Melvin Hayes and Todd Hood literally acquired the experience to run a bicycle shop from the School of Hard Knocks.
Combined, the two men have almost 70 years of downhill and BMX-styled racing, more than 25 state championships - and a long history of broken bones, collapsed lungs and numerous scars and scabs.
But they survived, and on Friday, they'll celebrate the grand opening of their second bike shop in Colorado Springs.
The new Bicycle Experience shop is inside the Ivywild School, the renovated multiuse building at 1604 S. Cascade Ave. that is best known for its devotion to locally produced foods and beverages, including beers from Bristol Brewing. But the building's co-owner, Mike Bristol, said the bike shop is also a fitting tenant - and one that fills the last available space in Ivywild.
"A lot of our customers and employees are cyclists," he said, "and it seemed like a great fit to create energy and community here, and let them expand their location."
Hood said he hopes he can expand the Ivywild location and eventually operate only the one shop inside the school.
Hayes, who goes by Bubba, is from Huntington Beach, Calif. He started riding motocross in 1975 at age 9, and won several California state championships. Hayes moved to the Springs with his wife and five children in 2006, and continues to compete nationally.
Hood started his BMX racing career in 1984 at age 12. He has competed in fourcross and downhill racing and has "a closet full" of Connecticut state championship trophies. A retired 20-year Army master sergeant, Hood took his mountain bike to Iraq and Afghanistan, where he rode around the bases to stay in shape.
The two met in 2011 through Facebook and started attended races together. Two years later, they realized each wanted to own their own bike shop and bought Bicycle Experience at 1601 S. Tejon St. in February.
Each has had his share of BMX accidents from jumping dirt hills, twisting through tight corners and slamming into fellow riders - and the ground.
Hood spent two weeks in the hospital after he crashed during a four-man, downhill BMX race in August 2011. The impact from the accident collapsed his lung and broke four ribs and Hood's right clavicle.
Hayes was knocked unconscious in 1996 when he crashed during the World Championships in Pomona, Calif.
When he awoke, a first responder at the track put two of Hayes' upper front teeth in his hand before he was sent to the hospital.
"I slid on my face for about 20 yards," Hayes said. "The whole right side of my face was one big scab."
Hayes and Hood sell Specialized and other makes of mountain and road bikes, as well as BMX bikes and equipment.
They recently began selling BH Corp's. Easy Motion electric bikes.
The two men continue to ride, but now prefer to lead tours, teach the art of biking, sponsor BMX teams - and run their stores.