I mentioned Rondal "One of the Original Founding Members of the Statesville based STEM POSSE" Lineberger in yesterdays post like I was asking someone to pass the grits. Upon further reflection I realized that nothing about my friend Rondal is like passing the grits it's more like, please pass the buritos and or any other Spanish Mexican food treat.
Back in my other life, his too in 1993 Rondal and I worked together for the man in a 1 million Sq/ft Warehouse in the hamlet of Hell on the edge of Gaston County. I was sort of in charge of some people in the small department of which Rondal was one of the more senior 20 something employees of this section of the 'Tire' department. Rondal and I balanced the whole worker bee boss thing pretty well, he would lay out of work to go ride bike or board and I would tell him that only losers lay out of work, successful humans were never sick to go play. That year Rondal decided the smart thing to do would be to take me out to the trail on Julietta's rigid Nishiti. The first place he took me for my inaugural North Carolina ride was a 5mile Single track course in Statesville called Greenbrier. Rondal had been riding for a few years and I had not but found myself following him on his fancy Carbon frame, Aluminum lugged Cadex with original Manitou fork. Within 3 miles my breathing and body system was functioning so erratically I decided to pull along side of the trail and profusely vomit in all directions. Rondal stopped and said, "Poor Bill is getting sick." (Jackie Phalen would wind up repeating that same phrase over a decade later when she passed me on course at SSWC06 Stockholm) Rondal somehow had the patience to get me through that grueling 5 miler and when it was over told me that we were going to Catawba River next, then Poplar and then we would go to Yancey's Ridge in the mountains. He had me on a half year training plan and I soon got my own bike, a geared Cannondale M400. From those early days of riding with Rondal, Shannon St. Claire, his brother Evan and Swanny I became addicted to the feeling of being on a bicycle in the woods on the mountain. Besides eating and watching my little family engage the world nothing compares to how great a bike ride is and can really be.
I moved away to Pennsylvania in 1995 for 3 more years of the successful job before all the great PA mountain riding and my own personal awareness forced me to resign my job which up until that point I had thought was some sort of success. While I was gone Rondal started moving up the Corporate ladder with several promotions all the way up to management. I came home in 98 and found out that he and I basically switched lives. I went from serious responsibility in the work place to becoming a rebel goof wanting to go outside and ride all the time. So much so I became a messenger in Charlotte to support my livity with a fraction of the income I had been used to. Rondal took on tons of work level tasks, stopped riding and would never lay out of work anymore even if I begged and told him that he was supposed to lay out, it was in his destiny. He and his wife Mary Cinnamon live up in Maiden now and he is riding again on his new squishy bike. A few weeks ago we rode together and had some laughs at Catawba and I look forward to hitting the trail with him again soon, give me a call pal anytime. Thanks so much for taking me out there and showing me what was going on all those years ago!