Friday, July 20, 2012
Fresh meat on the bike...
Saturday, July 14, 2012
Jim Harris exited his Jeep and walked towards me with a noticeable limp. Jim is an old friend, a state competitive high school runner from the late 80’s and someone who never stopped loving the sport. He’d gotten a recent diagnosis about arthritis in his hip and had been told that his competitive running days were over. I’d seen a post he’d written on facebook about this and knew how devastated he was. I’d written to him at the time suggesting that it may be time to get on the bike. He’d written back that he needed something and was willing to give it a try. He’d waited a couple of months before contacting me again with serious intent and so we’d scheduled our first ride.
“Okay...none of the fancy equipment, John,” he commented as he began to unload his hybrid cycle from the rack on the back of his vehicle. He was wearing running shorts, a cotton t-shirt and was without riding gloves, shoes or a cycling water bottle. At least he had a helmet.
“Well...some of the fancy stuff is quite helpful...like the shorts and a decent water bottle. I’ll lecture you more on that once we’re riding,” I said.
He’d written that he was thinking of riding between 20-30 miles and I’d replied that I typically double such requests and add 10 miles. If he was worried, he didn’t show it. I suppose he didn’t know enough to realize that I wasn’t kidding. I had him suck my wheel since I had the superior bike and conditioning on my side though he had fantastic genetic gifts, good conditioning, youth and a competitive nature.
I took him on my Waite Hill course, determined to show him the beauty of the countryside, but with some challenging riding. He’d appreciate the workout...he’s cut that way...and everyone likes scenery on their rides.
He was on my wheel for the first hour of the ride, but when we went down a steep hill shortly after and I opened a gap on him, I decided to surge up the hill on the other side. As I gained the crest, I looked over my shoulder to see him far below. I slowed and waited for him to close the distance.
“Man...I slowed coming down that hill and when I turned the corner, you were gone,” he said.
“I’ve been riding a little longer than you, Jim, and with The Rocket under me…I can climb,” I said.
We reached Wilson Mills hill and I offered some advice on how to ride it. “It’s steep and you’ll be flying, but there’s plenty of room to stay in your lane because the curves are gradual. Don’t touch your brakes. See you at the bottom,” I said as a sprinted away.
I flew down the hill over 550 mph and he was but a dot in my rearview mirror. I waited for him to catch me.
“That…was…awesome!” he said. And it was.
We finished the ride and talked about what he needed to do next. I had him try John’s bike to compare the difference between a road and a hybrid. He could see what I was talking about simply from a quick ride to the corner and back.
“It won’t seem like a good substitute for running right away, Jim, but give it time. You ride three to four weeks consistantly, and you’ll not only have that same good, exhausted feeling you get from running, but you’ll also be hooked. I won’t say you won’t miss running…you will…but you’ll be in great shape and be looking for new challenges for your riding. They’re out there so give it a chance.”
Bike Duration: 1 hour 50 minutes.
Training Heart Rate: 120 bpm.
Calories burned during workout: 2300.