic Mogul team, visiting from Telluride. Feel free to visit me on the Winter Sports side of Curated: https://www.curated.com/e/nate.s
In recent years, I have bridged the gap between dirt and road and have put 12K miles into a 1x drivetrain equipped Cannondale Slate gravel bike, which evolved into the Topstone. The vast majority of my road miles have been accompanied by my wife, paced by her ebike for extra measure. And I take particular pleasure in finding ladies under 5’5” properly fitting bikes of all kinds. It is a matter of safety.
I am happy to be working with you in any cycling capacity. If I do not have answers to your many questions, rest assured I know people who will. Now based back in Southern California, I work closely with one of the largest Cannondale dealers in the country, and occasionally move his state-of-the-art creations. You will not find a better build.
Glad to share some tips and learn from you, too.