Recently I went and did something I haven’t done since I think 1996: I went to a cycling training camp. Each year riders from Crest Auto Group / Frisco Cycling Club get together in the Texas Hill Country for a 4 riding camp. Since my New Year’s resolution was to have a more active lifestyle, while dropping a few pounds along the way, I thought aspiring to attend the camp would be a great goal! Heck Julie was in favor of the trip, even though it meant her flying solo with our four little ones, 2 dogs and 2 cats.
The club has a mixture of riders, some young and some “more tenured” ones like myself, so I was uncertain about the pacing and how I would work through the mileage. Day one was slated for 57 miles, day two at 67 miles, day three at 100 and then a 40 mile recovery ride on day four. Since I had done less than 200 cumulative miles on my bike in January, I started supplementing with an indoor spin class at our YMCA three mornings a week. Even though it means getting up at 4:45 a.m. to make the 5 a.m. class, it’s been worth the sleep sacrifice to get in better shape.
My improved fitness and spin classes has helped me reconnect with my racing past. I love telling the story of how I was first introduced to cycling. I was watching the ’84 Olympics held in Los Angeles and saw my first match sprint track race. You know the one where riders go round and round on either a wooden or concrete track on bicycles with no gears and no brakes? For a high school junior, in small town Manhattan (Kansas), it seemed worlds away from anything I had ever seen. Riders like Nelson Vails from New York City were my inspiration, encouraging me to believe that with effort you could go from nothing to something. Here’s my favorite clip of him hoping his bike skillfully next to his French opponent (see 1:17 of this YouTube video).
For me, the bicycle is something greater than what it seems. It is a way of change for some, it is a way to escape for others and it’s a great way to connect with people of all walks of life while getting into great shape. As Albert Einstein said, “I thought of that while riding my bicycle.”
See you on the road one day!