It’s Been Awhile…

Long time, no post… I say post vs write as I’ve started writing something multiple times over the past few years and then just never finished them up. There are a few race reports in there that I should circle back to. I may circle back to them still, along with a few other thoughts or articles I had started braining dumping notes on. For now, I thought I’d touch base and quickly recap what’s been up and see where things go…

steve hamlin

My time the last few years has been heavily occupied with my wife and I opening our own bike shop. That’s were all the time has been focused. Not to mention, both our kids are teenagers now. That said, I’ll admit, I was getting a little bored with some of the race reports leading up to that as well. I think it is because I was doing most of the same type of races or the same races, so the reports just seemed a bit repetative. But mostly, my focus is and has been on the new bike shop and my kids while I still have them at home. I know it will go by fast.

I could write a whole bunch of stuff about running a bike shop the past few years as well and I might get around to that. BTW, the shop is Maklin Bike Shop. It’s a small shop and we’ve been running it ourselves, which explains my absence here. Our oldest does work part time as well. We run a fairly reduced set of open store hours relative to other shops though, which gives us more uninterupted off sales hours to get service work done and take care of the back end of the business. That said, we really need to add help this year as we are not keeping up anymore. Even right now in the winter, we have more service work coming in than we can keep up with. It would also be nice to have the store open more hours for our customers.

As far as riding bikes… My riding since opening the shop became very intermittant or more of a ride when I can or ride how and what the boys want to ride. I also had a hard time coming back from getting sick in the winter/spring of 2020. Who knows if it was COVID as there were no tests yet, but we had to shut the shop down for almost 2 weeks. I had a hard time getting my fitness back after that. No lungs… Legs were swollen up most of the year and I would lose my breath hitting a tire with a floor pump. It took me that whole year to get some fitness back. In fact, I didn’t even go mountain biking until August that year. The whole year was rough and I experienced some heavy on and off fatigue throughout that year. I may come back and write about that down the road.

The next year in 2021, I started getting my fitness back over the winter and I had a pretty decent year of riding and racing. I raced quite a few of the Minnesota MTB Series races in the Elite class and did a couple gravel races. I even took an 8th overall at the Freedhem 76 that year. As far as the elite XC races, I was usually in the back half of the pack. I did have a couple decent races though. I had gained some weight as well and couldn’t climb worth a crap.

I gave the last DAMN a shot as well, signing up for the 480 double, but I did not have a good ride and pulled the damn plug at 200 miles. That was the first time I’d ever bailed. It was the right thing to do at the time, but I’m still kicking myself for it. That damn shirt sits in my t-shirt drawer taunting me every time I open it. I can’t get rid of it, but I can’t wear it… I did have my best Cheq 40 finish that year though, finishing 81st. I was feeling pretty good again by that time, but about 20 lbs heavier than 2 years prior. The Birkie rollers hurt…

Anyway, I ended up doing the Tuscobia 80 that winter and taking 4th. It was fun preparing for it. I way over packed for the 80, but I was treating it like a shake down for maybe doing other and longer winter ultras. I hadn’t planned on doing it until I think it was November when they sent out something saying they had open spots, so I signed up and got my gear together. That was really about the last thing I did as far as bike races…

I had some pretty ridiculous fatigue isses soon after and that entire winter / spring just like the previous year, but it was worse and even had some chest pains. I was beyond stressed with the shop as well during that time and it must have all just stacked up on me. I stopped riding for a couple weeks and that wasn’t enough. It was weird, cause I don’t ride a lot of miles relative to what I see others ride, but I wasn’t sleeping much either. That was that second season of inventory issues in the bike industry and now we were really struggling to get parts and had massive back orders for bikes and parts. Business was good, but it was a constant up and down roller coaster to run it behind the scenes.

I ended up at the doctors for various tests, blood tests, etc… and they couldn’t find anything. The hard part was that my resting heart rate had typically been in the low 40s, but it was now in the high 50s. For me that was abnormal and I could feel it beating out of my chest some days or when I would lie in bed at night trying to get to sleep. To the doctor, they thought I was healthy as a 25 year old and told me I was in my 40s now and I was just feeling the changes of age. They basically told me to take it easy for a few weeks and I’d probably start feeling better…

It was frustrating to say the least. I decided to just force ease my way back into it like I had 2 years prior. It took the whole year, but by August I went ahead and did a couple Cyclocross races with my boys. Fall was on and off and I could tell I over did it a few times here and there, but I put in a few good and fast road rides late in the season. I eventually dialed it way back for a couple weeks and kind of shut it off before restarting with just zone 2 rides in the morning.

You know… I didn’t really mean to get into all of this when I opened this post up, but maybe I’m ready to do some writing again. It felt good to let that all flow out through the keyboard. I’ll circle back on this stuff. This Endurance Path thing might just get rebooted.

I’ll finish with my kids… It’s really awesome having them out on the trails now. I have to get my fitness back this winter if I’m going to keep up with them this summer. Kyle actually beat me in one of those Cyclocross races. He came by me on a longer grassy hill and I couldn’t hold his wheel. Proudest I’d ever been as I could do nothing, but watch him ride me off his wheel up that hill.

Both boys had a great season of racing. Lynn raced all season as well and even won her age group with a full podium at one of the women’s sport races. The boys went from racing kid’s comp the previous year to the 13 year old racing Sport class and the 15 year old racing Comp and both holding their own.

Reid took 23rd overall at the Cheq 16 mile from a gate 2 start, of which I picked him up from the finish and drove him to River Falls just in time to get into the start line for his 7th grade race that he ended up winning. It was a nice double header day for him. Kyle did the Cheq 40 and finished 368th out of 1272 in his first Cheq 40 and coming out of gate 7 (the last starting gate). He also took 5th the next morning at his 9th grade race.

Reid ended up winning 4 out of 5 of the 7th grade races and taking the overall series win. The race that he took 12th in was the first race and he had drawn a last row start and those races are real short. After that, he won every race forward. Kyle ended up 5th in the 9th grade series with a 3rd place finish at the finals race. The boys had a great year and it was awesome for me to be there to support them and watch them grow throughout the season. I’m really looking forward to it again this year. If I can get my fitness back, stable and feeling good again, then I think I will join them in racing.

That felt good to sit down to write, it kind of all just flowed out once I started typing. Maybe it’s just time to get back at it. I feel like I’ve got a few race reports in there of either my own or some more recaps on Lynn and the boys’ racing if they’ll let me. We’ll see, stay tuned…

-Steve

1 Comment

  1. Amy Sotis on January 22, 2023 at 9:02 pm

    Great read, Steve!! Thanks for the update.

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