June 21, 2020

Stu – Cycling: the thing that almost took my life, gave it back

My name is Stu, aka Mav Rick. I am 44 years old and live in Houma, Louisiana, USA (the origin of the Swamp Thing comic series). I’m a dad to daughter (15) and son (2) and wife who allows me every day to ride, run and adventure like a part-time job. I work for a survey and engineering firm as a Remote Sensing Project Manager (we fly drones and do 3D stuff).
My dad was a keen runner and cyclist (and still rides some at the age of 71). He did many races in both disciplines so I was influenced and took part in those with him. I was also raised in the 80s and was immersed in the punk rock culture: we were into BMX, freestyle, and skateboarding from ramps to street—anything to try and outdo the other guy or risk hurting ourselves! Back then, I wasn’t very good at any of those things per se, but I loved being a part of it and still do to this day.

I probably entered my first road cycling race in 1990, at age of 15, on an entry level Giant road bike while I was in military school. I probably finished dead last after pulling along a teammate who cramped and crashed. Thereafter, my high school years I was more interested in partying then joined the Navy, traveled the world and forgot about bikes for a while.
Around ‘99 I started to get the itch for MTBing after a friend got a bike and we started traveling to various places to ride trails of all kinds. It was pretty much expected on a every trip once of us was going to crash. I remember visiting restaurants after we had finished riding, and getting stares from people because we would be all dirty and bloody! Around ’02 I hooked up with local cyclists in New Orleans and we started a MTB club to build and maintain a trail system at the Bonnet Carre Spillway. Thereafter I crossed over to cycling commuting to work, some road cycling, and did alley-cat racing also.

In 2012, I was “T-Boned” by a truck while riding a fixie bike late one night in New Orleans. I suffered a contusion (brain bleeding) was in ICU for a week and 3 months of recovery. I suffered from PTSD symptoms trying to adjust to normal. I wasn’t sure after the accident if the doctors would allow me to ride again, but they thought it might help my recovery. Thereafter I like to think I was reprogrammed, as endurance and challenges took on an entire new level. I’ve done solo rides of 150, 175, 200 miles, several years of 10,000+ miles, and ran several ultramarathons (a few 30s and a 50-miler).

These days I don’t get hung up in the #’s as much as I used to, I just try to keep challenging myself and progressing. I still enjoy long miles and my solitude with my ‘Forrest Gump moments’ like watching the sunrise above the cane fields, bayous, or swamp. I also enjoy leading group rides and staying on the front pulling all-day. I love to suffer and plus the view is never as good when you’re in the middle of the pack watching someone else’s wheel!

Insta: https://www.instagram.com/mavrickthecyclist/
Strava: https://www.strava.com/athletes/mavrickthecyclist