Monday, November 12, 2007


Well, I discovered that there may be as many as 5 people who read this blog and so I'm feeling a little guilty for not posting my long promised blog about my recent foray into the masochistic world of cycling. Sorry 'bout that...'course if you've been reading for awhile, you knew it would take some time. Without further ado...

My friend Tim is a crazy good cyclist. He's a category 3 racer, which, as far as I can tell, means he's semi-professional. In order to get to the level he's at, Tim does a variety of stupid things. For instance, he'll ride up a hill (that looks more like the side of a mountain) turn around at the top, ride down, and turn around again and ride up. He'll repeat this 10 times or so. He rides in the winter. He rides 4-6 days a week. He'll do 20-30 mile "recovery rides." Stupid. (Though, I must say, it was pretty cool to see him lose 100+ pounds and transform his whole lifestyle in the process of getting to where he's at now.) Well, one day Tim said, "Come for a ride with me," and my life has been very different since.

There was a time in my life (prior to children, though that seems like a weak excuse) where I was in really good shape. I was working out at least 4 days a week and had about 9% body fat. Those days passed, and while I still play street hockey and softball regularly and never let my weight get too out of control, I wasn't exactly what you'd call "in shape." When I went for my first ride with Tim, it was a bit of struggle to do the 15 or 20 miles at a 14-17 mph pace. Since that day in August, I've lost about 10 pounds (and wouldn't mind dropping another 10) and Saturday got in 40 mile ride in pretty tough conditions. I definitely struggled at times to keep up with the superior cyclists I was riding with, but I was with them at the end of the day. In other words, I've come a long way since that first ride.

Between that first ride and today, I've grown to love cycling. Even the parts I hated at first (like climbing hills) I've grown to love (if in a sick and twisted sort of way.) I've had dreams about riding and trouble sleeping the night before a big ride mostly due to excitement and anticipation. I now do some of those stupid things Tim does (though I've a LONG way to go before I reach his level.)

In his book 10 Points, Bill Strickland recounts his harrowing upbringing, his quest to achieve 10 points in a local weekly bike race and the healing that took place in the process. In the book Bill references a study that indicated that cycling produces the same brain waves that prayer and mediation produce. There is something to be said for being on a bike by yourself early in the morning. In my quest to be a fully integrated being, cycling has definitely helped. It clears the mind, adds discipline to my eating and sleeping habits, and energizes me. I've met and am becoming friends with people that I likely wouldn't have met or befriended otherwise. Cycling is a physical endeavor, but it is more than that too. And I love it.



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