Growing up around cars and drag racing through my dad I guess it is easy to see why I always had an interest in motorsports, cars and motorcycles. My dad would take me to the dragstrip from an early age when he raced (where I helped crew, and learned through observing), plus checked out the cool Anglias, Austins, Camros, dragsters, etc. on a weekly basis, as well as attending the NHRA Mile High Nationals. We'd also go to car shows in the Denver, Colorado area like the Tri-State Auto Show and Rocky Mountain Street Rod Nationals, and there were always hot rod magazines around the house.
Living in the mountains at almost 10,000 feet of elevation from 4th grade until graduation, the ideal thing to have fun with was a dirt bike (plus playing baseball, which I lettered in and made the league all stars, and snow skiing in the winter, which I ranked #6 in the state for NASTAR one year). I would ride my dirt bike as much as possible on the dirt roads and trails in the mountains, and since I wasn't 16 yet it was also my transportation to and from other friend's houses on the mountain, most of which were miles away (which was actually relatively close for living in the mountains). Though I had always wanted to race motocross as a kid, the time spent on the motorcycle taught me good riding skills, and a love of riding in general.
My first on-track experience came while racing my KX 80 dirt bike at an all motorcycle event at Bandimere Speedway, our home track in the suburbs of Denver. A few years later (while still a Sophomore in High School) a friend of my fathers, who fielded a couple of bikes ridden by other riders, had an extra drag bike on hand. It was a black Kawasaki KZ 900 set up for racing with an extended swingarm, electric shifter, etc., and I got the nod to ride it. One of my memorable moments was on my first outing with this bike. After making a few passes (the first time I had ever ridden the bike, or any race bike for that matter) the owner had another guy, who rode one of his other bikes (and was the previous year's track champion who also rode a KZ 900), make a few passes on it for me to observe. Though we were almost the identical weight, my times were actually quicker than his!
The next year I moved up to the 900 the other guy had been riding (an orange bike affectionately called "The Pumpkin", and raced the full season. I had pretty good success, and learned a lot of the intricacies of racing. The next year I had a great start, was up in the points battle for the championship, but fell short in the end. The following year me and my father bought a Suzuki GS 1100 for me to race, and I wound up winning the track championship (while also attending Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado). My dad would prep the bike during the week while I was attending classes, and I would drive down for the races on the weekends. The race winnings were always great, as I was usually short on money while concentrating on college classes.
The following year we upgraded the same Suzuki to a Katana fiberglass extended body, along with some other mods. Coming down to the last few races I was trailing in the points a bit, and it would take some real success to be at the top again. I worked my way back up, and in the last event, after the leader went out first round, it came down to a do or die situation. I had to win the event to tie for the points championship. I was determined, worked my way through the rounds, and the whole time the track announcer built the situation up that if I did indeed win it would come down to a run-off for the title. Well, I did win, but then the track backed down on the run-off statement somewhat....saying that it would at least not happen that night (which I can understand, since I was in the groove, and the other guy had went out early). I guess in a meeting that week it was decided to give it to the other guy. We showed up the following week and had to find out the news just through talk in the pits, since we were never even notified (a situation handled very poorly). I guess they have since made it a rule that a run-off is the proper way to decide it (duh!), but that didn't help me at all back then. Oh well, I had a lot of fun racing at Bandimere Speedway, which really is a first class facility.
I bought my 1970 Karmann Ghia convertible in '92. My parents had owned a '72 Karmann Ghia convertible when I was a kid, and I fondly remembered riding around in it when we lived in south Florida. It was all stock and painted red when I bought it, and I drove it in that configuration for a little while. Then one day tragedy struck when going to Taco Bell with some friends in Ft. Collins, Colorado. I saw an approaching car's blinker on, pulled out into the intersection, they never did turn, and I learned a lesson the hard way.....NEVER trust blinkers. One of my dad's old High School buddies, Gary Tuten, did an excellent job of getting it all back into shape. Since I had planned on modifying it anyway I took this opportunity to have the wrap-around style front turn signals removed by putting marker lights inside the front vents, and remove other somewhat unattractive items for a clean look. A friend who worked with my dad, Chad Olson, then applied the teal blue paint. An adjustable beam for the torsion bar front suspension was used to lower the front end. Sewfine in Denver did much of the interior work, which includes a set of their adjustable bucket seats, and two-tone gray tweed.
After moving to Florida and starting the magazine with my father I became involved with freestyle bicycles. This was something that always interested me, and since I found myself spending a fair amount of time working on the computer it was a fun way to get exercise. I rode as musch as possible for about 10 years, but these days spend more time on my mountain bike than my freestyle bike.
Lately I've been doing lots of fishing in my free time, catching mainly bass.