My Story: Mark Still |
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My Story: Mark Still

“And with the winning time of….“,  if you have heard that at the awards ceremonies, that voice is mine.  I am your friendly announcer.  I hope you enjoy my biking journey.

 

I was born in San Francisco, but grew up most of my early life just outside Washington, DC in the town of Silver Spring, MD.  This was like riding in the urban neighborhood streets of downtown Atlanta.  Once I learned to ride, I was off everywhere I could go.  I would ride to the park, to the store for baseball and football cards, to soccer practice and to school.  I had 3 paper routes, Washington Post, Washington Times and Montgomery County Journal.   The Times and Journal I could deliver on my bike!!!  The Washington Post was too heavy.

 

After college at GA Tech, I did not ride for a long time.  Then, while living in New Hampshire in the early 2000s, some friends and I decided to do a triathlon.  I did not own a bike, 1 person owned a mountain bike, 1 person owned both a Mtn Bike and a Road Bike.  We decided to do an off-road triathlon and I would buy a Mountain bike.  That is how my Mountain Bike career began, on a 1998 Schwinn Moab 1.  Ironically, I was the only one to show up at the Mooseman Tri-Athlon on a chilly 45 degree June morning in Waterville Valley, NH.  This was my first and last trip.  I was not into running, but I was hooked on Mountain Biking. 

We rode all over New England.  This was long before groomed trails, so these were rooty, rocky, rake and ride trails.  I bought my first full suspension bike, a 2003 Giant VT2, and this bike soaked up the bumps on the trails.  We loved to ride at Kingdom Trails in East Burke, Vermont and Bear Brook State Park in NH. 

 

In 2010, my job with Cisco Systems transferred us to GA.  My wife, Susan and sons Tanner and Martin moved to Braselton.  I started riding again at Chicopee Woods, Fort Yargo and Harbins.  My son Martin started joining me and he was a natural on the bike.   We are friends with Will and Paul Davidson and talked to them about the league just as it was starting.   However, Martin did not join until 2016 and started riding with the Mill Creek team.  He rode 2 years in JV and I was a Level 1 coach both years.

How did I become the Announcer?

 

In 2017, when the league expanded to Saturday races, another announcer was needed.  Jeff Veal’s son went to school with my older son, so we knew each other from there and travel baseball.  I called Jeff the Thursday before the first race at Road Atlanta and asked if he still needed help.  He said yes, he needed an announcer, see you Saturday.  There was no detail on when to be there, or what it involved.  I think that was on purpose, because I was shocked at what the role required.  But I loved it from the start and as they say the rest is history.  I have been announcing at the Saturday Races for the past 2 years.  My plan is to be there this fall for season 3.  I enjoy being such a big part of the whole day’s experience.

 

What are some things I wish people knew about the GICL?

 

The race finishes and awards ceremonies are the most attended activities of the weekend.  It is great to watch everyone cheer for all the riders. 

However, Saturday mornings is what I would tell people about.  As the announcer, I spend the whole day at the finish line.  One thing I really enjoy is watching practice time on Saturday morning.  It is here you see the spirit of the league as the teams do their rides together.   You see coaches supporting riders, teammates supporting each other, experienced riders giving tips, and new coaches trying to keep up.   When the High School riders join practice, they quickly find friends from other teams and ride together each race.  But the most important thing you see, is everyone having fun on their bikes.  You can tell that regardless of where they finish, by the end of the season, it is all about the fun.  And Saturday morning is where much of that fun happens.

Finally, now that my son has left the league, what keeps me coming back? 

 

Of course, I love to ride and the GICL Staff is great.  And without a doubt, I love to hear myself talk, so announcing is a natural thing for me.   I enjoy prepping for the weekend, finding odd facts about the area and analyzing the previous results for the break down segment. 

But really, as the announcer, it is an awesome experience watching every single rider push to come across the finish line and complete the race.  Their expressions range from pure joy to pure agony.  Regardless of where they are on that scale, I try to be a positive part of the experience.  With a league this large, that is a huge number positive experiences.  Who would not love that!!