Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Inspiration - Barnabas Froystad

I hesitate before writing this, because in no way want to dishonor the memory of a fellow endurance MTB'er lost this weekend. But part of my blog, before it goes "live", was to talk about a few people that have inspired me in this adventure called endurance mountain bike racing, or bikepacking, or adventure bike racing. See, we are such a small subset, of a small subset, of a small subset, of anyone that rides bikes, that we really don't have an official name of our group really. Some people call that large group cyclists. In other words this is a pretty small group of people, and with today's technology, it is easier to stay caught up on people from literally around the globe. The unfortunate part of that is that we are not necessarily tight friends with people, or take the time to call, or even message.

So I feel close to a lot of people I have only spoken to casually a few times, especially if we share a common passion. And I was crushed yesterday to hear of the passing of Barnabas Froystad. BJ as some called him, always had a smile and a kind or supportive word for fellow bikers. I talked to him a few times before or after, or during TNGA, a grueling race across north Georgia. In fact, one time he had finished WAAYY ahead of me and was cleaned up and refreshed back at Bear Creek Bikes as I had about 18 hours to go. Had to be because he was 20 years younger, right? Could not have been preparation. Nah, he was better prepared and had youth on his side.

Anyway, Barnabas was one of my inspirations. He was all the time doing crazy big rides in Pisgah just for fun, and I loved to see his pictures and comments. I am sure he loved every minute of it. I wish I knew him better - he impacted many many people in such a positive way. You rarely know what someone is going through unless you are close, and you can recognize pain and hurt. Keep your friends, even Facebook or casual friends, in your thoughts and prayers. Pedal on in Glory Barnabas.

Monday, May 2, 2016

OK everyone this is my first attempt at blogging, so hang in there, it has to get better from here.

The first order of business is to introduce myself. My name is Mike Honcho. I was born somewhere in Jeff Williams' brain, with the help of a good friend and fellow adventurer Brent "State Farm" Nelson. We were in the middle of a two day training ride - I think in the Blue Ridge WMA near the Tellico River, and I needed a name as the 2013 TNGA roving reporter. If you know where the name came from, fantastic. If not, well, that's a story for another day. From that point on Mike Honcho became a way for me to stare long hours in the saddle, thinking up new creative ways, and hopefully humorous, to take away some of the mental and physical numbness.

Since then it has taken on a life of its own, with several hashtags and sayings that are somewhat inside jokes. I guess the hands-down winner has been #honchoup. A loose definition of that term means when the going gets tough, strap your shoes tight, take the slack out of your overalls, quit whining, and put your head down because there is work to do.

How did I get into endurance mountain biking? In 2012, I had no idea this craziness existed. Then on an evening ride with friends on a hot August night, we met a guy named Ryan Sigsby at the top of Horn Mountain on the Snake. He looked rough as a cob. We asked what he was doing and he told us the story of starting his ride at the SC/GA border. Holy cow. I was intrigued on the spot. And well, that was the beginning.

Fellow MTB'ers ask why I do this. People that don't MTB think I am a special kind of crazy. I even had one friend tell me "Hell, I don't hate myself that much." I guess it is the self-challenge, the self-dependency, and somewhat the adrenaline rush facing the unknown. Every ride is different, with special challenges and interesting people, locations, and scenery. There is something primal about being out in a sparsely populated area, pretty much alone with little modern communications and human interaction. It's hard to put it into words unless you are some type of adventurer.

I love being outside at night. I've been doing that since I was a kid. There is something magical about it to me. And I am overly concerned by nothing in the Appalachians except two-legged critters, and only a small portion of those.

So here we go. Another year of TNGA training, with a plan coming together for Tour Divide in 2017. Hopefully my ramblings can be of some help to someone out there.

Happy trails, Honcho