On being a bike rider

No real science here. No training tips or dietary revelations. Just a few paragraphs to wax poetic. Humor me. I'll get back to business next post.

Yesterday evening was one of those days when it's great to be a cyclist. Yes, my competitive season is over and done and I'm doing a few other things like hiking and lifting weights. But I'm still riding my bike and last night was simply perfect. It was one of those times where perfect temps, perfect light and still wind come together in conditions similar to a powder day on skis.

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Lessons 2010

My post-season is well underway now having transitioned from semi-neurotic, schedule-intensive cycling training to a more free-form multi-sport routine. I've been in the weight room three weeks now and the shell-shock soreness is mostly gone. I've done a few long hikes and even took three friends up Teewinot last weekend. The 5,500 feet of descending had my quads complaining some the next day but two hours of easy riding on the bike felt fine. I'm five pounds heavier now than I was a month ago but I'm enjoying getting my upper body strong again.

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Feeding the Machine - The Cholesterol Myth

There isn't anyone with a pulse that is not aware of the alleged evils of dietary cholesterol and saturated fat. My generation grew up during the formative years of the whole anti-cholesterol/anti-saturated fat campaign. It is such an integral part of food marketing now that few of us really even notice or, for that matter, question the validity of such claims. Low fat and low cholesterol have been dietary buzz phrases for as long as I can remember.

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One Last Dig

So, about a week after hitting the deck twice in two different races less than 300 meters from the line, my wounds were healing and my form still felt alright on the bike. Immediately after the aforementioned events I pledged retirement from bike racing for the season. What a difference a week makes. Now, I developed no aspirations of taking on something as burly as Tour of Park City but perhaps something a bit more modest would be a fitting undertaking to cap my season rather than a no-fault-but-my-own crash. I had penciled in the Utah State Masters Road Race at Chalk Creek as a possibility earlier this year. With its rolling-style course and an uphill finish it would suit my abilities at this point in the season.  So, with only minor reservations, I signed up.

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Road Rash - Heal Thyself

"It is not the critic who counts. Not the man who points out how the strong
man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit
belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by
dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short
again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions;
who spends himself in a worthy cause. Who, at the best, knows in the end
the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, at least fails while
daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those timid souls who
know neither victory nor defeat."
- Theodore Roosevelt

When I decided to start racing my bike a few seasons ago, one thing lurking in the back of my mind was crashing. Hitting the deck is nearly inevitable if you race long enough and hard enough. Certainly the more you push, the closer to the edge you get, and sometimes you end up on your hip sliding across the pavement, grinding your flesh away in the process. I've had a racing license since 1987 and have lost my share of skin. Thankfully, that's been the worst of it - no broken bones to date. Still, dealing with the aftermath of these injuries is typically worse than getting them. The searing pain of the first shower, the oozing wounds, the sticky sheets, difficulty sleeping and the annoying, frequent dressing changes all make for a tedious couple of post-crash weeks.

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