Group Rides

Join us for evening indoor training rides on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5:30pm at the Recycle Bicycle Shop in downtown Ellensburg.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Up for the challenge

There are times I really hate having that little competitive voice in my head. For example, tonight was going to be an easy ride with the group after both mountain and road bike rides yesterday.

Do you think that happened? Heck, no. Seth takes off early in the group ride and, of course, I have to catch him. That hurt a little bit. After a couple of miles we get caught by a new rider, Robert. He keeps the tempo high (21 to 22 mph) out Lyons road. That stupid little voice in my head says "stay with him". That's easier said than done. Robert is a heck of an athlete - triathlete to be exact. Turns out he finished 4th two days before in an Olympic distance triathlon in Canada. During the entire ride it felt as if he was just toying with me. He could ride away at will and then held up and would chat for awhile.

My legs were heavy and burning the last 4-5 miles but I couldn't let any weakness show, even though I'm sure it did.

The benefit, though, is that intense workout will do so much for me in the form of conditioning and aerobic capacity. It was essentially a 25 mile time trial and I was completely gassed at the end.

So, to Francois and Robert, the two triathletes on our group rides this year - kudos. You guys are amazing athletes and serve as great motivation for the rest of us.

Monday, August 9, 2010

What two 6 year olds can teach us

My two six year old girls are amazing human beings. They can bring back memories from my life in a heartbeat. They have also provided a glimpse into the real reason for riding a bike - freedom.

They recently learned how to ride their bikes and are going everywhere on them. I must hear "dad, I'm going to ride my bike" six times a day. Our recent camping trip saw Annika making repeated laps around the campground for three days (and sleeping very well at night as a result). The beautiful, carefree smile on her face every time she came by produced smiles from me. The girls have discovered what it's like to go farther and faster with the power coming from your own body.

I remember learning to ride a bicycle around 1973 on Excel St. in Spokane, WA. I don't recall the bike at all. I only remember being pushed around on the grass in the backyard to learn to balance and then being turned loose on the street in front of our house (and, yes, that was without a helmet. I don't think you could even find one then). The only thing I really recall vividly about learning to ride a bike was coming past my dad's 1960 Ford pickup and having a tire blow out on my bike. The loud noise surprised me to the point I almost crashed and probably had to check my pants.

Once I learned to ride my friends and I would spend afternoons riding around the neighborhood, laughing and enjoying ourselves. The best times were reserved for the little bike paths and jumps in the trees at Indian Trail Elementary School. That area seemed so large then and looks so small now.

My thoughts then move to my teenage years and exploring gravel roads, abandoned farm houses and seeing our friends while riding yellow Schwinn Continental 10 speed bikes. We went further, raced each other a little and enjoyed not being tied down at home all summer. We didn't need a mountain bike or a cyclocross bike for going off the paved roads. Those old Schwinn's were tanks and there wasn't much you could do to damage them.

The 80's were the college years and even more serious riding with other cyclists at Central Washington University. Again we were riding farther, faster and longer and enjoying the freedom of doing so. I was able to ride the Seattle to Portland ride in one day (192 miles) when I was 19 and participate in several 100K rides.

After college the riding came and went depending on where I lived. I rode a fair amount while living in eastern and central washington and did not ride at all while living on the west side of the state. Those are days I regret. I should have stayed consistent over the years.

I guess the point of all this is I have spent the last three plus years diving headlong into cycling again and being competitive with myself and others. How much bodyfat can I lose? Can I get down to 155 pounds and climb those hills faster? Can I do the same route faster the next time I ride it? Can I break the top 5 in a race? How quickly can I push myself to learn mountain biking skills so I can better my time in the race next year? It's all been competitive and intense. I track my mileage, speed, time, average speed and how I felt during each ride.

Watching my girls last week, though, caused me to pause and think. I don't need to ride that hard every time out. I can take a day to just enjoy the sights, smell the smells and listen to the sounds of nature. I finally took a casual ride last week on my 1982 Nishiki and stopped to take a couple of pictures along the way. It felt great!

So, thank you Annika and Victoria for providing me a little dose of reality into the real reason for riding a bike - Freedom.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Manastash Metric update

Just a quick update. I heard from RSVP - the organizers for the Manastash Metric Century - and they wanted to let everyone know there will be a free barbecue after the ride for all participants. Early registration ($10 discount) goes to September 17th.