Monday, October 14, 2013

Book of Mountain Bike Short Stories in the Works


Sometimes it is easy for people to forget who they are. You get distracted by the all of the exciting opportunities or unforeseen challenges that life puts before you and in the process loose track of your purpose. I was born to be a writer but not the kind that sits behind a desk staring at books all day. I'm an action writer, the kind who dives into the deep part of the pool and learns to swim, the hard way. Often times I am completely unprepared for what I'm doing but for me it's the most invigorating way to learn and that is how I draw my inspiration.

My seven books were all based on real life experiences, some of which were deeply personal. From my time as a trouble teenager who was bullied in high school to my battles in both the wrestling arena and boxing ring, even my work as a political activist - each served as fuel for fiction. Some of those events were traumatic so it felt liberating to empty my psyche onto the page, call it therapy for the soul. Due to this new found mental health I have not written a book in five years. However, that is about to change. Something else has been building up inside of me. Let me tell you how it began.

Promo from my novel 'Almost Columbine'
In 2008 my brother Kevin and I were watching the Beijing Olympics on television. There we learned that Mountain Biking had become an Olympic event. Truth is, we didn't even know it was a sport. We looked into it and saw that there was plenty of bike shops and bike races around where we lived in Massachusetts. We both bought bikes and six months later we were covered in mud and knee deep in mountain bike racing.

My brother and I traveled all over New England taking part in the Root 66 race series and the Eastern Fat Tire Association (EFTA) series. We started attending group rides with the trail maintenance non-profit known as the New England Mountain Bike Association (NEMBA). Later adventures in racing Downhill and Super D would provide me with a whole new perspective on the sport. That view was further enhanced by participating in events like NEMBAfest in New Hampshire and Diabloween in New Jersey.

My brother Kevin and myself at the 2009 Mass State Championships
In 2011 the sunshine state would provide me with a new challenge but the wheels were a little smaller. Florida has always been known for being a hotbed of BMX racing action. With 15 tracks to explore and 2,000 racers to meet and compete with, I found a new adventure and once again dived into the deep water. 

This time my wife Terri would be my partner in crime. The two of us started racing, joined teams and competed on the local and state levels. We also started a BMX news website called the Bog Dogs Race Report. While competing we covered racing news at over 75 events. These included several Sunshine State Association (SSA) Florida Cups races, All Star races and a few Nationals including one in Nashville, Tennessee.

That's me getting real close to the BMX racing action
I reason I tell you all of this is that once again I have turned the page. I have returned to mountain biking, joined the Sarasota County Off Road Riders (SCORR) local trail group and started exploring Florida's MTB scene. In addition my wife and I traveled two thousand miles west to experience the Colorado Freeride Festival and see what it is like to ride a bike at over 10,000 feet.

This brings us up to date and as you can imagine, my brain is swimming with stories. Not only the ones I experienced but also the scores that people have told me from all over the country. Like a sponge I have soaked up the atmosphere from cycling's multiple disciplines. Over the summer these dramatic snapshots started to stitch together into a collection, each with the unique signature of my twisted imagination.

Atop the Rocky Mountains with a sweet ride
My goal is to display a dazzling array of scenarios familiar to bike riders/racers that captures the intensity of our passions while also subtly touching upon the meaningfulness that underlies this lifestyle. From the supernatural to the sacred, from steroids to sex, from Striders to Freeriders, no stone will be left unturned. This book of short stories should be completed sometime in 2014 with a release date in 2015.

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