Balancing Work & Play: Brad Cobb

Balancing Work & Play: Brad Cobb

September 28th, 2011 Mark Jones in Getout 5in9

Brad Cobb, President of Bowers Automotive Group

Photo by Dan Henry/Times Free Press.

For a guy who makes his living in the car world, Brad Cobb is all business when it comes to riding bikes. While most people flinch at the idea of spending eight straight hours in a car, Cobb gladly puts that time into his bike races-twisting and climbing along mountain trails. He says he knew he had a pedaling problem when his wife once asked why he was only going riding for six hours one Saturday.

Cobb just returned from a 100-mile mountain bike race in Virginia where he placed 33rd out of about 460 racers in the open men's division and 38th overall from a field of almost 700.

Q and A

How and when did you get started in cycling?

I started road biking in 1999 after I tore my knee up in a skiing accident and started rehabbing on a bike. I bought my first mountain bike around 2006, an old Schwinn Homegrown...and yes..I still have it.

How long have you raced competitively and what are your top finishes?

I started mountain bike racing in 2006 with my first race being the Cohutta 100 (a 100-mile race in the Cohutta Mountains of Georgia). That was kind of a tough first race. About 80 people signed up and only about 30 or 35 of us actually finished. I first got into the racing part because it's the kind of thing where you need to have a goal and that helped me to focus on riding. Now I really love doing it and it's a great release for me. These races really test you because you can't fake a 100-mile race. My goal now is always to be in the top 5 percent of the finishers. My fastest 100-mile race time is 7 hours, 50 minutes and my average time is about 8 and a half hours.

Top That Stat

At the world-famous Leadville 100 in Colorado, Cobb finished 121st overall this year with a time of 8:21 and was 61st out of approximately 1,700 racers there last year.

Now that you mainly race mountain bikes, what are you riding?

Now I typically race on a Trek Gary Fisher Superfly Elite and I do some special races on a Lynskey custom built 29-inch wheel single speed. Riding 100 miles on a single speed gets monotonous so I use the Lynskey for shorter races and training.

How much time do you spend on a bike each week?

Depends on my schedule....minimum of about nine hours with a max of 18, depending on the time of the year. Saturday is always for long rides. After the night is over and the kids have gone to bed I will ride on the spinner (stationary training bike) for about two hours.

How do you fit everything in between cycling, career and family?

It's a balancing act. There is no doubt I spend way too much time on a bike. I usually leave the house by 6 a.m. and ride for 2-3 hours, then come back to take the kids to school, go to work and usually ride again in the evenings. I don't ride on Sundays, that's reserved for family day.

What is your favorite local ride?

Vitals

Age: 43

Family: Wife, Courtney; Kids, Emmaline 12, Izzy 7, Andrew 10

Favorite musician: Dave Matthews

141 - Average heart rate while racing at Leadville; 44 normal resting rate

9 - Broken bones since he started mountain biking, including a broken nose after hitting a limb on Day 2 of a four-day race at Pilot Mountain in Pisgah, N.C. After a quick visit to the race's hospital tent, Cobb returned to the trail and finished the race in the top five, and possibly the bloodiest.

I like Raccoon Mountain for mountain biking. These 100-mile races are all over the place so you really have to chase them around everywhere. I'll do four to six 100-milers a year and some cross-country races for filler, and I try to do most of the local races because I really want to support all the local stuff that's going on.

Where would you most like to ride that you haven't visited yet?

Costa Rica. I'm going to Chile in January for a six-day stage race across Trans Andes, and I'm really looking forward to that.

What is the coolest gadget or piece of gear you've bought recently?

I really like my bikes a lot! My new Garmin 800 computer is pretty cool, and my full leather/neoprene winter road/mountain bike boots are real nice when it's in the teens.

Besides biking, what are your other favorite hobbies?

Spending time with my family is at the top of the list. I still love downhill snow skiing and now that's something we do as a family.