Who Am I, Really?

I thought about introducing myself, or reintroducing myself for those of you who remember the Captain’s Log of yore. But this has been building inside for way too long. Okay, short version: Captain Dondo was my pen name in Mountain Bike Magazine from 1993ish to 2000ish. I had a column in which I was supposed to write about mountain biking. I made sure there was always a mountain bike in the story, but they were about Larger Things: Hope, Prejudice, Fear, Love, Lust, Insanity and so on. I killed Captain Dondo and moved on some years ago. Lately I’m rethinking that murder.

Freaky part is, the legend lives on. Went to a mountain bike festival in North Carolina (Crossroads, sponsored by First Flight Bicycles in Statesville) in August of 2006. Guess they were scraping the bottom of the mountain bike celebrity barrel and my name came up. The bulk of the story might be in upcoming issue of Dirt Rag, if they don’t lose it or trade it for beer. The freaky part is the fans are still out there, but they aren’t the schlumpy middle-aged guys I managed to reach in the first go-round. It’s their sons. This sub-25-year-old guy comes up to me and says, “Yeah, I started reading your stuff in 1995. Remember the story you wrote about…” He’s fresh out of grad school and living in L.A. now, but he came home for the Crossroads festival, which is very cool. Soon as I can figure out how to post links, I’ll turn you on to all the details. I had no idea the 14-year-olds were part of the mix back then. What’s cool is this one is still riding.

I’ve got the urge to make noise about bikes again. The loud voices of the tragically fashionable and fitness obsessed shouted me down because my way of life challenged them. How could I not ride to lose weight, get stronger and woo chicks? How dare I ride my bike simply to ride my bike? Maybe they were afraid my way wouldn’t sell bikes or bike magazines. But their radically chic way has jammed the mountain bike demographic into that 18-34-year-old male category also known as “makes no real money.” I’m going to be 47 next week. Okay, I’m broke. But my peers own multiple houses in multiple countries, yachts, Porsches and those sorts of things. And they like to ride like I like to ride. For fun. Sometimes for transportation. Sometimes to compete. And a side benefit of regular riding is improved fitness, better health and all that rot. But it’s not why I’m heading to the Kingdom Trails this weekend with my sidekick and spiritual advisor, Tattoo Dave. We’re just going to ride ourselves silly, then pig out on Freightliner Burgers at the Exit 17 truck stop and go home to our families. End o story.

Come back to visit soon. I have all sorts of ideas you might like. Or hate. Or wonder about late at night.

Dondo out.

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