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Last night, as I was reading before bed winding down the day, I read a great article in one of my favorite cycling magazines, Bicycle Times. I'm happy to say that we now carry Bicycle Times and it's sister publication, Dirt Rag.
The cool thing about Bicycle Times is that it is just about riding bikes. There isn't a word about professional bike racing and the bikes that they spotlight are usually steel, oftentimes are commuter or cargo type bikes, and weight is never mentioned. No, their focus is on riding for fun, health, and transportation. These are things I look at the bike for as well.
Now, don't get me wrong, I love bike racing. I love racing my bike. I love watching other people much better than me racing bikes. But, my day to day enjoyment of bikes tends to be of the commuter variety, hauling more stuff than I probably should, and focusing on getting from point A to point B. Also, I must frankly and openly state: My name is Shawn and I love steel bikes. Hi, Shawn!
So imagine my surprise when I see my entire training ethos laid bare for all to see in the pages of Bicycle Times. There was a bona fide article about getting fit for racing, but with a severe twist. No mention of heart rate or wattage. No mention of numbers at all. The article was simply about how in order to do better, you had to overextend yourself. It all boiled down to this nugget of wisdom, "Think of it this way: what if you had stopped looking for more challenging reading material at Hop on Pop? You just read Hop on Pop every day for weeks and months and years, expecting to get better at reading, but instead you ended up having the literacy level of a four-year-old... for life. That's how it is with training on the bike: you have to overextend yourself occasionally to have breakthroughs and move forward." (from Boiling the Frog, a Boston Commuter Journal by Thom Parsons, Bicycle Times, Issue 021, pgs. 20-21)
Moving forward this riding season, we have been brainstorming ways to tailor different group rides to different groups of riders. One of the things we will be presenting at our Spring Fling this Saturday is the structure of the weekly group rides. Our goal is to have at least one group ride that suits your ability level, no matter what. However, there will be another group ride each week that will push you to overextend yourself. How about taking on that challenge?