I owe a lot to Joe. I owe a lot to Joe’s. Joe’s Bike Shop.
I’ve raced my bikes for thousands of miles this year. I’ve trained for another few thousand. I’m hard on bikes. You can’t do long endurance mountain bike racing without being hard on bikes. You can’t put in the kind of time you need to train for Ironman without putting a lot of wear on your bike.
Most of my first year of riding I neglected my bikes. I rode and rode and rode and did very little to take care of my bikes. So I had problems. My first couple races of the year were a little rough because of mechanical problems. I was halfway through my first National Ultra Endurance Series (NUE) race when my shifting went haywire. A mechanic at an aid station told me I was going to lose my ability to shift soon.
That hurt. You don’t want to drive 10 hours and race 5 hours to break down in the middle of the Cohutta 100 and have the dreaded DNF (“Did Not Finish”). My bike neglect had caught up with me.
Then I stumbled into Joe’s. My friend Ethan worked there and so I stopped in and was crying about my bike and my DNF. Ethan said,
Before every race get your bike over here and we’ll make sure your bike is ready to race.
I haven’t had a single problem since. My last 5 races my bike has been perfect.
My favorite part of Joes? Everyone rides. Everyone in the shop. Joe’s understands people who ride bikes because the people at Joe’s are people who ride bikes.
I ordered a new bike a couple of weeks ago. My body takes a beating riding 100 miles on a mountain bike. I decided I could use a full suspension bike to save some energy, go a little faster, and spare my body wear and tear. But my bike won’t be in for a month and I have endurance races three out of the next four weeks. I was a little bummed that the new bike wasn’t going to be here for these races.
Then Joe offered me a loaner until my bike was in. So today I pedaled through the woods training on a Scott Genius 910 with some sweet Enve wheels on it. I felt like a pro zipping along the single track as fast as I could. It was comfy AND fast. I can’t wait to race on it next weekend at Shenandoah 100. And then two weeks later at Fool’s Gold 100.
I was in Joe’s last week getting my bike ready for the Hampshire 100 MTB race and Joe showed me his new sign. One of his clients made him a new sign out of granite or some heavy stone. It’s awesome. I asked Joe why the guy made it. He said:
I’m not sure. I think he’s just a fan of the shop.
I could understand that. I’m a fan of the shop as well.
I feel like I get special treatment at Joe’s. But then I got to hang out at Joe’s last week and steal his wifi while I was waiting for something to get tweaked on one of my bikes. I was there working on the couch for about an hour and I had a realization as I listened to Joe, Ethan, and Nate deal with customers: everyone gets special treatment at Joe’s. It’s not just me. It’s just the way Joe does business.
Joe gets to know people. Joe likes people. Joe knows bikes. Joe likes bikes. It’s a pretty good combination.