Every rider tells a story don’t he?

michael long

South of town I see this guy heading towards me, he turns around so I wait.

Do you know how to get to Oceanside?

Yep, through the base.

They wouldn’t let me through.

Did you have ID?

My racing license…

Well, we need to get your real ID… you staying in a local hotel?

Best Western.

Okay, let’s go back and get it… I’m in no hurry, and headed that way.

My name’s Michael, we shake hands… I’m Todd.

ID in pocket, we roll up Coast Highway and catch Dave.

Where are you headed?

I’m meeting the guys at the T-shirt shop, then Celo Pacific.

Awesome… I’ve always wanted to do that ride… we can cruise down, draft the pack back.  Just what I’m a needin’.

Introductions are made, we point south.   Chatting, getting to know new faces.  Michael mixes right in… we’re rotating a double pace line with an odd number, always someone new to talk to.

At the end of the base, the boys are whipped out to water spring weeds, while we wait for the Celo crew.

Here they come, right on cue we are hammering at 35mph with a steady, unusual southern wind.  OK, new guy could be shot out the back… this train is being stoked by big lumber.

I make a move up the final hill before the North gate, solo through the small gate onto the emergency runway… the group is way back, it’s now or never… never, I scratch and latch onto a break of 4 very fast guys.

The tunnel under the 5 is wet and muddy, we slow and the main group reconnects.

Michael is there and takes a pull on the front. Nice job, new guy!

Tri guy takes the lead through the campground and stays there averaging 30mph, nobody comes around for miles.  I’m right behind him, so blame me tri guy.

Up the hill, the group swarms us… new guy included… lining up the sprint, it’s a fast one and the interlopers from San Clemente take the V.  Pretty sure the CP guys hate that… I sit up and congratulate tri-guy on the manly pull.

Cruising back through town, Michael and I decide to catch a “coffee” at Kaylani‘s.

Turns out he works for Travis Pastrana’s Nitro Circus… he’s used to managing rock groups, now manages the US tour for TP – there are 3 tours running this year.

Turns out he had a ride to Europe to race pro and went all teenager with his step-dad and screwed that up.

Turns out he raised a family, started riding again in his 30’s, and was instantly running with pros.

Turns out family came first so he retired again.

Turns out he got back on the bike 5 years ago and was easily spinning with the local hot shots.

Turns out a freaking car turned in front of him as he was crossing the line for the win on a local ride: broken neck, sternum, bleeding on the brain.

Turns out he’s tough – he is Aussie – and last year he qualified for Master’s World Championships.

Turns out he’s another gem, just riding along.