|On Group Riding -
- First rule: Be predictable. Close riding demands that everyone be on
the same wavelength. NO QUICK CHANGES OF DIRECTION, KEEP TO YOUR LINE. We are on a
ride not a race
- Riding a Straight Line. Keep your actual focus 20 or 30 feet in front of the bike. Remember, the
bike will go where your eyes go.
- Don't accelerate when it's your turn at the front. Note your mph and maintain the groupï¿½s
speed when the lead rider pulls off. After your own bout against the wind, pull off to the side agreed
upon and stay close to the others as you soft pedal and slide back to the rear of the paceline. It keeps
everyone as far out of the traffic flow as possible, making paceline riding possible even on busier
- Protect your front wheel. If your rear wheel is struck a fall is unlikely because it has nothing to do
with steering the bike. However, if your front wheel is contacted it will often be twisted off line
faster than you can react. You'll almost certainly go down. Help prevent this by never overlapping
someone's rear wheel.
- Use the brakes sparingly. Jerky braking creates chain reaction problems for riders behind you. If
you need to brake, feather the levers lightly instead of clutching at them.
- If a gap opens, don't make things worse by accelerating too hard, overrunning the wheel in front,
then grabbing the brakes. Instead, ease back up to the rider in front. If you don't become proficient at
following a wheel, you can waste more energy than you save by constant yo-yoing.
- Be Wary on Climbs. A major cause of group crashes is riders who stand abruptly. They slow for a
second, causing the rider behind to hit their rear wheel and spill. To avoid this danger, let the gap open
a bit on hills or ride a foot to either side.
I do have to air something that rubs me the wrong way. I personally can't stand to see unfit,
unskilled, uneducated riders wearing Tour de France jerseys. The Green Jersey for the Sprinters,
the Polka Dot for the climbers and the Yellow Jersey of the General Classification (GC) leader.
Cyclists train and race their whole lives and never get a chance to wear one. The mystic and
honor of wearing these jerseys should be reserved for those incredibly gifted and disciplined
world class cyclists. What gives these people the right to wear one just because they bought it at
a Trek Store (Nike makes them and they sell Nike gear).
And it doesn't stop there...National Champion jerseys and World Champion jersey are definitely
A. I love climbing because it is the simplest form of riding a bike. It's just me and my machine
B. I love climbing because of the views. The views from the top of a climb are usually spectacular.
Doesn't really matter where you are but the higher the elevation the more spectacular the view. I used
to live near Soledad Mountain. It is only a 3.5 mile climb but early in the mornings there is usually a
heavy fog at the lower slopes. As you ascend you break through the fog and when you reach the top
you see the blanket of fog that is covering La Jolla, Pacific Beach, Mission Beach and Downtown San
Diego. I loved that "alone time" at the top before the hustle and bustle would begin as the 7th largest
city in America would awake.
C. I love climbing because I love descending. I love "free-falling" down a mountain. I love going
60 mph taking long sweeping curves. Or 40 mph on a switchback road- when the recommended
speed is half as much. I love the adrenaline and that feeling that I am just barely in control and
something bad can happen at any moment.
D. I love climbing because I feel alive. Every muscle in my body is working, my lungs are searing,
my legs are pumping, sweat is pouring down my face, and because lactic acid is finding its way to
every part of my body, I feel a tingling sensation overtake my body.
E. I love climbing because I love suffering. Enough said!
F. I love climbing because I love watching other people suffering. I love when I'm climbing and I
hear the cyclists behind me shifting and shifting trying to find the right gear to keep up with me. Then
each time I look back another rider falls off the pace. I keep counting them down and then it's just me
and one more cyclist. Shift up, stand up and ATTACK, ATTACK ATTACK!
G. I love climbing because I love to eat. After a long day in the saddle climbing, I could eat a
horse and not worry about my waistline.
H. I love climbing because a 50 mile hilly ride beats a flat century any day. Who wants to do a
boring flat ride when a few rollers will get that heart rate pumping.
I. I love climbing because it separates the men from the boys. Or the contenders from the
J. I love to climb because most people can't!
Camelbacks-- I personally don't like camelbacks for the following reasons:
A. I don't like the extra weight on my back.
B. I don't like the fact that you can overheat while wearing one.
C. I don't like the fact that with all the extra pockets you end up stuffing things in them because you
have the pockets, and you think you are going to need something later so you better pack it now.
D. They are a pain to refill quickly at aid stations.
E. I used one once on a 400km brevet. I experienced all the points above and was miserable. Since
then I have done many Ultras of longer distances and never seemed to need the extra fluids that the
camelback carries. I think they are better suited for Mountain Biking.
|On riding fixed gear....
I love riding fixed gear because of the shock on people's face when they see me keeping up with
them on a hard hilly ride. Many times I am riding with people and just chatting and then they look
down and say "Oh my God you've only got one gear. I could never do this ride without being able
I love riding fixed gear because it is harder. If I don't have much time for a long ride then I go
out on my fixie and it feels like I have done a lot more work. According to Chris Charmichael:
---"Because your legs are constantly in motion, this type of riding provides much more aerobic
benefit than geared-bike riding," Carmichael said. "An hour and a half to two hours of fixed-gear
riding is equivalent to four hours of regular riding."
Copyright 1999 The New York Times Company
I love riding fixed gear because it makes me a better rider. I have to think about every situation
even more than when I am on my multi-speed. Simple things like coming up to a light or stop sign
so that I can dismount and also so that I can set myself up for when I take off.
I love riding fixed gear because it helps with my bike handling skills.
I love riding fixed gear because it is so much fun. It keeps your attention all the time.
|On dieting and weight management...
Here is another subject that is near and dear to me. Far too often people comment on my physical
appearance and say "Oh you're so lucky you don't have to watch your weight" or comments similar
to that. This couldn't be further from the truth. I do have to watch my diet and I have to use
weight management strategies. I'm in my 40's now and I will tell you I have to work really hard to
keep the weight off. It is particullary challenging when I'm preparing for a climbing event. You see
the impact weight loss/gain has on us is proportional. To me 10-15lbs is a lot where for someone
else 10-15lbs is just a start to their weight loss program.
Indulge me as I share a couple of analogies with you.
Let's say every Sunday you fill the gas tank in your car for just a week's worth of commuting to and
from work. Now let's say you add an errand on Monday, Wednesday and Friday that takes you off
your routine commute. Your typical tankful won't last through the week with the added errands.
Additionally, it would be foolish at this point to reduce the amount of gas you are putting in your car
or you risk the chance of standing along the roadside with your thumb out and a gas can in your
On the other hand, if you lose your job and you stop commuting to work but keep filling your gas
tank as you did when you were commuting then you would be overflowing and creating a
Hazardous Material spill at the gas station every Sunday.
Your body is an amazing "machine". In my first analogy I am making the point that your body
knows what it needs to keep you alive and functioning. When you increase that demand by
EXERCISING, then your body will need more "fuel". This demand for more fuel can be met by one
of two methods and/or a combination of the two. You can take in more calories--- while making
good decisions on what you take in. Or you can allow the body to slowly burn off your fat stores.
A combination of good meal choices and some fat stores is the best long term solution.
In my first analogy, a car doesn't have a reserve tank but the body does. We commonly refer to this
spare tank as "love handles" and other things. Losing weight doesn't have to be about starving
yourself. We all know it is foolish to put less gas in our car if we are driving more. Why don't we
make the correlation of this immutable fact to our bodies?
You can cause serious damage to your body if you starve yourself. The added workouts on
Monday, Wednesday and Friday help increase your metabolic rate. This now allows more calories to
be burned and that in conjunction with your healthier meal choices will ensure the success of your
weight loss program. Furthermore, an increase metabolic rate allows you to burn fat even when
you aren't exercising.
My first analogy is meant to get people off their couch and start exercising. Whether it be walking
20-30 minutes three times a day or signing up for a 5K fun run or that marathon for your 50th
Birthday. DO SOMETHING!!! And do it regularly!! You will not only lose weight but have a
healthier cardiovascular system.
In my second analogy I am referring to people who are sedentary and eat like they are actively
participating in sports or have a fitness routine. Or even people that are active but just overeat. I
have seen many group rides were the riders start with coffee and bagels or donuts drink and eat bars
and sports drinks on the bike. Then they stop for lunch stuff their faces and then at the end of the
ride they sit down for another meal. THEN THEY WONDER WHY THE DON'T LOSE WEIGHT
EVEN THOUGH THEY RIDE SO MUCH. If you aren't exercising regularly then you shouldn't be
eating so much. Conversely, even if you are exercising you shouldn't eat so much either.
IT IS A VERY SIMPLE FORMULA --- CALORIES CONSUMED
MINUS CALORIES EXPENDED!
If you take in more than you burn then you will gain weight get fat and cause yourself health issues.
If you take in less than you burn then you are losing weight and all things being equal you will be
DIETING ALONE will not help you maintain a healthy body. YOU NEED TO MAKE A
LIFESTYLE CHANGE. Exercise is good. You feel better after a workout. Get those Endorphines
surging through your body they make you feel good. If you feel good you will look good too. Your
self-esteem will improve and people will notice the difference in you. Here's something many
"dieters" don't realize or get the benefit of experiencing--- the more you exercise the more energy
you have and the more you want to exercise. This lifestyle change will keep the weight off longer
than some fad Atkins or South Beach diet ever will!!
I advocate exercise OVER DIETING EVERYDAY AND TWICE ON