“Exercise has always been my thing,” said Lewin, who has enjoyed strength-training sports such as weight lifting. “As I got older, I realized that it was more important to get my heart in shape.”
Lewin took up jogging but became interested in mountain biking in 1996 after it was introduced as an Olympic sport in Atlanta. He started riding in 1997.
Mountain biking requires the biker to sustain different topography like rocks, roots and rivers with a heavier bike than road bikes. The sport challenges the mind and body.
“(Mountain biking) makes you think — turning here, breaking there. You’re really working at it physically and mentally to negotiate these trails to go the best and fastest you can. There’s a lot of mental fatigue,” the 59-year-old said.
The mental workout is as challenging as the physical exercise. “I like that thinking part — how am I going to take that turn? How am I going to negotiate the trail today because it’s been raining or it’s super dry? There’s a lot going on in mountain biking,” Lewin said.
Mountain biking is physical.
“Mountain biking can be very strenuous,” Lewin said. “It could be dangerous. We don’t go as many miles as road biking but it’s strenuous going up these short hills. A trail might be only 4 miles. If you’re intermediate or advanced, you’re pushing as hard as you can. It takes a lot of energy even though we’re not doing the miles,” said Lewin, who moved from New York City in 1986 for business. His wife, Anne, is also an avid biker. They have two grown children, Max and Nadine, and three grandchildren.
Lewin said Cobb County offers two trails that accommodate different levels of the sport. The Allatoona Creek Mountain Bike Trail (5690 Old Stilesboro Road or 2450 Pitner Road, Acworth) is fairly new and ideal for the novice.
“The trails are fast. They’re relatively easy. There’s not a lot of hill climbing. It’s a great place to learn mountain biking,” he said.
Sope Creek Trail (off Paper Mill Road in east Cobb), a multi-use system with mountain biking trails off the hiking trail, is located near Chattahoochee River. “They are very exciting trails — incredible uphill climb and fantastic downhill,” Lewin said.
Lewin also enjoys competitive mountain biking with the Mechanical Nightmares Bike Team.
The four-person team races competitively several times a year in 12-hour races.
“It’s basically a relay race. It gives us a goal to stay in shape all the time so we can compete in them,” he said.
Mountain biking is a family sport.
“Even my kids say all the time, ‘How cool it is that we hang out with dad and ride. We all love the rivalry on the trails. As a family, it has helped keep our relationship with each other strong,” he said.
“I love competition. We’re always out there competing against each other. I love competing against my daughter. She loves competing against me. It’s a lot of fun. It’s a very exciting sport,” Lewin said.
To find out more about the team, visit mechanicalnightmares.com.