Amateur cyclist Jerry Walters has always wanted to take his hobby to the next level. Now at 36 years of age, he’s decided to chase his dream of becoming a professional mountain bike racer.
Earlier this year, Walters, an avid reader of Outside Magazine, realized that he owned thousands of dollars of recreational and outdoor fitness equipment that he rarely used.
At the time, Walters owned four different custom-built bicycles, 2 kayaks, and drove an off-road package Toyota Tacoma that had never left pavement.
“I used the kayaks once a few years ago, but it was hard to get them on and off the roof rack of the truck, so I never tried again. Also, I didn’t like getting the truck dirty.”
Tired of watching the technology on his bikes slowly become outdated, Walters decided to dive into the world of competitive mountain bike racing. At 5′ 7″ and 180 pounds, he knew what he needed to focus on first: Equipment upgrades.
“I knew that if I wanted to start racing competitively, the first step was going to be pouring cash into upgrades to my bike that would imperceptibly improve my performance.”
Walters began by upgrading to carbon-fiber wheels, pedals, and seat-post. He then had his local cycle shop shave weight off of the bike’s frame, drilling holes wherever possible.
“I was really hoping to get another 100 grams of weight off the frame,” Walters explained between sips of chocolate milk he drinks for “recovery.”
“A few ounces could mean a few seconds, and at the top level that’s the difference between first and second place.”
At time of press, Walters was working on getting his newly upgraded bike into the bed of his truck, sweating profusely and visibly out of breath with the effort.