Interview With Mountain Biking & Cyclo-Cross Competitor: "Nevada" Dave Norton Interviewed by Ben Tatar of CriticalBench.com - February 2009
CRITICAL BENCH: Critical Bench is here with "Nevada Dave Norton," who is very involved with Cyclesports. Dave weclme to Critical Bench and great to have you with us. Tell us about yourself.
I guess I could sum me up by saying that I'm a funny, hard working, nice guy. I'm not uncomfortable around pretty much anyone. Lived in many many places, experienced many people, done many things, and still haven't quite figured out what my purpose and meaning is in life. Oh yeah, I have ridden and raced approximately one Susquetillion miles on many bikes. I love bikes!
CRITICAL BENCH: How did you get involved with Cyclesports?
I've always loved bikes since I can remember. Starting with drag racing big wheels (no, not racing wearing a dress), down West street in Bloomsburg Pa, where I grew up. When I got into high school, I became too cool for a bike, and chose a muscle car instead. While living in Germany with the Army in 1987, I bought a mountain bike, and rode it everywhere. More cobblestones than dirt, but still rode the heck out of that bike. Mountain biking was VERY new then. I had no clue. 1990 I went on my first mountain bike ride in Pa after getting out of the Army. 30 miles in the snow with an experienced friend, and I began to "slightly" hallucinate due to exhaustion. AKA "BONK". From that day on I was hooked. I first raced in the desert outside of Las Vegas in 1996. Usually came in top five in the beginner class. (nothing to write home about) So I guess that's when the racing bug bit me.
CRITICAL BENCH: Tell us what cyclesport exactly is and what it is about cyclesports that you love so much? What are your favorite types of cyclesports?
There are Many different types of cyclesports. Everything from what you see Lance Armstrong doing, to bicycle polo for Pete's sake. (who's this Pete guy anyway?) I love the BIKE, and anyone that rides it, or races it in anyway, my hat or helmet is off to them. My two favorite types of racing are, MOUNTAIN BIKE RACING, and CYCLOCROSS. Mountain Bike racing is usually done on a course in the woods, and or a ski resort. Much of the race or riding will be done on what is called "singletrack". This is a beautiful dirt trail carved out of the floor of the forest. It's only about a foot wide, and it acts like a monorail esque roller coaster ride through the woods. Up down bumpy smooth curvy straight. Always changing, and what I love about it most is when I can actually get into a flow with the everchanging terrain.
Cyclocross! ADRENALINE! Spectator friendly, many cowbells, heart rate through the ROOF! This is a type of racing that resembles steeplechase, but replace the horses with BIKES! Steel horses as I would call them. 1 mile or so course, made very difficult. Raced on beefed up road bikes. More mud the better. Barriers to hop over. I could go on and on. If you are reading this do yourself a favor, and do an Internet search for CYCLOCROSS. You won't be disappointed.
To try and answer the part of the question of why I love it so much; I would have to say I don't know. I just do it.
CRITICAL BENCH: How did you get sponsored by BMF Sports?
I happen to go to the same Buddhist Temple that Bud Lyte goes to, and we always would have lengthy conversations after. Sometimes they would spill over into the uptown diner up the street, and one day after pancakes I agreed to do the BMF shuffle for a while.
CRITICAL BENCH: David, what do you think of Bud Lyte?
I think that he is the MOST super articulate, to the point, ultra pragmatic, non dogmatic, driven, mostly optimistic, interesting, unique, diner loving, flapjack eatin, down right nice guy, that I have ever met!
CRITICAL BENCH: What was it like getting sponsored by Bud Lyte from BMF Sports?
He offered me the world. I think he was more excited and enthused about what I was doing, or could do, than I was! To be very honest, I got into a training fog, and was rather procrastinative about my end of the deal. I'm not very technologically savvy, so I just rode my bike, and didn't take full advantage of all that he was offering me.
CRITICAL BENCH: So far in your cycling journey what has been your favorite, craziest, funniest, and most memorable moment?
Favorite: Winning the 2008 ILLinois State Cyclocross Championship (Great DAY!) CRAZIEST: Midnight ride in the desert on a borrowed Huffy with a seat that broke off. Don't ask. FUNNIEST: I was finishing up a Mountain bike race in Wisconson. Bout a hundred spectators yelling, the announcer announced my name as I came across the line, and asked me to "Pop a wheelie"......Well, I popped a wheelie, and landed flat on my back. I didn't mean to do it either. FUNNY! MOST MEMORABLE: Well, it isn't actually a "moment", but the most memorable experience on a bike was when I rode solo, from Portland OR, to upstate NY. Left New Years Day, and went down the coast to San Diego. Would like to write a book about that someday. SOON!
CRITICAL BENCH: Do you train? Tell us about your training philosophy and your training routine?
Yes I train. I trained very very very much last year. I started out training in January, for my target race in August. I believe in starting out like a steam train. BASE. Spin spin spin. I use a heart rate monitor, and stay low. (right at your aerobic zone). I followed general guidelines for training, but listened to my own body too. After a while I just stayed at Threshold Heart Rate for hours and hours. I was training for a very long endurance race though. Read articles, talk to people that are doing what you want to do, and then just DO IT !
CRITICAL BENCH: What is it about being an extreme athlete that you just love?
I love doing anything that makes most people say "what"?
CRITICAL BENCH: What does your family think about what you do?
They aren't that athletic. I have shown them some videos of mountain bike racing, so I think that helped. But I can't imagine them having a clue as to what it is really like. They just want me to be happy.
CRITICAL BENCH: How do you want to be remembered?
I'm not dead yet! When I kick the bucket, I suppose I would like to be remembered as being a tireless giving funny nice guy.
CRITICAL BENCH: What makes you happy?
Chemicals in my brain produced by aerobic activity. Searching for other things, but for now that's it.
CRITICAL BENCH: How did you get the name "Nevada" Dave Norton?
Not that romantic. I moved from Nevada to New York, and where I worked there was 4 daves. We were all from different states, so we all went by our state names, to know just who the heck we were. However, if you look at the word Nevada, you will notice that if you spell it backwards, avoiding the first letter a, you will notice that is spells daven which is my first name and first initial of my last name. WOW!!
CRITICAL BENCH: What are your future goals?
To not stop racing, but race less. Find purpose and meaning in life. If I can't find it, then this IS my purpose, and I will begin riding VERY fast again, despite my age.
CRITICAL BENCH: What was the best and worst advice you were ever told?
Best advice would be that there are fractions and full seconds in each corner during a bike race. WORST advice: Carbo load the night before a race. Not good. Very bad!
CRITICAL BENCH: How are you going to remember your cycling journey?
What a looooong strange trip it's been!
CRITICAL BENCH: It has been fun and it has been fun talking to you. In closing who would you like to thank?
Paolo Urizar, Brian Parker, Craig Mogel, Doug Bowman, Keith Royle, Monica Mateo, and Brad Majors. Each one of them have their own big impact on my mountain biking life.