Last week Steve Baker was ragging on me to explain how I am able to “train like a pro and write for fun.” He told me to reveal what I do in my street clothes. In the interest of debunking such myths, I’ve chosen the rainy morning to answer his question.
My racing licence tells me that I am 41 years old. I’m married to the Beautiful Redhead and we enjoy our little brood of Thing One, Thing Two, and Thing Three. You can also throw in our two felines, Meriadoc (Merry) and Peregrin (Pippin).
The primary role I play during the day is that of Manager of Events and Services for the Bob Jones University Alumni Association. We have around 38,000 living alumni and have a dues paying membership of around 12,000. I’m tasked with managing the office, relating with our members, organizing the events and benefits, and for right now overseeing the creation of a online networking site that will launch this spring.
However, I also started a company here in Greenville back in 1994. Since its beginning, I have picked up two partners and now The Worthwhile Company is growing beyond my expectations. Our 18 team members specialize in partnering with businesses to utilize Internet tools and applications to maximize their processes and customer interaction. We like to say that we “increase your Internet worth.”
In highschool I got into all the sports I could and started running when my sister started it. It wasn’t for sport, it was just for fun. I got to where I was running five miles a day cross country. Then I was stretching it to ten miles once or twice a week. The idea of doing a marathon or some other type of organized run never entered my mind. We didn’t do those kinds of things in rural southeastern North Carolina.
After college and marriage (we married between two years of grad school), I bought The Huffy and started using it to ride around town for exercise. I actually started treating it like a mountain bike and ended up nearly killing myself. Before long though, I had graduated to an actual mountain bike and started riding regularly at Paris Mountain State Park and nearly everyday at Timmons Park which is only a block or so from my house.
Time passed and Timmons Park was over taken by disk golfers and the trails were basically destroyed by the erosion caused by them walking all over the place. Sorry to offend if you are a disk golfer, but that game has destroyed a beautiful park. Now I cringe every time I try to ride my bike there.
I found the passion was gone and I was no longer riding. I wasn’t doing anything. My health took a nose dive and I got to the point where I knew I would have to do something if I planned to be able to play with my two boys once they got old enough to want get involved in sports.
I tried getting back on my mountain bike. With Timmons Park no longer a fun option and the logistics of loading a bike up to get to a trail taking so much time, I couldn’t get into it. While riding in Cleveland Park, I remembered seeing the “swans” go by on their road bikes. I realized that a road bike would allow me to get out quickly and there was no limitation on where I could go.
That was in 2006 and I have been riding ever since. This site is that story, so I won’t tell it all again. I’m feeling again that turn of mind that I felt as a teenager pushing myself to run to that next goal. Only now I am doing it on two wheels.
However, to debunk the myths. First, I do not train like a pro. At the most intense training times I might get 10 hours in during a week. Mostly I will ride three to four times a week with the majority of those rides being about an hour in length.
It isn’t my job that allows me time to ride, it is my wonderful wife who has bought into this with me. She sacrifices and arranges to allow me to get on my bike. It is an obvious way that she shows me she loves me and it makes me love her all the more.
I have had some success racing my bike. However, I think I have to thank my dad and mom for that. I come from a family with hearty constitutions. My dad is one of those guys who at 80 will look 60. He is just a normal looking guy but as strong as an ox. No doubt in my mind he would be a killer endurance athlete!
That is why though I am as skinny as a bean pole, I have a bit of strength. Most times people are surprised by how much I can lift. I think I got a bit of my dad’s endurance gene as well. On the bike this helps compensate for the lack of training.
From my mom I believe I got a high tolerance for pain. She has had rhumetoid arthritis for years. She amazes me with her ability to suffer and continue on. Anyone who rides competitvely knows that suffering is the name of the game. I like to think that when the going gets tough, I have a bit of her in my spirit.
I do believe that if I did have time to train like a pro, I could be up there giving those Masters 1, 2 guys a run for their money. I’m confident that the tools are there, I just don’t believe I have the committment to make it happen. The myths are not true. I do have a job — two in fact. I do have a family. So, I will just keep riding for fun, training as I can, and take the finishes as they come.
Now, for this writing business. Let me tell you how it works. I will stay up in the evening and write a piece for the next day, or I will get up early and write it. You will notice that most times in the morning you will find the alert that the post is up via @LowCadence. Then around lunch time, I will send out a notice via Twitter at @JPait. That one automatically goes up on Facebook.
I do write for fun. I used to think maybe I could make some money at it. Ha! Now I find it is just fun and I have to admit it has opened the doors for me to do some pretty cool things. As the site continues to bring on more readers (this still amazes me), I think that those opportunities will only increase. I also like to think that maybe this blog has encouraged some other local riders to jump into the blogosphere.
Thanks for reading. Sorry this is long, but it is my life story. 🙂 Bookmark this page because I’m not doing this again.