An Interview with Deb Sexton

I know, I know! You're thinking, Deb Sexton?! She's not a Mad Dog! What's she doing here? All right, OK--but think about it. Who was there when the Mad Dogs needed a SAG wagon for their 200 mile trip to Bloomington, Indiana and back? Who was there when Carl took a tumble and needed a ride back to Louisville from the hospital in Bloomington? Who's just there, always lending a helping hand to the Mad Dogs, supporting not only her husband Steve but the rest of the group? Well, if she's not a Mad Dog, she deserves at least an honorary membership.

Actually, her husband Steve has come up with the name Velonaught. What is that, you ask? Well, gentle reader, you are about to find out.

Deb, it's such a pleasure to be getting this interview from you,one of the Mad Dogs' favorite people! Let's start at the beginning: How did you become involved with the Mad Dogs?

Through Steve, my husband.  He started to ride the century rides with the Mad Dogs and would come home and share the experiences with me. It sounded like so much fun when he described the roads and scenery of the countryside they rode through and the fun everyone had as a group doing each ride.

I started getting to know the Mad Dogs by going to the group picnics, and then volunteering for the OKHT. The people who are involved with LBC and the Mad Dogs are a great bunch of people.  It is a very fun and caring group.  They are tremendous athletes who amaze me with their dedication and ability to ride so much.

I eventually started doing SAG support for Mad Dog overnight rides at Mammoth Cave because of Mike Pitt's very persuasive charm and wit.  Now I volunteer to help whenever there is a need, such as the Mad Dog Time Trials, the Breaking Away Century in Bloomington, IN, and any other way is needed.

What is your role with the Mad Dogs and LBC?

I do not ride, and this is a riding club; so I try to be as supportive as I can by volunteering for the OKHT, doing registration and handing out materials and information at the info booth in Bardstown. I volunteer to be the SAG for Mad Dog Century overnights and time trials.  I enjoy doing registration at OKHT and helping out in Bardstown at the information booth or wherever else I am needed.

Many spouses would be jealous of the time their spouse spends out on the bike and especially the number of hours spent in long distance riding.  You seem to embrace this activity instead of resent it.  Why?

Truthfully, I think there was maybe a teeny tiny bit of resentment in the beginning—not for my husband spending so much time away from home and riding to who knows where, but rather because I couldn't ride with him.  He was having all the fun while I had to stay behind at home.  Due to some major back problems and a hand injury requiring four surgeries in the process, I have not been able to be as active as I would like.

It was apparent long distance bike riding was not in my future.  So, instead of resenting it and feeling sorry for myself, I decided there had to be a way to become involved and enjoy the fun this group has.

Volunteering as SAG, timekeeper or whatever small role I can play for the Mad Dogs or LBC events feels like a very small way to be able to be included in the fun and camaraderie of a great group of people.  Who knows, after a final hand surgery this summer, Steve and I may be able to consider that tandem we have been talking about after all.  I've been trying to warm Steve up to the idea of a tandem so we could ride together when I am able to use my left hand again.  Maybe next summer we can hit the roads on a bicycle built for two.

I notice that you sometimes post to the list server.  Do you have to be an avid cyclist to enjoy following the LBC List Serve?

No you don't have to be an avid bicyclist to participate on list serve. It's fun to read what's happening with the club and see all the great pictures of rides.  There are some beautiful pictures of the countryside the riders go through and it's fun to see everyone in the pictures.    They work hard on some the rides and go through some nasty weather at times, but they also have a lot of fun along the way.

I love the humor some of the members have.  They could be stand up comedians.  I laugh a lot at some the list server "threads" that get going. It makes me feel as if I had been along on some of the rides when I read about them.

How do you see the future role of Mad Dog spouses?

I would like to see more women, or men, who do not ride become more involved in participating in some of the activities.  Part of the fun of joining the group on the rides as SAG support or whatever role, is the exploring the towns the bikers go to.

There are some interesting towns on the routes taken that offer unique shopping, sightseeing and great places to eat.  For those who don't like to go alone, several of us could get together and do it as a group.  Car-pooling is a wonderful thing.  Kids are welcome along too.

Your husband Steve refers to non-riding volunteers as “Velonaughts.”  Do you have any words of encouragement for other VelonaughtsOr even for those volunteers who do ride?

Steve has been trying to come up with a name for this group for sometime.  Velonaughts (no bike) seems to have hit a cord for the moment.  You don't have to have a bike or ride to be a part of the fun of the LBC or Mad Dogs.  Just joining them for lunch at one of their lunch stops or volunteering as SAG for one of the overnight rides is a great way to become a part of the group and have fun.

It is a wonderful bunch of caring and fun loving people. They work hard on their bikes, but they know how to have fun and play when not on the bike.  They are so willing to share in their fun with the ones who can't or don't ride a bike and come along for the ride.

Thanks Deb, your enthusiastic and often selfless service to the club is an inspiration to us all.


November 2005 update: "Who knows, after a final hand surgery this summer, Steve and I may be able to consider that tandem we have been talking about after all. " After a shorter recuperative period than anticipated, Deb and Steve began riding their tandem together. We hope to see them on some club rides next season!

Short Video Clip