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30 square miles surrounded by reality

May 16, 2007

The more I travel, the closer I hold true the timeless saying, "There is no place like home." If only these carbon soled Nikes could harness Dorothy's magic powers. Somewhere in between my road trip to NORBA's opener (Note: The series is now called the National Mountain Bike Series (NMBS) - ed.) in Arizona and my 40 hour round trip trek to the infamous Sea Otter Classic, I lost my travel legs (despite the efforts of our new Volkswagen Touareg?).

Maybe I am getting soft and old at the ripe age of 28, but after only a month of racing I have opted to abort my original plan to drive to most of the NORBA's and take the path of least resistance, United flight 1161.

Home for the past three years has been one of America's cycling paradises, Boulder, Colorado. From the parking lots littered with roof racks to the hundreds of miles of bike paths that are plowed before the city streets, cycling is in this city's blood. So much so that it is the only place I have ever been where it is border line acceptable to sport the casual chamois in the grocery store (For the record, I don't condone such behavior).

Despite the typical stereotypes associated with the liberal republic of Boulder, these 30 square miles surrounded by reality are the ideal stomping grounds for nearly 100 professional cyclists. When your idea of "going to the office" involves a daily dose of chamois cream and four hours of monotonous motion, it pays to have a healthy dose of the best performance enhancer out partners.

If the rolodex of pros to choose from wasn't enough, you have more than your share of group rides to get out there and flex your quads. Every Tuesday and Thursday, the "guaranteed to make you suffer" Bus Stop ride leaves from North Boulder. Show up only if your idea of fun is getting pulled around by Tyler Hamilton on his fixed gear at 40 mph. Then it's Wednesday mornings for a little taste of dirt and your morning short track practice. If you are still biting at the bit, show up on any given Sunday and simply sit and drink coffee outside North Amante and Boulder Cycle sport with 150 of your closest lycra-clad friends and call it a ride. Pick your poison...

With all these opportunities to get out and work on the tan lines, I have learned through the tried and true method of trial and error, how fine the line between over-training and staying healthy truly is. With that being said I am learning to enjoy a balance of quality and quantity that hovers more on the quality side of living.

United Flight 1161 to Fontana, California is preparing for departure so I need to fold this Mac up and gear up for the next NORBA. Learning from our mistakes is genius, making the same mistake twice is no one's fault but our own.... See you out there!

Best of Rides,
Nick Martin

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27-year-old mountain bike racer Nick Martin specializes in cross country and endurance off-road events. The Boulder, Colorado, resident aims for a breakthrough year in 2007. In his sights are top 10 finishes at individual races and the overall in the US National Mountain Bike Series (NMBS). While cross country races will be his primary focus, Martin will also be on the line at short track events. The Team Trek VW racer gave up everything three years ago to capitalize on the opportunity to go pro. Ever since, he has been building confidence and making a name for himself on the national scene. In 2006, Martin finished 14th overall in the NMBS series and took fifth at the 24 Hours of Moab. When not on his bike, he's busy honing his writing and photography skills.