Spring Training with Tips from “Bike for Life”

March 26, 2020

For Indy Bike Rider, spring training has begun with tips from Bike for Life: How to Ride to 100

Mass Ave 1Most aggressive bike riders, as I used to think of myself, ease up during winter months, which means that when daffodils and red bud trees are blooming it’s time to begin spring training for the season’s first big event. For twenty years my season opener was TOSRV—the Tour of the Scioto River Valley—210 miles in two days, from Columbus, Ohio, to Portsmouth, on Mother’s Day weekend.

In more recent years, while I lived in the Pacific Northwest, my early spring training began in February when I visited my bicycling son in Florida and prepared for a 500-mile week in southern Arizona riding with PAC Tour, one of the nation’s elite cycling organizations.

Living on the edge of Portland helped me keep in shape because on mild winter days, I could take a three-hour spin through downtown to Portland State University, up Montgomery Drive to Skyline Boulevard for several miles of short uphill sprints, and then drop back down to the St. Johns’ Bridge for a few more flatland miles back home.

Now that I live in Indiana again, where the world is flat and winter is real (although gentler than it used to be), and there is no big event to pull me forward, getting in shape for summer requires a deliberate plan for spring training. Furthermore, I keep getting older and my orthopedics are increasingly troublesome. Despite the counsel of two sports medicine doctors and the guidance of physical therapists, I ride slower and hurt more than I used to. Here’s where Roy Wallack and Bill Katovsky’s counsel in Bike for Life: How to Ride to 100 is helping me now that plants and trees are blooming again in central Indiana. Two of their ideas are shaping this season’s program.

Goals: In chapter one, they profile three cyclists (ages 45, 60, and 60) “who are getting stronger and younger every day” because they have established goals for their cycling. “Goals give you a reason to get on the bike. They give your training purpose, urgency, and excitement.” All of this I really need!

Periodization: Periodization, they write, “is a series of methodical, progressive physical challenges, peppered with variety and punctuated with rest.” Each period can last from four weeks to several months. Looking forward, I see two periods for this season.

The first is early May, about six weeks from now. In keeping with my TOSRV tradition (if this were an ordinary year), the logical goal would be a two-day ride out and back to an interesting place that is far enough away to challenge but close enough to be within my capabilities. One of Indiana’s state parks would be my first choice. Because of the corona virus, however, staying in public accommodations makes little sense. I’ll probably settle for two 50-mile loops from by bachelor pad—my Zionsville triangle for one and another still to be decided.

My second goal is for something more challenging near my 89th birthday on Halloween. One possibility is to do my traditional birthday ride—a mile for each year of my life—but as I grow older and diminish in strength these birthday rides are ever harder to do. An alternative is to ride a second, but longer, two-day out-and-back—maybe Indianapolis to Richmond, seventy miles distant, near the Ohio line. I have not made this trip since returning in Indiana and there are interesting byways and historic sites to visit along the way. By then, we can ardently pray, the pandemic will be over.

With these reflections in mind, I began my spring training on March 23, an overcast day with a temperature in the low forties, and only the slightest whisper of a breeze. Following my guidebook’s advice, I chose a route that I’ve done only a couple of times in the past rather than one of my regular rides. A short distance from my downtown apartment, I ventured forth onto Massachusetts Avenue—Mass Ave—a diagonal that parallels train tracks running toward the northeast and continuing far beyond the city’s outermost boundary. At Thirtieth Street, I cut across to Arlington Avenue, a north-south arterial, and then turned back toward the city on Pleasant Run Parkway, cycling on familiar streets the rest of the way home.

It was not a very long ride, even for me right now—only 14.27 miles, and slow, averaging 12.1 miles per hour—but it’s my first ride for this year’s spring training. Two more rides this week will complete the 50+ miles per week that are on my training docket from now until income tax day.

During these troubling times, when safety calls for keeping one’s distance, I had only one moment of social interaction. On Pleasant Run Parkway, as I cycled about 15 mph, a youngish couple were walking hand-in-hand along the sidewalk about twenty feet away. “Nice Waterford,” he called out, referring to my twenty-year-old touring bike. “Thank you!” I yelled back, hoping that he could hear even though we rapidly were moving out of earshot. For Indy Bike Rider, spring training has begun.


Will 130 Million e-Assist Bikes Save Tomorrow’s Cities?

February 1, 2020

Bicycling with Deloitte to the Winter Farmers’ Market

I began a late January Saturday morning in Indianapolis by reading “Cycling’s technological transformation,” a fifteen-page segment of Deloitte’s much longer Technology, Media, and Telecommunications Predictions 2020. I had been alerted to the report by a summary published on social media by Carlton Reid, historian and journalist in the United Kingdom. According to the Deloitte report, cycling will be the second most important innovation in 2020, the roll-out of industrial 5G being first on the list and the continued rise of podcasting as third.

The Deloitte writers “predict that tens of billions of additional bicycle trips per year will take place in 2022 over 2019 levels” and “will double the number of regular bicycle users in many major cities where cycling to work is still uncommon.” A graph shows the percentage of journeys taken by bicycle in “the top 22 cities” around the world. Montreal is the only North American city on the graph and is one of 16 where the percentage of trips by bicycle is less than 10 percent. Even in those cities the total number of bicycle trips per year is several billion.

The subtitle for this report is “Making bicycling faster, easier, and safer.” The major emphasis is upon the development of “an array of diverse technological innovations,” the most important being electrification made possible by using light weight lithium-ion batteries. These easily charged batteries make it possible to improve lighting, lock bikes more securely, and help cyclists ride faster. The result is that cycling becomes “a more attractive option for first-mile, last-mile, and overall travel.”

I have been an aggressive road cyclist for a full half-century and commuted to my teaching post year-round even when the high temperature hovered around zero. I have been retired for more than twenty years, am widowed, and no longer own an automobile. My two classic road bikes, powered only by my legs and lungs, are my primary means of getting around town. In my flat, mid-western city, freeway overpasses seem to be the steepest grades anywhere near.

Arthritis is settling into place, however, and the value of e-assist cycling is becoming attractive. This next summer, I may acquire a new bike, an e-assist, small-wheeled, fast-folding bike that really can be used for the first and last miles of a trip. The Deloitte report shows that I will be right up to date with the latest trend.

In the meantime, it still is winter in Indianapolis, and at 10:00 a.m. on a Saturday morning time for my weekly bike ride to the Winter Farmers’ Market, scarcely a mile from my front door. My winter road bike has fenders and a generator-driven light. I could ride on a wide, public trail—an engineer’s delight—all the way from my apartment to within a block of the market, but my preferred route is on public streets with OK paving and easy-going traffic. With backpack and front basket, I make the trip most Saturdays, but this morning I hesitated for reasons not discussed in the Deloitte report—temperature of 34 degrees; snow flurries; and wet streets.

After stepping outside to confirm that the streets were not slick, I layered on my rain clothes and rode to the market. On fall mornings earlier in the season, there sometimes are a dozen or more bikes fastened to the bike stands during the hour I spend at the market shopping, snacking, listening to the music, and talking with people. One recent morning the number of bikes was much reduced, but one of them was a beautiful Santana triple. Today two bikes were fastened to the stand when I arrived. Both were gone when I came back out, but another bike had taken their place.

Staff at the headquarters booth tell me that attendance averages about 1,500 during each three-and-a-half-hour Saturday morning. Like me, people spend their time wandering around among some fifty-five to sixty vendors. Most of them, I am confident, live within six miles of the market, the “shorter journeys” that Deloitte says constitute “nearly three in five private car trips in the United States.” So why don’t people bicycle to the market?

Recent conversations with family and friends provide one answer, that most people have not learned how to ride in traffic or equipped themselves or their bicycles for uses other than casual recreation. For them, new skills and new attitudes would have to be learned. If my wife, who had not bicycled as an adult, were still living, we would drive to the market every week just as most other people do.

I’m all for making bicycling faster, easier, and safer in the ways described in the Deloitte report. I hope that my city, Indianapolis, continues its efforts to improve streets and the cycling infrastructure to encourage an ever-greater number of people to bike instead of drive on short trips—a mile or two, maybe even five or six. Something else, however, also has to be done.

The Deloitte editors conclude their report with a full page entitled “The Bottom Line” in which they state that improving bicycling technology “is only part of the picture . . . The other, equally important part is to support policies and programs that promote bicycling.” They focus attention on two topics: (1) How riding a bicycle, even an e-assist bicycle, can improve health; and (2) How employers can become “involved in shaping healthier commuter habits.”

The report acknowledges that even with these changes in attitude and policy, bicycling will continue to be “only a small fraction of urban transportation modes. Even so, “in terms of impact . . . bicycling can be immensely important” to improving the quality of life in cities like Indianapolis and the well-being of our planet home.


Reading and Writing During 2019

December 31, 2019

In his little book, The Sage’s Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for the Second Half of Life, William Martin offers a description that suits me well: “that quiet older gentleman who sits and drinks his coffee as he writes at the corner table by the window.” Again, in Martin’s words: “That is fine with me” (p. 108).

The purpose of this report written on a cold, windy New Year’s Eve afternoon is to highlight the reading I’ve been doing this year during these long hours sitting by my window. A report on my writing during 2019 may come sometime after the new year begins.

Despite my aging eyes, I still can read extensively and write about what I read. Occasionally the books are on the history, theology, and practice of Christian worship, which was the focus of my academic career, but these books no longer hold my attention as they once did. Instead, I am drawn to books dealing with the intersection of religious practice and public affairs, and to others focused upon the environment, cycling, and biographical studies.

In order to remember and reckon with what I’m reading, I have to take notes, and the more challenging the book, the more important it is to write a careful response. Sometimes these reviews summarize a book’s thesis and plot line as they are colored by how the writer has affected me. Often, these summaries are written as blog posts, about 750 words in length, and sometimes as review essays ranging in length from three or four pages to ten to twelve pages.

I began my blog—keithwatkinshistorian.wordpress.com—in 2010 and one of its primary functions has been the dissemination of these occasional writings. Now and then, one of my review essays appears in Encounter, the theological journal published by Christian Theological Seminary. Although I have been busy enough throughout 2019, this year’s list of reviews is not very long. The yearly average of blog posts since 2010, many of them literature reviews, is 47. In 2018, I posted 19 times, but in the year now closing, the number is down to 11, fewer than one a month. My original plan was to post two 750-word essays per week. Just when I think that it’s time to discontinue the blog, someone writes a response like one I received this week.

A woman who had been one of my fellow travelers on a two-week bicycle trip from Albuquerque to the Grand Canyon and Return in 2010 wrote a comment about one of this year’s blogs in which I posted a summary of a solo cross-country bike ride I had taken in 1999.  Read more. . . .Reading and Writing During 2019


W. E. Garrison’s 117-year-old Bicycling Classic Back in Print

March 29, 2019

Wheeling Through Europe by Winfred Ernest Garrison, republished by Nabu Public Domain Reprints

One hundred seventeen years ago, on April 26, 1900 (p. 534), the following notice appeared in the Christian-Evangelist, a religious news magazine published in St. Louis and distributed to more that 20,000 subscribers  in the United States and Canada:

“Wheeling Through Europe,” by W. E. Garrison, will be ready for delivery by the time this issue reaches our readers. During the summer of 1898 and 1899 the author traveled extensively through England, Scotland, Wales, France, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Italy. All of this touring was done on a bicycle, and he was thus enabled to see Europe as it cannot be seen by the tourist who rushes through the several countries on railway trains. He has written of his travels in a most entertaining and fascinating style. “Wheeling Through Europe” is a beautiful volume of 263 pages, handsomely bound and illustrated with half-tone cuts from photos taken by the author. Price, postpaid, $1.

Most readers of this notice would have been familiar with the travel narratives in this book because they already would have read them. During the summers of 1898 and 1899, as the cyclist-author was taking these two long bicycle journeys, he had sent reports home to his father, J. H. Garrison, owner, publisher, and editor of Christian-Evangelist, who published them in his magazine. Since his father also published books, the young Garrison (he was 24 and 25 years old when he took these “vacations,” as he called them), it was a logical next step to republish these reports as a book.

During the closing years of that century, W. E. was completing his Ph.D. degree at the University of Chicago, and in 1900 his father also published his dissertation entitled “Alexander Campbell’s Theology: Its Sources and Historical Setting.” It too was priced at $1.00.

Garrison had well-developed ideas about traveling by bicycle, as can be seen in the first chapter of Wheeling Through Europe, which carries the title “About Bicycle Touring.” Traveling by bicycle provides “an unrivaled opportunity for seeing the picturesque in nature and observing the life of people out of the beaten path of travel.” You can tailor your travels to do exactly as you please; it can fit your desires. “But don’t forget,” he adds, “that you are out to enjoy everything, sunshine and shower, down hill and up, smooth road and rough. . .If you can be happy only when physically comfortable, then do not risk a bicycle trip, for there will be many hours when there would be more actual comfort in the aforesaid hammock than in pushing a wheel through the sand of a country road or ploughing through the mud in the premature dusk of a rainy day to reach a gloomy inn before it is absolutely dark.”

The bicycle touring that Garrison describes has an easy-going feel to it that obscures the aggressive character of his travel. In a prefatory note Garrison writes that it “may interest wheelmen to know that the exact amount actual bicycling involved in these tours was 6,150 miles.”

I discovered Wheeling Through Europe in the library of Christian Theological Seminary, where I taught, in the early 1970s, read it with great interest, and in recent years have been turning again both to this book and to other bicycle-related travelogues that Garrison wrote. Soon after this book was published, he discontinued his cycling adventures and focused attention on his career as church historian, academic administrator, writer, and multi-talented senior statesman. While he is known for his many accomplishments, Garrison’s early life as remarkable cyclist has been largely overlooked. Not surprisingly, his book published more than a century ago is held by only a small number of libraries.

This summer, to my great surprise and delight, I discovered that Wheeling Through Europe can once again be purchased from online and local bookstores as a Nabu Public Domain Preprint. A note by the publisher explains that the book “may have occasional imperfections such as missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. that were either part of the original artifact, or were introduced by the scanning process.” The new publication enlarges the size of the pages (7.5 x 9.75), and therefore the print is easy to read and photographs are fairly clear. The cover photo is not from the original and is not identified by the reprint publisher. Nabu Press is an imprint of BiblioLife in Charleston, South Carolina.

Winfred Ernest Garrison was born in 1874 and died in 1969 at the age of 94. He was elected president of the American Society of Church History for 1927-28. Among his books are Catholicism and the American Mind (1928); The March of Faith (1933), which describes the role of churches following the Civil War; A Protestant Manifesto (1952); Christian Unity and the Disciples of Christ (1955); and The Quest and Character of a United Church (1957). He is described in The Encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell Movement (2004).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Bicycling from San Diego to St. Augustine

March 21, 2019

Remembering a solo bicycle journey from California to Florida–March to May, 1999

 

East of Safford, Arizona

Twenty years ago this week, on March 18, 1999, I began a solo bicycle trip that began in San Diego and ended nearly two months later in St. Augustine. During the first half of the journey, I cycled for eighteen days and rested two, traveling through the dry lands of California, Arizona, New Mexico, and West Texas for a total mileage of 1,496 miles, averaging 83 miles per day on the days I cycled. At San Antonia I interrupted the bike trip by driving in a rented car to Fort Worth to lead a workshop for ministers.

Returning to San Antonio, I continued cycling through the wet lands of East Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and northern Florida. In fifteen days on my bicycle, I traveled another 1,312 miles, averaging 87 miles, and rested two days. My last night on the road was in Stark, Florida. After attending Mass at a Catholic Church, I rode the final 55 miles, dipped my wheels in the Atlantic Ocean at St. Augustine, and waited for my son to drive up from north of Orlando to take me to his home.

These memories were rekindled on Tuesday of this week—March 19, 2019—when I traveled with my son, who now lives in Fernandina Beach, Florida, to Saint Augustine to wander through the oldest European city in the United States. We had planned to make a three-day bicycle trip there and back, but an unfavorable weather forecast and a chronic sore leg that I am nursing back to health made a one-day trip in his BMW Z4 roadster the better alternative.

We glanced at the ocean along the way on Florida A1A and spent much of our time exploring the Castillo de San Marcos, established nearly 350 years ago to protect Spanish trade routes and the village of St. Augustine, the oldest European settlement in the United States. We also toured the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine which continues the oldest Catholic parish in the United States.

We wandered through the streets in Old Town that have been continuously used since 1572. More like cultural trails than city streets, they were crowded with people walking along, with ancient residential buildings on either side. No automobiles here, only a few bicyclists moving through the walkers as best they could.

A few days before making the trip in 1999, I gave a preview of my plans and purposes to friends at the Surprise-Grand-Bell Rotary Club in Surprise, Arizona. While eating breakfast before I made my speech, a fellow Rotarian, with disbelief in his voice, asked “Why? Why would anyone do such a crazy thing as that?”

Maybe the fact that I was 67 years old and would be riding all alone were reasons for his question. Fortunately, I have preserved a copy of the remarks that morning as I made ready for the longest bike ride of my life.

How better to feel the texture of the southern tier of the United States than to bicycle from San Diego to St. Augustine—from the community where in 1769 Junipéro Serra founded the first of California’s chain of missions to the oldest European settlement in the nation, founded in 1565 by Pedro Menéndez de Avilés. This is the plan I have laid out for me and Bluecycle, my faithful two-wheeled steed, for this spring. We will begin our journey on March 18, the day after the festival honoring St. Patrick, and plan to complete our travels in early May near the day honoring St. Monica, the mother of St. Augustine. Half way through the journey we are to spend a week in Grapevine, Texas, where I am to lecture at a church conference. Read more . . . . . . . Bicycling from San to Saint


Learning how to bicycle farther and faster

July 5, 2018

Ultra-Distance Cycling: An Expert Guide to Endurance Cycling, by Simon Jobson and Dominic Irvine (London and New York: Bloomsbury, 2017)

I became aware of this book when I saw it on display at the public library near my downtown apartment. It is slightly oversize (7.5 by 9 inches) with high-gloss paper and magnificent photos. Although the text is double-columned with small type, the format is reader-friendly.

On the back cover, the publisher states that “this definitive guide provides riders with everything they need to ride longer and faster, and to excel at ultra-distance cycling events.” The book is premised on the fact that “what once was elite is now common place, and today thousands of dedicated riders cycle up to and over 100 miles on ultra-distance rides every week.”

Until picking up this book, I had always associated ultra-distance cycling with events like El Tour de France and Race Across America. The closest I’ve come to that kind of cycling was in 1987 when I rode BAM (Bicycle Across Missouri), 540 miles from St. Louis to Kansas City and back, in 58 hours, sleeping about two hours on each of the two nights. Much easier was RAIN (Ride Across Indiana), a 160-mile ride from Terre Haute on Indiana’s western border to Richmond on the eastern border, which I rode during daylight hours on a Saturday in 1994.

The authors of Ultra-Distance Cycling, however, set the entry line much lower. They include cyclists determined to ride “a very long way, fast,” and able to do at least 160 kilometres (all measurements in the book are given in metric measure), which converts to 100 miles, over a 24-hour period. Across the nation, thousands of ordinary cyclists are able to ride that way, which is demonstrated by the large number of festive century rides that take place every weekend during the cycling season.

Although this book is pitched for cyclists who can ride the much longer, usually competitive events, six of the nine chapters discuss topics that are important even to  the 100-miles per day ultra-riders: (1) Riding Technique; (2) In Balance: Life, Work and Cycling; (3) Diet and Hydration; (4) Equipment; (5) Fitness; and (6) Approach: Developing an Ultra-distance mindset. Three chapters are for the long-distance, competitive cyclists: (7) Sponsorship and PR; (8) Teamwork; and (9) Putting it All Together.

“It is anticipated,” the authors write, “that the reader will dip in and out of the book, trying out the ideas and suggestions made, and then coming back to experiment a bit more.” That’s the way I’m reading it, and at this point have given primary attention to the chapters on riding technique, fitness, and diet and hydration. Much of what the authors say is similar to principles I have worked with across the years. The authors, however, update the information and discuss topics that are becoming the new orthodoxy, such as the conclusion that wider tires with lower pressure are faster than the narrow, very high pressure tires that used to be standard for most “serious” cyclists.

Simon Jobson, the primary writer, is a professor in sport and exercise physiology at the University of Winchester, in the United Kingdom. Dominic Irvine is a competitive cyclist who trained with Jobson and with a partner set a new tandem record for the UK’s “End-to-End” race, 1,365km (848 miles) from Land’s End to John of Groats, riding it in 45 hours, 11 minutes.

One of the most satisfying aspects of this book is that it is written in clear, straight-forward language, with none of the clever, sometimes off-putting descriptions of cyclists other than those to whom the book is addressed. Sometimes, the authors use playful common sense language to state their case.

The chapter on diet and hydration, for example, “combines diet and hydration information…from academic research with advice from the authors’ experiences of ultra-distance cycling. There is, however, no substitute for trying it all out yourself, during training and non-priority cycling.” Later in the paragraph they note that “palatability is as important as the scientific complexities of the event’s nutritional demands. Sports foods are all well and good when the sun is shining and you’ve been on the road for two hours. However, when riding over a mountain top in freezing mist at 4 a. m. after 24 hours of pedalling, all you really want may be a bowl of hot porridge.”

I’ll continue using the library copy of Ultra-Distance Cycling for a few more days, but then I’ll buy a copy for my home collection to refer to in the future and share with others who want to ride farther and faster. Most important, this book will help me as I learn how to become a senior ultra-distance cyclist.


Letting my legs take over the ride

June 15, 2018

legsWith my injured leg muscles well again (thanks to my therapist’s counsel and a winter that stretched into April), it’s time to regain strength in my bicyclist’s legs. The sports medicine doctor assured me that I will be able to continue cycling the way I have done all these years: many miles per day, day after day (age-adjusted, of course).

My sister, a few years younger than I, has invited me to an aggressive ride up Hurricane Ridge Road in the Olympic National Park in celebration of her mid- August birthday. A four-day bike tour of the Columbia River Gorge earlier that month will help me resume this kind of cycling.

My training plan to get ready for these events combines advice from doctors, expert long-distance cyclists, and my own experience as aggressive open road cyclist.

Ride enough miles all year to keep good base strength. For several years, I’ve been cycling about seventy-five miles a week, including one vigorous ride of thirty to forty miles. During this winter of reduced mileage, that base has declined, and now I’m beginning to rebuild. Progress during the past month is encouraging.  

Overtraining does more harm than good. So get your rest days in. This wording comes from an article by Dr. Conan Chittick with IU Health Physicians Family and Sports Medicine. A day of reduced activity after three days of hard activity, he writes, allows muscles to restore and regenerate. At this stage in my recovery, I’m finding that one long, hard ride per week, two or three shorter but vigorous rides and at least one day with no rides at all is a pattern that works. I’m back to seventy-five miles per week and feeling better!

Ride about 10% of your miles, especially on longer rides, at close to maximum effort. This is one of the recommendations that ultra-marathon cyclist Lon Haldeman gives to cyclists who sign up for the challenging tours that he and Susan Notorangelo conduct through their company PAC Tour (Pacific Atlantic Cycle Tours). I’ve done ten of these tours  and know from experience that this guideline works. These short bursts at full power output help legs and lungs learn how to ride that way and gradually all of a cyclist’s miles become faster and overall condition improves.

I don’t keep a close count on these miles; instead, I let the road do the counting. Most routes have hilly sections, even if some are little more than highway and railroad overpasses. Rather than gearing down, I keep pushing and often can ride right through.

Hydrate more. On one of my many several stays in Claremont, California, I was cycling up an easy grade on a lower slope of Mt. Baldy. Twenty minutes into the climb, I stopped to watch a filming crew at work. Standing there, I grew so dizzy that I had to lean on my bike to keep from falling. As soon as I got home, I talked with my doctor (also an experienced road cyclist).

After examining me and finding nothing wrong, he recommended that I wear a water carrier on my back so that I could more easily keep hydrated. On long rides, especially in remote areas I do what he recommended because it is easier to keep the liquid flowing in when the drinking tube is right there by my mouth. On shorter rides, I still depend upon water bottles. The purpose is to keep drinking so that the heart more easily can keep the blood flowing.

“And don’t push so hard; it might be dangerous.” As I was leaving, my doctor added this warning, explaining that no matter how much you train your heart slows down as you grow older. It made sense, partly because on my own I had recognized that I could push too hard. Maybe thirty years earlier, I was climbing legendary Mt. Tabor Hill on the Hilly Hundred cycling event near Bloomington, Indiana. At the top, I nearly passed out and vowed to ease up a little. I also got some lower gears on my bike to help me in the effort.

A corollary to the rule: “There’s no hill too steep to walk.”

Pay attention to muscle memory. On a thirty-mile ride two weeks ago, I realized as I neared home, that my head was telling me “Slow down,” but my legs kept saying “Go!” There are times when pedaling cadence, breathing, and muscle load are in perfect balance and you can go forever, or so it seems. On two or three rides this spring that same feeling has come, and for a few minutes I quit thinking and let my legs take over the ride. The next day, of course, I sit around a lot.