Mixing it up

Every fall I swear I’m going to start running. Even though I tend to grimace during the summer when I pass runners slogging along, sweating profusely as their shiny white sneakers hit the hot pavement, I always change my tune by September. Maybe that does look like fun… Truth be told, I end up donning my sneakers a few times, and by the end of November I’m back to living vicariously through a friend who competes in the marathon circuit.

But before I fully submit to the trainer this year, I decided to loosely follow a 5k training plan to help correct any leg imbalances from cycling, and to give a few other activities a try. Continue reading

The pain cycle

Pick up a cycling magazine or drop yourself in the middle of any pack of young male cyclists and you’ll hear this message loud and clear: to make the most gains in this sport, you have to push yourself as far as you can, and then repeat. I went in to the sport living this mantra, and boy did I work my ass off. I showed up at group rides, the only B rider, and was forced to hang on to the wheels of the jet engine A group. On the mountain bike, I put in full days with a group of guys, forcing myself to dig into the red zone until my hamstrings couldn’t take it anymore. And on my road bike, I trained for an ambitious first century, one with 8,000 feet of climbing in the sweltering August heat.

Am I crazy? Looking back, I’m beginning to think so. Continue reading

Jersey Girl

I’m running out of closet space. When I finally did a massive overhaul of the contents of my walk-in closet, I discovered that for the dozen or so skirts and dresses, there are nearly 40 bike jerseys, pairs of spandex shorts, and mountain bike baggies. Starting at 60 bucks a pop, it’s hard not to imagine the sandy beach my hibernating body could be defrosting on right now or the month closer to my retirement party I could be.

But looking at the looming stacks of spandex and zippers is like enjoying a photo album. Each jersey tells a story. My first jersey, emblazoned with the green Brooklyn Brewery label, came from my first bike show in NYC (“70 bucks for a jersey. That’s crazy!”). At the show, I mingled with shop owners and company reps, slid my fingers over all-carbon components, and talked to fellow riders as I was suddenly hooked on bike culture. Continue reading

Crossing over: CX at Brewery Ommegang

Mud, beer, cowbells….suffering. These are the elements of a great cyclocross race. And NYCROSS‘s annual race at Brewery Ommegang delivered a healthy dose of all four. We’ve had the course on our “must do” list for years, so we finally rounded up a couple of friends and headed to Cooperstown on Sunday. Rob and Chad decided to give cross racing a try (“It’s only a half hour, how tiring can it be?”). They quickly found out that what the course lacked in mud, it made up for in the amount of suffering it inflicted. One steep climb quickly split the pack and an off cambre turn dumped riders at the foot of a set of barriers. Continue reading

A dollar and a dream

It all started when my grandma stopped for a garage sale. The woman could spot a bargain a mile away, and this particular find was perhaps the best dollar she ever spent. She brought it home that day, sent it halfway across the country, and suddenly it was mine.

At just a few years old, I opened the box, pulling out the shiny, bright red tricycle. It was plastic with three jumbo black wheels, complete with fenders and a set of long, silver handlebars. The seat was just the right size, and I did no less than twenty laps around the dining room table that night. The next day, I raced around the driveway, enjoying the sound of the thick wheels crunching on pavement as I quickly pedaled around the sharp turns. Taking the bike down small hills, I felt my stomach giggle on each dip, and I even let my stuffed animals take turns riding shotgun. Continue reading