Mark Howland

I had come from a "classic" swimming and water polo background in high school and college, complete with the compelling need for some kind of suffering to make it all interesting. After finally retiring from chlorinated aquatics (surfing would stay put...), I dabbled in trail running events. After an injury put me on the sidelines my best friend suggested I give cycling a try, you know, "just until the injury gets better." Well, you know how that goes. I've been bike racing ever since, 32 consecutive seasons in all. Starting with road racing and cyclocross, I quickly became discouraged with all the stupid, mindless wrecks associated with the road scene. Turning to dirt racing almost exclusively though, allowed me blossom in a better direction. Cyclocross was my number one cycling passion. This took me to my first trip to Europe, to ride with the best in Belgium. I was lucky enough to get hooked up with Belgium's local heroes- the DeBie brothers. The proverbial student had found his teachers. Under Rudy's (the soft-spoken, eldest) mindful tutelage, I made huge gains there, both mentally and physically. Since then, I have been personally invited to 3 worlds' team selection camps at the Olympic Training Center ('90,'91,'94), won the NorCal district cross championships (elite 1994), and represented the US at 3 Masters World Mountain Bike Championships, and 5 Masters World Cross Championships. As a masters racer now, I seem to be thinking what a lot of cyclists my age are thinking- I wish I knew then what I know now. But a learning process is just that- a process. There isn't enough space here to thank all of the people that have helped me to achieve what little I have, but rest assured, I wake up every day profoundly grateful to all of them.

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