the dream
rockin' and rollin' on two wheels by pedal power

Racing and Riding Bikes

Posted: April 16th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: bicycles | No Comments »

After being shelled (for no good reason) early in this morning’s power sprints 60km race I have been feeling philosophical about bike riding. The fact that the day has been cold, gray and threatening from the crack of dawn through now, with the additions of the the skies opening up from time to time and flashes of lightening and thunderclaps. I mean, c’mon, I’m fat and out of shape, its early and the weather … is … not … cooperating. More than that, how much do/can I care?!

My first bike race was many many moons ago. My bike wasn’t even close to fitting me. In a bizarre attempt at planned optimization I “repacked” all my bearings with Phil Woods Tenacious oil. Light weight necessitated the absence of a water bottle. Although objectively a disastrous outing, I had a great time.

There was a time when I was a serious racer in that I could legitimately contend at the amateur locals races I entered. Heck, I even won some. Fast forward to now and my primary goals are to avoid (i) injury and (ii) humiliation. As has been the case too often lately, this morning saw a failure on the second goal. But still I am chomping at the bit for more riding and more racing.

Over the course of my racing life the business of training has become much more serious with heart rate monitors, now power meters, coaches and periodization. I fondly remember when serious training involved “riding lots” and frequent riding miserable. We had a slogan about the benefits of long rides in the cold and rain – it made you tough and lean – and oh, both were so desirable (and indeed still are).

However, although training has become more serious and regimented, I have become less, at least as relates to my hobbies. Over a period of time where training opportunities went from bad to worse to down right dangerous (I don’t recommend racing on 4 hours of sleep as a general matter) I kept my toes in the racing waters. There is a profound humility that comes from lining up with guys who are fit and focused when you are neither.

Happily, life has a adjusted enough so that the squeeze on riding has relented significantly. Problem is that riding in the cold and wet has much less appeal to me. Consequently, both the Young Turks and the Old (but focused) Turks have been putting boots to me. And its actually fine with me.

No doubt bikes are a passion for me – but in order of passion my bike-related interests go from riding, to bikes and tech and finally to racing. I am happy with that too, thought I continue to hope that the first will increase proficiency with the last. Time will tell.

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