Mountain bikers can be classified in two distinct categories: Those who entered the sport by buying a mountain bike and hitting the bike paths, trails and so on. The second is what I call Feral Roadies - or roadies gone wild. I know a lot of folks that fall into that category including myself.
I started on a Trek (don't remember the model) road bike back in 1985, the year I graduated high school. Within 5 years, I was racing and by 1997, I was doing pretty well as a Cat 4 and was working my way towards Cat 3. I had a mountain bike and it got used sparingly. A few things happened that made my path turn towards the wild. First, I got married. Getting married in and of itself isn't a bad thing but when your partner doesn't quite get that when you say you ride bikes for fun, you mean you ride your bike in a year more than some people drive their cars. It took a while but we got that worked out and came to an understanding.
The second and most profound change came in the early Spring of 2000 when my good friend and bro Rob Horn invited me to be on a team for the 24 Hours of Snowshoe. It seemed like the most insane thing I could think of but still I was interested. I went to Snowshoe that June and had my bloody ass handed to me in a burlap sack. I had fitness but my technical skills sucked.
Instead of being discouraged like many that never returned to Snowshoe, I became determined and 5 years at the University of Snowshoe made me a mountain biker.
I rode my road bike less and less and at one point, 2003 I think, I didn't even own a road bike. I got hooked on endurance races and to date, I have done about thirty 12 and 24 hour races both on teams and in the past couple of years, I have gone to the solo side. This year is the first year for me doing the hundies and I think I'll like them since they are not laps around the same 8 or 9 mile loop (that gets boring) and they are shorter than a 12 or 24 hour event and everyone is on the same page (at lap races you constantly have these fresh, rested team riders blowing past you with regularity. I hate that). 12 hour races aren't to bad but 24 hour solo races are really hard. I guess that's why I only have one of them on my schedule.
I still ride my road bike, in fact I do about 80% of my training on the road. I still love mixing it up with the local roadies in training races (they do a race every Tuesday night here during the Summer that I absolutely love) and alot of my friends are roadies.
Inside me however, is a dirt and mud covered heart.