Yeah, so last Thursday evening I swung a leg over my Trek Fuel mountain bike and rode with Marshall Reeves. THE Marshall Reeves.
In my world, this is akin to jamming with the late Jimi Hendrix, chef-ing with Jamie Oliver or hitting dawn patrol with Kelly Slater. In other words, a big deal.
Now that I’ve made this public, I’m destined to grow flush in front my bike shop co-workers as well as the man himself. Ridiculing is the third most popular activity in the bike shop, right after consuming coffee, and dealing with bikes.
I probably failed to mention that I work part time at Infinity Bike Shop. It is the perfect job after earning my masters degree in biology as well as a legitimate excuse for continuing my really long hiatus from teaching. The reason why I even mention this change in career is because THE Marshall Reeves, a part owner of Infinity, is one of the reasons why I took the job in the first place – outside of the fact that I love bikes, those that ride bikes, and the unconventional few that ride them really, really far – like Marshall.
I was a heavy Facebook user in 2011 which is how I learned that Marshall Reeves, a fellow triathlete and local mountain biker whom I barely knew, was a competitor in the Race Across America (RAAM).
He and his support crew of four were racing from Oceanside Pier, California to Annapolis, Maryland, non-stop, 3,000 miles SOLO and within 12 days. And that kind of endurance race sends my Bad-Ass meter into the red.
I diligently followed Marshall’s progress and several other solo RAAM racers via Facebook. As the racers and their crew pushed eastward for almost two weeks, I found myself periodically noting that forty-some solo cyclists were racing at that very moment and in pain – while I ate my 50th snack of the day, made dinner or went to bed. They were in the saddle ALL DAY & ALL NIGHT LONG. No jealousy here – just immense admiration.
When RAAM concluded, I read Amy Synder’s Hell on Two Wheels, which detailed the “worlds toughest endurance bike race,” otherwise known as RAAM. (So that there is no mistaking my undying love to this genera of literature and a lifestyle fixed with life-threatening competitions or self-inflicted journeys of epic proportions, I own the tome of hellish races, The World’s Toughest Endurance Challenges, which naturally includes RAAM.)
So, who is this Marshall character that somewhat influenced my decision to work at a bike shop?
- He is pretty close to being a mere mortal: 58 years old, married, has 2 adult kids, ex-military, a captain for a major commercial airline
- Completed 12 Ironman triathlons (including Kona) and over 100 shorter ones
- Competed in 4 World 24-Hour Mountain bike races, winning the world age group title twice
- Three-time finisher of the Leadville Trail 100 mountain bike race
- Winner, with Rob Kish, in the two-person division of the Le Tour Ultime (European version of RAAM) in 2006
- Two time RAAM qualifier
- Humble, self-depreciating yet quietly confident, humorous, easy-going, and a minimalist
Now that I’ve embarrassed myself and probably Marshall as well, I invite you to follow the blog that Nanette Gordon-Cramton, a RAAM crew member, and I have created and will maintain as Marshall races across the United States, June 10 – 22. I assure you that it will be far more entertaining than those Kardashian sisters and maybe even the World Cup.
Free advice: Don’t let your domain name expire. I missed you all during my long intermission!