If you have the chance to come and watch the Nature Valley races in June, I suggest you do it. Spectating a high-caliber bike race, no matter if it is pro-level or strictly amateurs, is fun! On a pleasant summer day, picnicking alongside a bike race course is a great way to burn a couple of hours: chowing down feet (or less) from a huge mass of people hurtling down a street at high speeds is as mesmerizing as auto racing, but with more sunscreen and less eardrum-bursting.
In bike races, you will see a lot of in-shape people. Sure, all of them obviously spend a lot of their free time riding bikes, but every single rider is bound to have a life that is more interesting than you think. Despite the seemingly large chunk of cash that is up for grabs at major bike races, I can promise you that no one in a peleton is pedaling solely because there is cash to be won at the finish line. This post is about my own reasons for riding my bike (and racing it).
For starters, riding bikes is a great activity to stay fit without hauling yourself into a gym, mounting a treadmill, and attempting to stay motivated while you watch Wolf Blitzer on CNN (or whatever your local sweat-house likes to put on the TV around the cardio equipment). I can think of no more enjoyable and seemingly non-exercise-like activity to keep your body running smoothly than driving down to your local bike trail with a friend, saddling up and pedaling a ways to get to an ice cream shop, 7-Eleven, or BBQ joint for a quick refuel/chow-down stop before turning around to head home? Getting a little deeper into 'why bikes are fun' leads me to describe the multiple levels of awesome that are experienced in a bike race. The obvious route to find enjoyment in bike racing would obviously be 'winning a race', but that isn't what I'm going to tell you. ALL OF THE OTHER THINGS are what makes racing a USA Cycling event fun - winning is a thrill, but is still just the icing on the cake.
-Racing a bike on closed streets.
|Gettin' my lean on along Pennsylvania Ave. Yes, THAT Pennsylvania Ave.|
So awesome. Cut apexes, bomb descents, challenge yourself to increase your entry and exit speeds on corners! Because you are on a bicycle, the feeling of speed and momentum is enhanced, like how a roller coaster drop looks like a fairly steep angle when you are not on the ride, but from the front car, it seems STRAIGHT DOWN. I kid you not, the speeds at which you ride through corners in a bike race prompt very serious thoughts of just how far your 23 millimeter tires can hold grip through a lean. 20 mph on a bike feels like 50 in a car, and 30 mph feels like 80.
|Driving a breakaway is a tradeoff between increasing your chances to win and using your energy before the race ends|
|The bicycle of teammate Peter Warner|
|These guys welcomed me along their rides on a chilly winter morning in the Mountains! Smiles everywhere!|
That's all for now, I've got some loose ends to wrap up at the office before the weekend; Happy Memorial Day everyone!