Joseph Washburn - Member Profile - CycleBlaze

Member Profile

Joseph Washburn


Title Ratings
Overnight Down the Trace 15


In many ways bicycles havebeen a part of my life for as long as I can remember.  Growing up, my friends and I had variousbikes…most of which were pieced together from parts taken off several otherbikes.  But while we may not have knownexactly what we were doing we managed to keep these bikes rolling.  We also managed to survive some very unwisedecisions on those bikes…fortunately at a time before anyone had heard ofsocial media.

While pursuing a degree inmusic education at the University of South Carolina running gave me anoutlet…and also led to a renewed interest in cycling.  During those years I read about the CoorsLight Biathlon series.  The only problemwas…I needed a bike.  So, I found alittle bit of money an purchased my “first real” bike from Sears.  OK…it wasn’t a great bike perhaps, but it wasthe best bike I had ever had and it served me well for many years.  Running and cycling became somewhat of apassion.  Perhaps I read too much, thoughmy professors would probably have said I needed to read more…particularly mytext books, but I read a few articles in a cycling magazine on some bicycletours and my mind began to dream of loading up my bike and hitting the road.  But graduation and further degree work seemsto have pushed those thoughts out of my mind. In fact, within a few years my bike had pretty much rusted away and Iwas busy trying to work and take care of my family.

 And then one day, in 2005,I realized that I was spending most of my time working and reclining on thesofa eating things that tasted great but were not too good for me.  I also realized that at 40 years of agesomething had to change. A passing conversation with the cycling coach of thelocal college led to me purchasing my first bicycle since college...a mountainbike. The coach had me begin riding down a one mile hill and then back up thehill.  It wasn’t easy…but I did it.  Of course, he never told me it was OK to stopand rest if I needed to!  After a couple ofweeks I found that I could do that twice. It was then that I realized I had officially caught the bug.  Ashot time later he invited me to borrow his son’s road bike and he took me on aroad ride.  A few weeks later I convincedmy wife that I needed a new bike…and I purchased my second bike...a Masi roadbike.  This bike opened the door for me to go on longer rides and newchallenges.  

 For years I spent my freetime either on my mountain bike or road bike. And then I started reading about gravel riding.  With no money in the budget to buy a new bike for gravel riding, I did thenext best thing…picked up an old Trek 700 Multi Trek rigid mountain bike thatwas pretty much a rusted hunk of junk.  Istripped it down and began buying new parts and slowly built me a bike thatintroduced me to some new adventures on some local gravel road. 

 This was actually prettylife changing!  OK, maybe not LIFEchanging, but certainly changed my cycling life.  I find that when I’m on my mountain bikeriding trails, I am pretty obsessed with completing the trail with out crashingor putting my foot down.  (Of course, Idon’t always meet my goal).  And when Iam on my road bike I like to do my ride and return home as quickly aspossible…of course, not nearly as quickly as my friends I ride with.  I am usually the one dangling off the back ofthe group.  But on my gravel bike I loveto take it all in.  I love stopping forpictures or simply to take in the beauty around me.  All three of these cycling disciplines exciteme…and all three for different reasons.

 In 2017 we againrelocated…to an area with little to no gravel options.  With my wife working out of town a couple ofnights a week, I started browsing YouTube videos and somehow stumbled upon somebike touring videos…and an old dream was renewed.  I decided to rebrand and modify my gravelbike for touring.  With this new desireto tour growing I signed up, and completed the “Mountains to Coast” ride acrossNorth Carolina in the fall of 2018.  Thiswas a fully supported, 7 day, 475 mile ride from Black Mountain, NC to OceanIsle, NC.  Not having to worry aboutcarrying my gear I could focus on just pedaling my bike.  Prior to this my longest ride was 60miles…our shortest days on this ride were 65! It was great…and the touring bug just increased.  The problem was, when I went out to work onmy soon to be transformed gravel bike, I discovered that someone like it morethan I did…it had been stolen!  OnThanksgiving Day!    

 Well, PerformanceBicycle’s bad fortune was my good fortune…I was unexpectedly able to pick up aFuji Touring bike, which I had been looking at for some time, at half price.  I’m still piecing together some of my touringgear, but will soon embark on my first self-supported trip…with many more