Cycling Contemplations

About

edge n
Vigor or energy especially of body.
Keenness or intensity of desire or enjoyment.
A favorable margin.
edge v
To move or force gradually.
To defeat by a small margin.

I’m a cyclist who happens to enjoy writing. Garmin says I’m faster than 73% of men in my age, but I regularly get dropped nonetheless, and keep working on improving. Occasionally I’ll write up about my experience here.

How did I get into cycling?

I always cycled, from about early school age, but never in any serious capacity. What got me into road cycling, and treating the sport seriously, was triathlon. We signed up for a sprint-distance relay race—me, my wife and sister in law—and I got to do the cycling segment, so I bought a road bike and started training.

In primary school I was the second-last guy selected for teams in physical education classes. Slow, slightly overweight, clumsy. Funny thing is, the last guy today is running marathons and I’m a half-IronMan finisher, while many of the top guys from the old days walk around with beer bellies. Things change.

What happened between my sports-deficient childhood and my early thirties was I met my wife, who turned me onto healthy eating, living, poked me into joining a gym, building some muscles, getting fit. By the time she proposed we sign up for that first race, I was ready for it.

Eventually I had to drop triathlon, because my legs didn’t enjoy running as much as I did, and kept getting injured, but I keep on cycling.

What am I aiming for?

Fun. First and foremost. I came to love physical activity and I adore the freedom of road cycling—the distance I can cover in relatively short time, the countryside views on the road, and the mesmerizing hum of asphalt zooming past the narrow strip of rubber on my wheels.

Cycling is a form of meditation—a long, intense, focused experience, where I can be with myself, here and now, with nothing else in the world existing than the present moment. It’s also a natural group activity, where I get to regularly ride with other bicycle aficionados. We race each other and we help each other reach the finish line together.

Yes, I want to have better results. Be a little faster with each ride—that’s what the trainings are for. But it’s most important for me that I finish a ride in good shape, so that I can enjoy every moment of it, and the celebrations afterwards.

Why am I blogging about it?

Writing is a great way to clarify thinking. It’s linear (unlike the brain’s workings), and in order for a piece of text to make sense, I need to get my train of thought in order. Find gaps, inconsistencies and remove them. It helps me reason analyze my cycling experience, draw better conclusions and, hopefully, get better results.

Publishing my writing carries a slim chance of someone knowledgeable contributing—answering some of the questions I’m raising, proposing better ways of training and competing. I’m not expecting much of an audience here, but I’ll welcome any comments and corrections.

Lastly, I’ve seen enough people get into cycling, or other sports, or just getting more active, after they’ve seen others like them do it. By publishing here I may be able to inspire someone to get off their buttocks and get in shape.

What am I going to blog about?

Whatever I consider meaningful for the sport and a general audience. My heart rate in one specific training is not meaningful, but an analysis of my performance throughout a month or quarter could be. A book review, considerations in choosing gear, race plans, results, conclusions, etc.