It’s Hot Outside
By: Scott Holliday
The summer is finally here and good weather is finally upon us. With the temperatures rising now is a good time to remind everyone that riding in the heat can at times be uncomfortable but more importantly it can also lead to some serious medical emergencies. Cycling in the warm weather can lead to heat related emergencies such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion and the true medical emergency heat stroke. Heat cramps are painful, involuntary muscle spasms that usually occur during heavy exercise in hot environments. Taking a long pull on a hammering AA ride or grinding up a long hill are some of the typical scenarios that can lead up to this problem. Muscles most often affected include those of your calves, arms, abdominal wall and back, although heat cramps may involve any muscle group involved in intense exercise. The exact cause of heat cramps is unknown, but it is most likely related to profuse sweating and inadequate fluid intake leading to electrolyte deficiencies. Various essential minerals, such as sodium, potassium, calcium, and magnesium that are important for many body functions are lost when we sweat. So what can you do to prevent heat cramps? The most important thing is to keep yourself well hydrated. When performing moderate to heavy exercise in hot, humid environments you should be finishing at least one water bottle (24 ounces) every hour. Electrolyte-containing sports drinks are good too but don’t rely solely on Gatorade or Powerade type drinks because too much can cause nausea and vomiting. If you begin experiencing cramps let your fellow cyclists know and pull off into a safe area. Try and get into the shade and get off your bike and try and cool down. If you can start to sip water or sports drink. It will also help to begin gentle, range-of-motion stretching and gentle massage of the affected muscle group. You will need some time to fully recover and it is not advisable to resume strenuous activity right away.
The Return of the Pain Cave
Its Hibernation Time
By Jim Lyman
Recently there has been a bunch of chatter on the MBC Facebook page about using trainers or rollers for the winter, so I thought this would be a good topic for the MBC Magazine. For those that don’t cross train in the winter using a trainer or rollers is an excellent way to maintain condition and form so come spring time, you won’t get dropped like a hot potato on our group rides. Additionally, good fitness should be a constant and not a seasonal thing.
Some would say in a perfect world rollers are the better tool for indoor training because they provide for both conditioning as well as improving form and balance on the bike. However, rollers are very difficult to use and for neophyte cyclist, they may not be worth the frustration. When I was in high school I used to train on rollers and I had my share of near-death experiences. I would love to get a pair of rollers again, but I do my training early in the morning before work and I am not sure I am awake enough to avoid slipping off of them. If you have time, there are some great videos on YouTube of expert roller riders doing tricks as well as amateurs crashing.
The biggest complaint I hear about trainers is the boredom factor. There are a couple of ways of dealing with this. The common approach is to set-up the trainer in front of the TV. I don’t do this because it distracts me from following my work out plan. Another approach which I think is pretty cool is to get one of those interactive trainers that simulate a race or challenging ride.
My approach to staying focused on the trainer is to follow a specific workout program with different drills. During these drills I stay focused on data like my heart rate and cadence, as well as my breathing. Simply getting on a trainer for an hour and riding at some static pace is definitely boring and will not give the full workout you need to see your true potential as a rider. Additionally, if it’s boring you are probably not experiencing enough pain, in which case, you will have to rename the room the Board Room instead of the Pain Cave.
There are number of different drills like intervals, ladders, and Fartleks (Swedish for speed play). I hesitate to go into any detail here because I am not an expert and I don’t want to give anybody advice that would be incorrect. What I want to do here is to give you some suggestions so you can explore them on your own. What I do feel comfortable saying is that doing intervals and the like, are more beneficial in developing speed and endurance than simply a static ride on a trainer. Additionally, more physical development can be achieved in the same period of time doing interval training than a static ride, making this type of workout more time efficient. In order to get the most out of these workouts you will need to get a heart rate monitor and bike computer that gives you speed and cadence information.
A Word of Caution
When I first started training last year, I read a number of books and articles. Bicycling Magazine has a helpful section on its website devoted to training and health. After reading a couple of these books and articles, I created a program and started to work my gluts off every day and I began to make some fast progress. However, because I lacked a technical understanding of setting-up a holistic program I began to burnout and my muscles were not recovering properly. After about two months, I was constantly tired and my resting heart rate was elevated. The problem was I was getting lots of good information on specific drills from the different articles but, I was not getting information on structuring the big picture. In other words, what days to do intervals or threshold work outs, and what days to do active recovery, etc. It was at this point I decided to get a coach and join a training program. Some members of MBC do use a coach and you should reach out them to see who they use and learn the benefits. From a cost perspective, I can tell you that it is a whole lot cheaper than hiring a personal training at your local gym. In addition to setting up a training program, a good coach can give you advice on riding technique, an often underappreciated part of cycling.
Other Benefits to the Trainer
In addition to strength and endurance training, I use my trainer as an opportunity to improve form. I cannot stress enough, the value of proper pedal stroke. Not only does it give you more speed
with a more efficient use of energy, but it also helps you avoid joint injury to the knees and hips. On days where I am doing active recovery and not drills, I fully concentrate on my form on the
bike, this is one reason I don’t watch TV while on the trainer. You can either set-up a mirror next to the trainer or a lamp on one side so you can see your shadow on the wall. I have also video
tapped my rides so I can see the details of my form.
I use a Kurt Kinetic Rock and Roll trainer which has a moving joint that allows the rider to stand and rock the bike. When I started using it, I noticed that there was this steady bounce and I
knew something was not right. The bouncing resulted from my overemphasis on the down-stroke in my pedaling and that I was “mashing” my gears. I worked with my coach on a number of drills to improve
my form to create a more elliptical stroke. The drills included one-legged drills and only pulling up on the pedals for a whole month. The good thing about a trainer is that since you don’t have to
focus on the road and steering the bike, you can put all your focus on your form.
Another benefit to a trainer is that you can work on your upper body position. Most new riders I see seem to support their upper body weight with their arms. This is a bad habit. Your arms should be bent and relaxed with the elbow joint turned downward. Elbows down allow you to absorb contact from another cyclist and force you to use your core to support your body instead of your arms. If you had a stiff arm when bumped by a rider next you, you might be forced to turn the handlebars and crash. I have also noticed that when I hit a surprise pot hole with bent arms, I tend to be less shocked. The good news is that if you are consistent about work on this while riding the trainer it becomes second nature.
So these are my few thoughts on why you should embrace the trainer and enjoy the pain cave. You should always feel free to reach out to more experienced members of the Mineola Bike Club Family for advice about this or other things related to cycling. The better we all are on our bikes the more fun we will all have.
The following is an email sent to me from Rich Barry. This is what it's all about.....
Thank You Rich.
A little quick story:
Today was my 1 year anniversary of my first ride with MBC. It happened to be the FULL “Bayville” ride…and what sealed the deal for me that day about MBC was the climb up Moore’s Hill. I was BARELY able to hang in there….couldn’t see a soul….had to circle back and give it another try up the hill....I finally made it up and ALL you guys were there waiting for me!!! NONE OF YOU KNEW ME but everyone waited because of THE CAPTAIN….while I still ended up getting dropped because I had NO CLUE on how strong the group was, when I got home I told my wife that I found my new cycling home. I told her that I really better get my butt in gear and come back ready for next year.
While I never road again with the group that season, I made it a point to “stalk” the group on FB and the website….just to stay involved. The spirit and discussion on so many levels was great and I wanted to be a part of this. Well obviously so do so many others.
So for me I just want to say thanks. I love wearing the colors, the camaraderie is great and the rides are awesome…
So just remember the positive; the friends, the rides, the laughs, the races!!!!
Thank you for giving me one of the best cycling experiences that I have ever had.
The Pain Cave Takes To The Road
Earlier this year, MBC Magazine featured a story about how and where different members train in the deep of winter for the upcoming season. Below we feature why dedicated riders do this. In this edition, we have compiled two very honest and self-reflective accounts of the 2012 Assault on Devil’s Kitchen, Stage 2 of the Tour of the Catskills. This is considered one of the more challenging races in the United States. Although our two authors, Jason Szwejkowski and Leigh Campbell had finishes below their expectations, the real victory was their ability to overcome tremendous fatigue and pain to finish the race, something that the average weekend warrior could not be expected to do. More impressive is their desire to train harder and go back again next year.
I have participated in a number of races and many of them were very challenging; however, few are memorable. This one, now that I think about it, was probably the hardest, most brutal race I have ever done; especially in light of the fact that temperatures peaked at around 102-103degrees. I have certainly come to the conclusion that this race pushed me to new levels in the hurt locker, places I feel I pushed my body way beyond its limits.
The competition was fierce. While lining up at the start and observing the other racers, I knew this was serious business. The race started at a fast pace, climbing some formidable hills from the very start. I hung on to the back of the lead peloton for the first 20 miles or so. I was already pushed at beyond my tempo pace at this point. More and more climbs and I noticed my heart rate was above my lactate threshold for way to long.
I was turning the cranks over and looking at the gorgeous views of the mountains and realizing how big a race this was. I was not about to give up. Regardless, I fell back a bit, and was riding with a couple of guys from Siggis and an English fellow. We were chatting a bit about how hot it was and how we were getting worn out when we decided to work together, taking long pulls while we started to come up with a plan to attack the Devil’s Kitchen. Our plan called for recovering and bringing down our heart rates about 5 miles before the beginning of the torturous climb.
Well, we rode on together and as we approached this hellish climb I was like "Oh man, I’m in for some serious suffering." I started the climb nice and easy out of the saddle and pushed on. The Siggis guys started to move ahead, and I wished them luck. I calmed down and made it up about half way, 1.6 miles or so then just started to cramp like crazy and I couldn’t handle it. I had to dismount and walk. I was so ridiculously overheated; I had to sit against a guard rail for a minute or two. I looked up and everything was spinning, I was all fogged-out and twisted. I was suffering heat stroke or very close to it. Again, As I saw most of the other riders walking, I said to myself I’m not giving up, I walked to the top, another 1.5 miles or so, and then realized, I’m near the end, so I must push on. And so I did. I was in a world of hurt at this point with cramps, a lost a contact lens (I could barely see anything) and was much overheated.
I gave it everything I had left for the last 10 miles or so. I was able to pass a couple of racers, but I still kept cramping and cramping and was telling myself" shut up legs, shut up. The finish line banner finally emerged, and I was so relieved. I was going to finish! And I did. I crossed the finish line and collapsed. I had to lie down for at least 20 minutes. My fellow teammates and friends helped me recover with hydration. I was still in a daze for the rest of the day. I did not place too well, but it didn’t matter. I knew I finished one of the hardest races on the East coast. What an unbelievable experience this was.
Thanks for all the support and congratulations to all the other MBCR racers who participated in this awesome race!
It’s hard for me to put this race into words, mostly from the disappointment of my performance. I have spent the two days after the race reflecting on what might have went wrong, and I could only think of two things. First and foremost was the HEAT, man it was super hot, and the other was unfortunately being in the wrong place in the peloton. Somebody fell in front of me right at the beginning of the first climb, and seeing as the peloton kept motoring along, I found myself in catch up mode. Being inexperienced, I tried to chase, which put me way into the red zone. The lactic acid built up so quickly and I couldn’t get my heart rate to settle. With 60 miles to go in a 65-mile race I had to come to the realization that this race was over and I was doing the longest time trial I’d ever care to do.
I decided to try to set a tempo and spin the lactic acid out of my legs, which felt so tight I thought my skin might rip open. Along the way I stop to help a couple guys with a flat and there I met up with Hernan Lucero, a fellow MBCR member. I have to give a huge thanks to him. He was a lot stronger and stayed with me to help me through this ride. Slowly we continued, while the whole time and I struggled to maintain a steady heart rate. I also started to realize that my core temperature was way too high. I began to think to myself I’m really not going to make it. Hernan assured me I’d make it, despite my gripes and by the way, we were only at mile 20.
The next miles were quite a blur, except for the heat. That is something I’ll never forget. Eventually, I found my tempo, got my heart to come down and spun out the lactic acid. At one point, we came upon a barbeque and found great hospitality, and between the Ice cold water and putting a huge chunk of ice down my shorts, I finally got my core temperature to come down some. It was then I found my second wind and we began hammering down easier roads, which led us to the Devil’s Kitchen. As we got to the Kitchen I was determined not to get off bike at any cost. I made it about half way up when I noticed something interesting starting to happen to my body. It wasn’t cramping and it’s something that won’t cripple you off the bike, but was something I had never experienced. I have read that marathon runners during a race sometimes lose control of certain bodily functions; well I guess it can happen to cyclists as well. All the energy I was putting into pedaling left me with little to spare, resulting in me not being able to control my bladder muscles. As I looked down to see what had just happen, I thought well at least I’m lighter, so I continued to pedal upward.
After reaching the top of the mountain, I felt really good and was able to put in a strong effort all the way to the finish. After crossing the finish line the only things I felt were disappointment in me, and sense of failure. But now as I write this story, I realize it was a great learning experience, and what I have learned from the this past weekend will surely be helpful in future road races. I’m glad I suffered, and I can’t wait for next year! It was a great success just to finish in those conditions.
Words From The Peloton
Installing The Garmin GSC 10 cadence and speed sensor on a Specialized Tarmac SL3
By Jim Lyman
I have heard that people with the Tarmac SL3s have had a difficult time mounting the Garmin Chain Stay sensor in a aerodynamic fashion given the geometry of the frame. I have seen them mounted upside down, or with the sensor arm turn-upward. Well I think I have figured out a way to do it so the unit is right side up and the arm sits right next to the inside of the stay without the cadence or wheel magnets tapping the arm.
See Photo for details, but basically, I placed the sensor about 3 3/4" inches from the radius of the seat tub and the stays with the arm set firmly against the stay. I tighten down the aft wire tie as tight as possible, but only tighten the forward one modestly. If you tighten the forward one too much it forces the rear of the unit to turn inward (because of the curvature of the stay) which would then force the arm to hit the spoke magnet. I use a slightly heavier wire tie than the one that comes with the Garmin unit since I believe the teeth on the smaller ties are not strong enough. You could drop a dab of Super Glue into the square part of the wire tie that grips the teeth to make sure it doesn't slip.
You will notice from the photo that the Spoke magnet is turned away from the senor arm because of the tight clearance of the arm and the magnet. The magnet is still within 5mm of the arm which is the maximum distance for the sensor to work.
My First Crit In The Park
By Zuhal Ersan Ertamay
I have never drove on the LIE at 4:15am
Something was wrong, almost no traffic! It felt eerie, like a solar eclipse. I arrived at the registration area and was taken back as I saw hundreds of men getting ready to start their races. I thought this was all women? No this was one of those real races. After registering at the designated women’s desk, a wonderful friendly rider was assigned to put my number on. We were summoned up the hill for a briefing on rules and regulations with the start line in view. Loud whistles were breaking my concentration and my fear of road racing. Then a stream of male riders, who started racing earlier, roared by a reminder of the chaos I was about to be involved in. My determination to experience this for myself brought strength back to my knees as I walk to the start line with 35 or so other women.
The race started with all riders picking up speed. I tried to stick to my agenda of holding on to the peloton as long as I could, feverishly reminding myself that it would hurt only for a short while. I found myself surrounded by other riders, making me feel as if we were flowing like a river through Central Park. Suddenly I realized everything calmed down, as if time slowed and nothing crazy was happening. I was in the eye of the storm and I was losing that mental image that road racing was all about people taking risks.
The peloton started breaking up and was slowly slipping away from me. I found myself alone and left back. A rider without a number rolled up next to me and announced herself as one of the official instructors managing the race. She asked me to follow her wheel so that she could help catch me up with the riders gaining distance ahead. We tried for 15 minutes keeping them close but it was futile. I knew my limits and was aware that I couldn’t tolerate not finishing the race or spilling because of skill decline due to fatigue. I decided to ride hard and steady. She fell back and began to discuss strategy with me. She said “you have 2 options: go it alone or wait until the riders in the back to catch up and work with them conserving energy until the finish line.” I was shocked to find out there was a second group behind me! This became a race within a race!
Wow what a wonderful sensation it was to be able to reach within and pull out strength that translates to my wheels as I propel forward in relation to the rider next to me. The pain escalated towards the finish line but slowly got replaced with a great sense of accomplishment! 17.5 miles @average speed of 20 and I still got to experience it all! Feeling the rush of racing, knowing how to strategize during a race and get to see that this is not crazy after all.
The winners got signed jerseys by Evelyn Stevens and goody bags were given out to all! I approached the rider/instructor, Veni from Rockstar Games, who helped me out and thanked her. I asked her if I should get stronger before I do another race. She responded “you got to race so you can get strong in racing”. A women named Gabriel, from Gold Coast Tri Club (who came second overall) observing my kit sat next to me and said she had heard about our club and saw our jerseys at Brands rides and was contemplating on riding with us! I cheerfully welcomed her to come join us! Over all this was a wonderful experience.
Thank you for all your support.
Words From The Peloton
The Pre-Ride Bike Check Ritual
By Jim Lyman
Ok….lets take a vote, before the group ride, how many of you folks take the bike off the car rack…. shoot the breeze with your fellow riders…. then start hammering without looking over the bike? Anybody…Anybody…. Bueller,…Bueller…..Come on! I know some of you are not telling the truth because I see it every Sunday.
In my case, if I don’t go thru this ritual, I get all nervous that something bad is going to happen. I have two fears that motivate me to do the check; first, that I am going to have a mechanical occur 20 miles into the ride and I am going to have to walk back to the shop thereby causing me to get home really late resulting in my beautiful wife never letting me ride the bike again. By the way, have you walked any great distance in a pair cleats? The second fear is that I am going to have a mechanical in a tight pack and cause a multiple rider crash. As a member of a riding club, I believe it is my responsibility to do all things necessary to avoid creating problems that could hurt my fellow riders.
So I start my pre-ride ritual by picking-up the bike about 6.5 inches from the ground and dropping it on its wheels. If something falls off, I know I got a problem. Seriously, I do give it a little drop and listen if something sounds loose. Although this sounds like a ridiculous procedure, it is recommended in the Park Tool’s Big Blue Book of Bicycle Repair (I recommend buying the book, it retails around $20-$25). When doing the drop test, shift your chain to the large ring and the big sprocket in the rear to avoid the chain slapping the frame and scratching the finish. By the way, just the other day I did the drop test and found that my handle bar stem needed to be tightened.
The pre-ride check actually begins Sunday night after a week of riding. It starts with a bike cleaning where I first clean the chain and drive train. I wipe down the entire bike with baby-wipes or paper towels with a gentle cleaner. Be careful not use caustic or harsh cleansers because they may damage the paint finish. Bicycle Magazine’s website has many great videos on bicycle care; however, they have one on post race bike cleaning by one of the European professional teams that I do not agree with. The mechanic uses a power sprayer followed by a bristle brush to clean in tight spaces. Professional teams have the luxury of replacing their bikes on an as needed basis while we mere mortals need to get many years out of our bikes and maintaining their finish is a part of it.
A detailed bike cleaning allows you to see problems like cracks in the frame and loose components. Once I have finished the cleaning, I oil the chain. After applying the oil, I wipe the excess oil off with a rag. Too much oil is actually a bad thing because it allows dirt, dust and sand to adhere to the chain.
The next step is to make sure the wheels are true. I spin each wheel and sight the distance between the brake shoes and the braking surface on the rim. Check booth the side-to-side wobble as well as for flat spots. The idea here is to focus on the rim and not let the writing on side walls of the tire influence the optics. Unless you have a proper truing strand and experienced in the art of truing a wheel, I would bring it to the shop for any fixing that needs to be done. The next step is to make sure the tires are in good shape. Check for bulges, cracks, dried or oxidized surfaces, and/or debris stuck into the rubber. Also look for signs of tears between the bead and the sidewalls. Any sign of problems, and the tire should be replaced. When it comes to tires penny wise pound foolish comes to mind.
Now I move to the brakes. How are the shoes? Most shoes have treads on them so you can measure wear. Pads with signs of drying, oxidization and cracks should be replaced. Try the brake handles. If the levers are bottoming out and the shoes are not worn down then may be the cable slipped and should be tightened. Are the levers sticking or is there friction when you apply the brakes? Sometimes dirt can get inside the cable housing. This can be cleaned out by spraying a cleaning lubricant like WD40 into the housing.
I now move to the derailleurs to make sure they are tightly fastened to the frame. Turn the cranks and change gears and listen to make sure everything looks and sounds right. If you don’t have a repair stand, you can do this on your trainer. The next step is to check the seat and seat post to confirm there was no slippage. If you have been riding in the rain, you should remove the seat post and turn the bike upside down to make sure water has not collected in the seat tube. For aluminum frames and/or seat tubes, grease should also be applied to the tube to avoid corrosion ceasing things up.
The final item and maybe one of the most important is to make sure the handle bars are tightly secured. Road vibration, usage and sweat have a way of loosening things. Now you are done for the week and you can enjoy your recovery day.
Fast forward to riding day. When I take my bike off of the rack, all I have to do is check the pressure in the tires and do the drop test I mentioned earlier to see that everything is tight. It is important to check tire pressure before each ride because believe it or not, rubber is porous enough to leak air. Tires that are not fully inflated leave you vulnerable to damaging your rims if you hit a pot hole. Also, it important to check the quick releases on your brakes and wheels. For the wheels, I recommend that you make them very firm but not “the jaws of life” tight especially with carbon fiber forks because you can crush the material. This advice also goes for any component that is fastened onto a carbon frame because overtighentening may strip the threads. In general it is a good idea to be careful when tightening screws or fastenings whether on a carbon, aluminum or steal frame to avoid stripping threads. In some cases torque wrenches are required. The Park’s Blue Book is a good source of information on this subject
Now go out there and enjoy your ride!!!
ToBike Fit or Not to Bike Fit? That Should NOT Be the Question!!!!
By: Jim Lyman
As a novice cyclist, I am learning all the technical/mechanical minutia of owning a performance bike. Intellectually, I knew that getting a proper bike fit was essential. However, emotionally, I was resistant to spending the extra money to have it done. It turns out it was money very well spent.
There are three very compelling arguments for getting a proper fitting; 1) without a proper bike fitting, a $5,000 bicycle will probably feel and perform more like a sub-$1,000 bicycle (for the record, I do not own a $5,000 bike); 2) the money you invest today in a bike fitting may save you significant amounts of money later on in medical bills relating to back problems and repetitive injuries to your knees or other joints; and finally, 3) if you are spending a large sum of money on a bicycle, chances are you will be in the saddle for hours at a time, and if you are not comfortable and enjoying your riding time, you have wasted your investment. If you are trying to stay within a budget, it makes sense to include the fitting into the cost of the bike.
There are a number of different bike fit methodologies utilizing various technologies, ranging from video analysis to using wooden measuring tools that seem to be from the medieval days. I can’t say which methodology is the best, but I believe at the end of the day the technician is the key to a successful fitting. I recommend getting the fitting where you buy the new bike. However, if the technician you trust is at a shop that does not carry your weapon of choice, it probably makes sense to see if that technician is willing to work on bikes not purchased at his/her shop.
In choosing the shop for your fitting, don’t be shy about asking questions about how the process works. Don’t be fooled by boasts of new technologies and computer assistance. Find out how long the fitting will take. My recent fitting took over two hours and included a follow-up visit. In my case the follow-up critical, since some additional adjustments had to be made. The fitting started with the technician asking questions about my goals and riding habits, including questions like where I tend to hold the handle bars. You should be prepared to talk about any history of injuries, back problems etc. My technician seemed to have experience with physical therapy which was helpful in many ways. Additionally, I learned a lot about bike set up from the technician and this ultimately will make me a better rider.
Two major takeaways I had from the fitting are that the little things count and if one thing is wrong it can have a negative chain reaction. Little things include a shim on the bottom of my right shoe as well as measuring the width of my sitting bones to select the correct seat (in case you are concerned, this measurement is done by sitting on a compression pad on a measuring bench).
The shim on my right cleat is a perfect example of an adjustment to cure a chainreaction. Before the fitting I was experiencing left hip joint pain. As it turns out, the cause was the seat height being based on my shorter right leg. This resulted in my right leg compressing my hip on up stroke while I was peddling. If we simply raised the seat to match my left leg I would have lost power from my right leg and ultimately may have suffered knee injury as well. The technician also adjusted the float on my cleats to minimize potential knee injury.
The fitting on my previous bike, which was performed by a technician from a different shop made the same observation about my leg lengths. However, his remedy was to set my seat height half-way between the two extremes, not an ideal solution. The shim placement is a good example of a more detailed oriented technician coming-up with perfect solution versus a compromise solution which would have compromised my performance, comfort and possibly my hip joint.
If you are having a difficult time finding a fitting technician that you can trust, ask other cycling friends for a recommendation. If you recently joined a bike club or are planning to, the members are a wonderful source of information about all things bicycle and can certainly give you opinions on whom to go to and who to avoid.
The Rocket Review
The carnage that was strewn throughout the course was immense. I must have witnessed 20 men throwing their bikes into the sweeper trucks with a look of disgust and physical exhaustion on their faces.
Pushing my bike up hill, a photographer took my picture and I said, “you don’t have to do that”. His reply was, “you are about the 500th person to walk up this hill.”
Fighting with all my strength to maintain a line, a rider insisted on moving into me at the bottom of a decent. I was riding through 2 inches of washout, with rocks the size of my fist, and found myself sideways, laying in a cow field.
As I leaned over the top tube of my bike, massaging my legs trying to get the bulging oranges that were once my quads to subside, I thought to myself, “I have to finish. It’s only 12 more miles.”
The Tour of Battenkill certainly lives up to its title as the hardest single day race in America and each of you that competed on Saturday certainly know this to be the truth. Battenkill is not just a bike race. It is a mental and physical challenge that will certainly test you and let you know what kind of athlete you are. Each race that we enter presents a different challenge in itself; sometimes it is wind or tough section, other riders, even rough roads. But the Battenkill from mile 1 to 62 presents so many variables that it almost seems impossible to prepare for such a race. The single word that kept hitting me upon reflection is “Gladiator”. A gladiator is defined as an armed combatant who entertained audiences in violent confrontations with other gladiators, wild animals, and condemned criminals. Gladiators offered audiences an example of fighting or dying well. They could inspire admiration and popular acclaim. We as gladiators, entered the arena armed with our perfectly tuned machines, shoes clipped tightly to our pedals, food to keep us energized, and the hearts of champions.
The weekend started off really well with some great companions to drive up with: Jorge, Zuhal and our team captain Dan. The conversations varied from work to music to families but the underlying tone throughout was the race that was coming the following day. Since Dan had raced the course before, I took mental notes on how to handle the difficulties that lay ahead of me each time he spoke. Upon arrival at the event sight, my energy jumped through the roof and I found myself skipping around likea child on his first trip to Disney. Registration went well. After a quick scan of the venue it was back in the car for the trip to the cabin. And again all of my expectations were fulfilled. Caroline really came through with a great place to stay and bond with the team. We quickly unpacked and the rest of the team arrived shortly after. Greetings were exchanged and some of the boys went out to stretch there legs on a short ride. During that time Zuhal and I cooked up some dinner for the gang and everyone enjoyed a solid pre race meal filled with the energy needed for the following day. There was some chatter in the evening but most of us passed out by ten to get a solid night sleep. The buzz in the morning was great. Everyone pitched in to get food and coffee made. We loaded up the cars to head off to ride the Battenkill. After parking and getting geared up, Dan, Michael and I took a short warm-up ride and headed to staging. There were brief directions and the whistle blew. We were off to engage in battle with 100 other cyclists…
At this point I want you to reflect on your ride, remember all of the different feelings that you had and store them away to share with your friends and family. Each one of us had a unique ride at Battenkill and I will let the pictures from Phil and your written reviews on Facebook finish this story. I want to thank every one of you because without the team unity that we have, Battenkill would not have been the same.
Last year MBCR took a leap of courage and ventured into a race that has become one of the most anticipated events of the season for team. Battenkill is considered one of the most difficult road races on the east coast. The Tour of Battenkill is America’s largest one-day Pro/Am cycling race. Racers compete over 64 miles of rolling terrain on both dirt and paved roads as they travel through the world famous Battenkill Valley. Set in early spring, the race starts and finishes in the scenic village of Cambridge, New York and courses through covered bridges, family farms, and rural villages along the many challenging backcountry roads that traverse Southern Washington County, New York. This year, MBCR has been putting in the miles and has been on a regimented training plan developed by current member and coach David Lipscomb. Lipscomb's Cis training system will help get MBCR to peak 3 times this year including mid April for Battenkill.
While most cyclists and clubs hang up their bikes and hibernate for the winter, MBC is just starting to rev up. This year many have opted for some indoor self inflicted pain on their stationary trainers or rollers during the week and some frozen meat road rides on the weekends. Luckily, the weather has been great this winter and no cases of frostbite have been reported. It all comes down to the fact that we love this sport and will go out of our way to get in the saddle just one more time. I think many cyclist have that friend that stands in front of your bike scratching their head saying "doesn't it hurt to sit on that?" Or this one... "Why don't you raise your handle bars? You look really uncomfortable hunched over like that." And of course we always just laugh it off and ignore the fact that they are kind of right ! Our reply usually goes like this "it's not so bad." or "The padded shorts really help." Lets face it. We are strange creatures and in a sick way, we enjoy the pain. More importantly, we enjoy the results of all that pain because we know that putting that pain in now will help put the hurt on during the rides and races. That being said, here are some of the MBC pain caves.
Many MBC members are experiencing an unidentifiable "bullet-like" force zooming by them leaving cyclists with raised eyebrows and mouths wide open desperately gasping for air and/or in amazement. Look out behind you!!! If you're not careful you might get blown away by Peter "the bullet" Rup. Peter has kept the green jersey on his shoulder for what seems like months now. Just when you think you might have a chance, think again because Peter's acceleration is untouchable. He not only has the power behind the pedals but the smarts to go with it. He'll play it just right an explode like a machine leaving him plenty of gas in the tank to pass everyone. More and more are challenging him but he truly has this skill mastered. This particular Sunday I tried to purposely throw things off at the sprint point by jumping early and having everyone re-evaluate their approach to the line. At first it seemed that Peter had gotten thrown because 3 or 4 others passed me looking very strong. Suddenly Peter came from my right side with amazing acceleration and passed EVERYONE!!!!! Well done Peter and congratulations on your performances.