Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Cycling Brother/Sisterhood

This weekend I got in a couple of decent rides - one was sunny and cold and the other was rainy and cold.

On the sunny ride, I left my house without an agenda and awkwardly wound my way north and west, seeking the lower traffic areas of Southeastern Michigan (it certainly ain't easy...) Along my meanderings, I came across several cyclists, representing nearly all the disciplines of our great sport. There were cruisers, mountain bikers, triathletes, road cyclists and even a recumbent thrown in for good measure.

Now, if I had to lump myself into a classification, I would say I lean more road cyclist. As a road cyclist, I can honestly say, we are an elitist bunch. With all that training and sacrifice comes an attitude that's almost a defense mechanism. It's almost as if we have to believe we've crafted our bodies into models of efficiency and strength far eclipsing that of normal man (or woman) as justification for what we do. Maybe that's a bit of a broad generalization, but it does come from real world experience. Let me elaborate.

On my ride this Saturday, as I was saying, I came across cyclists from all disciplines and levels of ability. I typically wave at other cyclists I encounter, offer a friendly "hello" or some other salutation. As I continued my ride and greeted additional cyclists, I noticed that the likelihood of a return salutation was inversely proportionate to the amount of team kit they were adorned in. This decreased exponentially if the rider was on a road bike, especially a more expensive road bike. I came across this one guy at a light, he was heading right while I was going straight. As he stopped to let a car pass through the intersection, I offered up a friendly hello, and all he did was stare att me. Actually, he was sizing me up. What kind of bike did I have? Was I wearing any team apparel? If so, what team? Did I look fast? Was I going to chase him as my carrot? Now that I seemed to have his full attention and on the off chance that he didn't hear me, I offered up a "nice day for a ride." Nothing, wait. Was that a slight head nod?

What is it about road cyclists that they can't be friendly? Do they see it as a sign of weakness? Not sure what it is but I don't like it. I look at our community as one big brotherhood. Whatever your reason for throwing a leg over the bike, we are all in this together. Besides, we all had to start out somewhere, maybe a friendly hello is all the encouragement a new rider needs to form a life-long relationship with cycling.

Saturday, March 27, 2010


It's been a while since I've put fingers to keyboard to update the old blog. I don't really have a valid excuse. Lack of inspiration? Maybe. Or maybe it's that I don't have much cycling related stuff to report.

Training's been hard to come by, with roughly 4-6 hours on the bike per week, with the majority of that volume coming from weekend riding. I really want to be more consistent during the week, but time is a precious commodity, and my riding time is limited to either early AM (before 6 AM) or after 8 PM. Both times are less than ideal. But, if I want to do any road racing this year, I really need to be more consistent.

I also want to start incorporating some longer easy rides (3-4 hours). I like these longer rides, and if you have a few friends with you, there's nothing better. Also, I really want to race in the Tour of Kensington Valley Road Race this year, at just under 60 miles, it's my longest race of the season. If I don't have some longer rides under my belt by then, I may as well not even do it. Last year, it just about killed me and I was way ahead of where I am now.

The good news is, with my limited training time, I've been focusing more on my diet and actually dropped about 5 lbs from my racing weight from last year. I hope to drop another 5-10 lbs by September (just in time for cyclocross season!)

One other thing I've been focusing on is flexibility and core strength - These things really do make a difference. The few times I've been out on the road it was quickly apparent. I felt less aches and pains and felt more stable on the bike.

Maybe it comes down to overall fitness and not just on-the-bike time. That's probably a better way to look at it.

Other news: got my racing license in the mail, so that's taken care of. Now I just need to renew my club membership and I will have the administrative stuff taken care of...