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Racing your bike Part #2 Middle of the Pack – now what?

Part 2:  OK, you now can survive a race, hopefully you learned to draft and conserve so you can see the finish line with the rest of the herd.  If you came into racing with a strong cycling background, it is possible that you won races, went right to the front of the pack, towed everyone around and still won.  This is good and bad, good cause it is fun, bad cause you probably didn’t learn much so you might still be the same skill level as when you started.  This can come back to bite you now that you are riding up at the next level.

For normal people, you spend time getting strong enough to survive, now you want to try to go for a mid race prime (prize) or see if you can finish in the top 1/3 of the results.  You have enough strength and skill to survive, now you just need to use it smartly to best the others in your group.  This is where reading the pack really comes to the fore.  Here are some basics to live by:

1.  Only move up when it is slow and try to find a wheel to get you up the pack instead of doing it yourself.

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My Favorite Zone

February 17, 2009

by Dan Harm

 

I really don’t know where the past four months of InCycle has disappeared to. Yesterday, as I was doodling in my calendar all the things I had to do this week, I realized that there is only a little over a month of InCycle left. Yes, I know; I shouldn’t get too upset since InCycle is going to be offered in the Spring and Summer and on and on into the years to come. But, regardless, I get nostalgic about eventual endings.

It’s not just for InCycle. Even in College I remember I would get a little sad towards the end of the quarter. My peers thought I was crazy because they were excited as all hell to be done with school. Yet, my feelings towards each of my classes ending was a mixture of excitement about moving onto the next step, and of a sentimental appreciation for the enjoyable learning journey I had ventured.

I felt the same way when I worked at an Art school for gifted high schoolers. At the end of the year I knew the seniors would slip away into the folds of the big world. I knew they were ready, I knew they had learned so much, and that I had been a part of what they had learned. But, even though I was so excited to see these former high schoolers find their place in the world, I was still filled with hints of sadness, for next year I would not see their faces roaming the hallways and book shelves.

The same holds true for InCycle. All the people in InCycle have become familiar faces to me. I know what hobbies they like, what they do for a living, how their kids and pets are doing, how their daily lives are going. They are all interesting and lively people who share two of my life passions: riding bikes and staying healthy.

Every class I see improvement in their skills, technique, and most of all fitness. Even though I have no trouble seeing the physical improvement of InCycle members, for some reason it is still hard for some of them to see it for themselves. Many still have doubts about how much they have improved.

Having doubts about one’s self can be very useful, for it prevents complacency and promotes an eternal search for advancing one’s self. But, there comes a point when an individual must applaud their achievements and be proud of the hard work done.

Throughout the course of four months InCycle members have gone from barely being able to hold zone 3 for a five minute intervals, to being able to hit Zone 5 for seven minutes. If this is not a clear indication of progression, then I don’t know what is. When we did our first Zone 5 interval in InCycle, all the members were shocked. Many of them said they had never hurt so badly and that they were disappointed with their average watts. To this I answered: “Look at it this way: Four months ago you could not have even attempted Zone 5 for seven minutes. Now, you just did it.”

Me being witness to over 120 people improving their lives by riding a bike and staying healthy is quite a reward. I know next year I will most likely see a lot of familiar faces at InCycle. There will also be a lot of new faces as well. Each class is different. Changes and endings are inevitable. Lives change, people move around, and, as we all know, every good time must come to an end.

Yes, it is hard to accept change. But, as InCycle draws to an end next month I at least know that deep down inside every-one’s favorite Zone is Zone 5. And this is what moves me onwards.