Riding with CF since 2006
RideWithGPS: Oz's RidewithGPS.com Ride Library
Strava: Oz's Strava Profile
I've been riding a bike as long as I can remember. As a little boy growing up in Sacramento, I had a newspaper route. Back then, delivering newspapers by bike was the only way it was done. I had one of those banana seat bikes and my brother had one of those heavy-duty Schwinn bikes. Riding a bike around downtown Sac was the way to get around the neighborhood. I remember riding on the bike trail from downtown to Hazel and thought that was a ride to the other side of the moon. Back then we knew nothing about nutrition on the bike, as I carried my soggy taco in my back pack in the heat of summer! :-(
As I started high school and college, I ended up giving up the bike and became enomoured with cars for a long time. Later, I started a family and, as other parents do, taught my kids how to ride a bike—just like when I was a kid. At that time I was playing basketball and hadn't been on a bike for over 15 years. Seeing my son learn how to ride a bike brought back the joy that comes with the freedom of riding. We had moved to El Dorado Hill about that time and I thought I'd try and ride around the neighborhood, how hard could that be? :-) It was a real eye opener as I was barely able to ride 4-6 miles and not be totally winded. I eventually started getting back into shape and thought it would be fun to ride with a group for the social part of it, along with the fitness it would bring. I tried a couple of different groups around the area but really didn't find one that suited my desire to get better. The majority of them were more social and I wanted to get more fit and faster. I happened to come across a link to CycleFolsom.com and sent Steve Ward an email asking about it. Steve replied back and was of course encouraged to come out and try it.
Since I was a total newbie, I had no idea what to expect. I was over dressed for the ride and had never ridden with a group before. The ride was going to go straight up Auburn Folsom to Auburn and do our familiar loop around Newcastle and back to Folsom. I cramped both calves halfway up Auburn Folsom and had to get off the bike and try and stretch it out. Quinn Hawkinson stopped and waited for me. I told him to go on as I didn't think I could. He stayed with me and helped me get to the Maidu store in Auburn. I was already toast and the ride had barely started! After that ride, I was determined to stay with it (with the encouragement of the entire CF family, which was much smaller at the time). The next time that ride came up, I was determined to do better. The ride did come up again and I was able to stay with the group this time. Curtis Taylor actually was on the front and I was right behind him. He decided that he needed to take a "nature break" and pulls off! At that point I was on the front of about 12 riders for the first time (and thinking "this is pretty cool!"). That did it for me.
Now I'm totally hooked on cycling and the CF group, and ended up leading rides for what used to be the "A,B, C" groups, which we now refer to as the Performance, Peloton, and Grupetto groups, respectively.
Cycle Folsom has had ebs and flows in membership involvement. Some members back away from cycling, others excel beyond the rides CF has to offer. There was a period before Cycle Folsom started using Meetup for our ride schedules when Phil Blay, Gary Kurtz, and I would be the only one's to consistently show up on Saturday mornings in the parking lot at Karens Bakery to go on a ride. Things sure have changed!
I've seen many riders come through the group and I especially like seeing riders that spend the time and effort to get better and end up becoming really strong riders. I've been dropped so many times on rides that I've lost track. I try to use those opportunities to actually enjoy the landscape and views on a ride, as you don't always get to see them when you're "on the edge" following someone's wheel.
I enjoy riding in the hills around EDH, Cameron Park, and Rescue. I've learned to love them because if you hate climbing, it can really make a ride even tougher. I hate flat rides as I enjoy the ups and downs of the hills. My biggest cycling accomplishment is doing all 5 passes on the Death Ride in 2011, and participating in a memorial ride every year with friends in the Tahoe area.
I've been riding with Cycle Folsom for about 7 years now and it really does feel like a family at times. We look out for each other and support each other (except maybe when there's a sprint line or a KOM!). :-)
I'm a techie nerd, so I enjoy all the new electronic equipment that has come into the cycling industry the last couple of years. The materials that are used now are amazing, as are all the electronics. I can't wait to see what's next!
Oh and on a final note, I've held the nickname "Oz" for many years. While most people see it and immediately associate it with "The Wizard of Oz," I have no such powers. It's actually pronounced "Oh-Zee," and serves as convenient short-hand version of my ful name, Ozero Lee.
I look forward to seeing your out there on the roads and trails!