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About the Owner, Sean Hess

So it's 2004 and I'm sitting in a LazyBoy watching the Olympics from Athens. I weigh 70 pounds more than I do as I write this...

When I was growing up I wanted to race bikes, but they didn't have bike racing in Ohio.

In Ohio in the 70s and 80s you were pretty much limited to baseball, football, and basketball (okay, wrestling, too). Soccer was in its infancy there. Hockey would be off my radar until middle school.

I not only wanted to race bikes, I wanted to be an Olympian. I remember watching ski racing as a child, and how badly I wanted to fly down those mountains and hear "Bugler's Dream" before every race.

As a kid I was mountain biking. The sport didn't have a name yet, but my friends and I were doing it. On my emerald green Schwinn Varsity 10 speed, on my friends BMX bikes with mag rims, on a Schwinn Cruiser fat tire beach bike that my dad bought.

We'd pedal over to the Waterville Hill and drop down the rutted moto X trails and washouts down to the river. We improvised as we went along, just like Joe Breeze and Gary Fisher did when they were bombing Cruisers down Mt. Tam and racing them in local 'cross races.

Back to the LazyBoy...

So I'm 5' 10', 210 pounds, absolutely out of shape, hardly even surfing anymore (and I love to surf), haven't been on a bike in four years, and watching the Olympics.

NBC is broadcasting the games. They are showing a scene of a cerulean blue sea, and the whitewashed, blue-domed Greek Orthodox churches of Santorini while "Summon the Heroes" plays in the background.

And it's like a lightning bolt hit me. LIterally. I shot out of that chair. I must have flown 15 feet. BOOM.

I threw on some old riding gear I had from REI. I grabbed my mountain bike out of the garage, a Raleigh M50, and pumped up the tires. I threw it in the car.

I headed to the beach and blazed a warp trail on that bike...6 whole miles!

And something inside of me changed. I can't tell you what it was.

A year later I started thinking about racing, to see if I really had what it took to be an Olympian (it turns out I didn't). I started dropping weight, a little at first, and then a lot.

I started riding and then training at Razorback near Reddick, Florida. A terrifying course, may she rest in peace, and still I think the most technically difficult course I've ridden besides Mte. Ste. Anne in Quebec. I was scared sh*tless on that course, every time I rode it, which was nearly every week for three years.

My first race was at Reddick in the spring of 2006, and I've been racing ever since.

I never did get to be an Olympian, but I've ridden with them, side by side on the same trails. And I've even ridden and raced in a heat with a former World Champion (Tinker Juarez). Tinker used to practice at Razorback all the time, back in the day.

Strackacobra is Born

In 2008 I started Strackacobra as a way to let my creative side meet my mountain biking side. I actually founded Strackacobra the week the stock market crashed and the Great Recession started. So it didn't become the path to fame and riches right away that I'd hoped.

But it has been wonderful for my other business, my "day job" as a real estate broker and the owner of St. Augustine Team Realty.

The Focus Turns to Training

The focus of Strackacobra quickly became training...that's right, training.

The be all-end all is the training these days, and not the racing.

Why you ask?

As a broker I am chained to my desk, an office, a computer, and a phone sometimes for the entire workday.

Sitting all day, much like smoking all day, will kill you slowly...without you even noticing.

The mountain bike is a way for me to break out of that cycle (no pun intended).

But to "just go out and ride" I needed a goal, which is to race.

And since I'm a bit (okay, a lot) underpowered, I have to train hard and train a lot just to keep up with my peers.

Which serves my fitness goals. And since I can't beat anyone...or even stay in a race...without training, it keeps me motivated to keep coming back.

Training Blossoms Into a Brand Builder

Most of my training is on a road bike here in St. Augustine, Florida. I'm on the road a lot of hours, mostly when people are driving to work.

The real estate brokerage is prominent on the kits I wear for road training, and my businesses gets an incredible amount of exposure this way. People always remark about seeing me, and the public has become familiar with the brand.

On the mountain side, when I am out of area, its more important for the Strackacobra logo to be front and center, having its brand built for potential mountain bike t-shirt buyers.

To find out more about me, St. Augustine Team Realty, and my other projects, visit me at SeanHess.com.