Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Approaching The Edge of a New Vista

I'm in the middle of my third season. Improvements, both physically and mentally, are evident. I am stronger, more confident and proud of my accomplishments. Yesterday was a pivotal day.

After one year of hanging onto my wheel wherever I rode, my son, Andrew (15), who begins his high school career in just a few short weeks, expressed an interest in racing. So as I thought about how to proceed with this request, I upped Andrew's efforts. I increased our pace, I furthered the distance and every now and then, even tried to surprise him with sudden sprints. We joined a weekly group ride out of the Brielle Cycle Shop and pace lined through beautiful farmlands in central Jersey. He excelled on all counts. It was time to hand him off to the professionals.

The Colavita Racing Team, with an international presence on the racing scene, has a wonderful junior program right here in New Jersey. I found them through a link on the Van Dessel website. Van Dessel, Colnago, Cervelo, I can't decide, but that's a story for another time.

I contacted the team, I set up an intro ride. The days leading up to the ride were filled with the unknown. Are we fast enough? Had we put in enough base miles? Will we get dropped? No, no, yes.

This group of "juniors" is a poised, serious, well-conditioned team. 12 to 19 years old, going on 30. MPH that is...
They flowed down the road in a seemingly effortless undulation that looked like ballet. The coaches encircled Andrew and set about nurturing him to be a part of that ballet. At least I'm pretty sure that's what they did, you see, I was 'bout a half mile back at any given time... gasping for air.

Well Andrew, on the other hand, never left that group. Sure, he dropped behind a few times on the climbs, but the coaches pulled him right back up to the group. He doesn't quit and I think he performed remarkably well. I knew he was hurting, way out of his zone, as I was, but determined.

For a brief stretch, just after cresting a hill where I fully expected to see snow caps, one of the coaches rode next to me to chat. I was clearly in another league, pushing beyond my limits, speaking in one word sentences, but all I could think of was how after a few weeks of this, I'll be only a quarter mile behind the group, or maybe right behind!

The coach said to watch for Andrew's reactions after the ride, listen to what he says and how he says it. It will be the indicator of whether or not he'll continue. Andrew was hard on himself. He expected to be on par with who we came to learn, were State Champions and Nationally ranked riders. But his disappointment could not mask the exuberance. He is on the cusp of the next level and he knew it. His face was beet red, his legs were weak, but his eyes sparkled. Andrew's gonna be a racer.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Coast the Coast MS Ride 2010

My first organized bicycle ride, en masse, was this past Saturday, May 22, 2010. The Multiple Sclerosis Society's Annual New Jersey Coast the Coast Ride took us through the most beautiful neighborhoods along the shore coastline from Monmouth University in Long Branch, through Asbury Park, down to Brielle, where, after a brief rest, we doubled back for a total of just about 50 miles.

The organizers had every busy intersection manned with local police officers and each turn and stop street was under the direction of a volunteer or two. Imagine riding for a few hours without having to stop for traffic! Imagine not only being noticed by motorists, but actually having the complete right of way! A carefree, stress-less afternoon on a bicycle!

In addition to enjoying the ocean views, the pristine summer homes and shanty shore towns, I was most interested in the diverse collection of bicycles and rider styles I observed within our ranks. Some bikes; the epitome of design and function, I marveled at, and some I just shook my head and thought [what are they thinking?]... creeky wheels, rusty chains; a wobbling cacophony of determination and innocence. No matter, we were all smiling with common cause; to raise money while riding our bikes. The MS volunteers; all accommodating. The riders; excited and thankful. The police support; respected and welcomed. The towns people, supporting us, most times with just a simple nod. The way it all worked as planned. It was a good feeling all day.

My daughter, Amanda (23), my son, Andrew (15) and I, true roadies, were joined up with Team Buttocks, a 10 year team headed up by my sister-in-law, Julie. Know this; she has a big heart.
All Julie wanted was for all of her teammates to enjoy themselves throughout the day. And we did. It was perfect.

Friday, March 12, 2010


I suppose what has happened to me, happens to many. I have lost my fitness.

By Thanksgiving of 2009, I was in the best of shape, having cycled for 2 years, most everyday, like I was being chased. I spent every waking minute waiting until it was time to ride again. I ate only healthy foods and maintained proper "everything" all the time, all in order to stay fit and healthy.

For some reason, the cold and darkness that is winter denied me my morning ritual of up at 5:30AM, suit up, fill the bottles, check tire pressure and ride 25 miles through three I was being chased.  It would be one of five routes I devised to improve my endurance, my speed and my climbing. I tallied my efforts, I pushed a little harder, I felt the power develop. But now, I just didn't want to get out of bed ( I have a beautiful wife who I love dearly). The rest of my day prohibited any opportunity for a regular ride.

Ahhhh! A spinner bike! Sure! I'll put one of those babies down in the basement and pedal an hour a day! No cold wind, no cold rain, no black ice. Lemme go see what ebay has...

After looking at a few bikes far and wide, that were in no way properly represented by their seller's descriptions, I found my beauty in Brooklyn. The Greg Lemond Revmaster!

I brought this baby home, stripped her down, washed her up and lubed her good... sounds like... nevermind.

So now I'm fitted to the bike, don't have to worry about kit or weather and I shall begin a new routine in the morning!

Riding a spinner bike in the basement in front of Good Morning America SUCKS. It SUCKS. It SUCKS. It SUCKS.

I could barely get one hour of spin time! It was killing me! It SUCKED. I stayed in bed ( I have a beautiful wife who I love dearly) and now, here we are; Lost Fitness, March 2010.

Finally, I've got temperatures which my pussy ass can accept and I'm suited up, bottles full, heading out to play "getting chased." Whoa! I'm sucking wind on hills I was crushing in the Fall. If I was being chased, I'd now be the bitch. Shit!

OK, so I've regressed. Bad decisions got me here and I accept full responsibility. I'll just start over. I know just what to do and I know how to do it.

The following morning I get suited up, fill the bottles and go out to the garage to check my pressure...... hey! WTF! A flat!?

Search This Blog