In The Beginning

I rode the Berryman trail near Potosi Missouri. It was one trail that made a 25-35 mile loop around the foot hills of the Ozarks in Mark Twain national forest. It was reminiscent of Tsali near Bryson North Carolina. I had raced Tsali once long ago, before I started this Quest. Then the spark that rekindled my interest in my Quest, Super Storm Sandy caused a slow down at work, for me, and my wife Tammy, mostly was telecommuting, mostly, as she went on a work reduction plan due to health concerns. I will not be a Debbie Downer with the details, but we have had Bucket list discussions, including her childhood dream of visiting every state, in a meaningful way, not just driving through!

So Sandy made it hard to telecommute and I was jonesing to ride more than a quarter mile without having to move, cut out or crawl over blow downs! We mapped out 5 IMBA Epics all within a few hours of each other where North Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee meetup. I managed to ride:
Dupont State Forest, near Brevard, North Carolina
Jake/Bull Mountain near Dahlonega, Georgia
Tanasi Trail near Ocoee, Tennessee

On our way back from Tennessee to North Carolina, it dawned on me that this is one of those "The time is right"-"Do it before it is too late" situations. Rewind 10 years and Tammy could not sit through the 2 hour 25 mile per hour switch back through mountains and many waterfalls. But watching her cry tears of joy at each new majesty that nature presented us, made it very poignant for me. A couple years back, after she came out of remission, I told her that we could sell the house, cash everything in and drive an RV around the country. I meant it, but she still had an incessant need to work. No cold turkey for her. Now that she has been weaned back a bit, I am making good on that promise. Tammy is still so concerned with my happiness. After all it was while on a trip Minnesota for her daughters Birthday, with a stop at the Rock-n-Roll hall of fame in Cleveland Ohio on the way and a stop at Mark Twain's hometown, that Tammy asked me what I wanted to do. She thought we were doing too much "Just" for her. I insisted that it was fine, but she insisted back. That is when I remembered that old bike magazine with the IMBA epics that I saved all these years.

Everything is online now and we found the Berryman trail. So there it is in circular fashion, I do admit, that is just how I roll.


  1. Your story strikes a chord with me. My wife and I lost our home to Hurricane Ivan in 2004 along with most of our "stuff". We moved into a RV and toured the country for almost 4 years before becoming pregnant, eventually losing that child at birth but going on to have a healthy baby girl the following year. We had to settle down at that point. But in that time of touring in the RV I rode so many mountain bike trails. I too started riding in the 80s, on a Huffy no less. I wish I would have kept up better on documenting the trails I have ridden. I did put many of the trail rides in our One Shoe Diaries blog. But with the popularity of the blog in regards to travel and photographing lost shoes, the rides took back burner. Here lately though, the Epics have been calling my name. Especially the ones out west. I have hit most of the ones near me, I live in Pensacola so I have many within 8 hours drive for me. I am just starting to read your blog and check out your list. It will take me a while to catch up to you for sure, and probably never will. If you ever get down this way we have a several great networks of trails here Id love to ride with you. Thanks for the inspiration and have fun riding!

  2. Hello Randy,
    Very interesting parallels.
    I have ridden the epics in Florida, Alafia River State Park, Balm-Boyette and of course Santos. Along with several other systems. There are a lot of tools out there now that where not there when I started; MTBproject and Trailforks and of course