On being an Athlete again

Over the past year, for various reasons (moving cross-country, fatigue, etc) I’ve spent less time on the bike. I went from doubling up in CX (SS and B race) every weekend to making it to one race. I still took my 29er out for the occasional morning on the trail. I dreamt up excuses (Northwest winter, lack of friends), and decided getting my life settled took precedence. However, I knew my fitness lapsed.

Recently, I’ve started training again. It feels great. I relish the challenge of training. I feel accomplished after doing intervals for the last 45 minutes of a 3:30 hour ride, and limping home. The hunger, the sleep, all feels better.

I paid for my time off on those first few long rides. The rides hurt mentally and physically; I’ve never biked so slowly, and felt so tired afterwards. However, the time off and the first few serious back to back to back days on the bike made me appreciate something I forgot – I was (am) an athlete.

  • I trained with a plan.
  • I trained with a team.
  • I tracked my results.
  • I worked on my weaknesses.
  • I competed to win, not just finish.

When you’re constantly trying to get better, many of your friends are also cyclists, and winning seems a mile away, it’s easy to lose sight of your efforts and accomplishments. More importantly, you forget what you do is not normal.

I’ve created a list of to help me remember my progress.

Respect your on days – take time to celebrate days where you feel great on the bike, or the first to the line.

Respect your off days – there will be days where you’re tired, distracted, or slow for no reason. You can’t set a PR every day.

Respect other’s efforts – encourage your friends who are training for a charity ride, riding to a brewery, or commuting. Remember there was a time when 30 miles was a longer training ride. Not everyone wants to race, and that’s totally cool.

I can’t wait for cross season.

CX Season is Coming

Hurry grab your bikes. Cross season is coming.

Bike DC Photo Journal 2011

At registration

I took a day off from training and racing to do Bike DC with some friends and 3996 other people.

Bike DC is a causal ride through DC and Arlington on closed roads. The ride traversed several roads normally closed to bicycles including the E St expressway, 66, and the GW Parkway.

The weather cooperated with the event; it was warm and sunny. However, it increased the crowds a bit (not crowded). I also witnessed my first traffic jam caused by bicycles as the riders were funneled onto the GW Parkway.

I’ve written an adaptation of the 12 days of Christmas to describe what I saw throughout the ride:

  • 12 Beach Cruisers
  • 11 Folding bikes
  • 10 Recumbents
  • 9 Tandems
  • 8 Aero-bars
  • 7 Fanny packs
  • 6 Helmet-less
  • 5 PINK TOWNIES
  • 4 Fixed gears
  • 3 Cargo Bikes
  • 2 Unicycles
  • A dude on an Elliptigo

It doesn’t really fit in the song, but it’s notable. There were 0 cars and 0 rollerbladers. I had to make a serious mental adjustment to ride home with traffic.

Stray Observations:

It’s shocking how big the roads are without cars on them.

Crossing the Potomac on the 66 Bridge

My favorite crew from last year was there: TEAM USA!

TEAM USA!

Also, big thanks to the volunteers, WABA, Bike Arlington, goDCgo, NPS, and everyone else who helped make the ride possible.

Bike to Work Day 2011

I have the pleasure of biking to work most days. However, for many people bike to work day is the the first time they’ve ridden to work. For many of those people, bike to work day helps make cycle commuting a lasting habit.

Welcome new bike commuters.

Today was a great day to ride. I rode the whole 15 St cycle track, turned onto the Penn Ave bike lanes, and hit up the Freedom Plaza pit stop. It doesn’t get better than that.  See you out there again sometime.

Also, since it was such a nice day, I snapped some pictures. All of my pictures are on Picasa.

Rocking the 2011 BTWD Shirt in the Penn Ave Bike lane

Swag at the WABA tent

All smiles

Ride Your Bicycle to Nationals Stadium

Let's Go Nats

As of today, Spring is officially here. Not because the weatherman said so or that it’s actually going to stay warm out. Today is Opening Day.

Nationals’ games are a good way to spend an evening outside chatting and reminiscing about how the time you caught a foul ball. However, getting to and from the stadium can be a hassle.

Parking is expensive and the traffic can be bumper to bumper. The metro can be packed like a can of sardines.

Why not bike?

In fact, the Nationals make biking an easy option. In addition to the 250 bicycle racks near the stadium the Washington Nationals also havefree bike valet.

For the convenience of our bicycling fans, Nationals Park offers a FREE bike valet located in Red Garage C at the corner of N & 1st Street, SE. Access to the valet is on N Street just left of the entrance.

The valet will be accepting bikes two hours before game time and will close 1 hour after the last inning.

The tricky part of a route for most people will be crossing the Mall and the Southwest Freeway. I’d recommend 7th St to M St SW or 3rd St to Independence to New Jersey Ave SE.

If you need a route suggestion, let me know in the comments.

To Turn Left You Steer Right?

Yes. To turn your bike left, you steer right first. It’s a slight movement, but that quick turn in the opposite direction leans your body into the turn.

Counter steering is one of my favorite things about bicycles. This video uses motorcycles and bikes to explain the concept.

For a more in-depth explanation, read Bicycle Physics.

Mt Pleasant Bike Swap Photos

This weekend I learned you can only sell bicycle stuff while wearing a cycling cap.

And you have to purchase gear while rep-ing you team.

And this kid is a champion.