Editorial by Tom Demerly.
Man, I'll tell you what. It's here, or at least, right
around the corner
It is about time. This
winter has been hard in every way, and I don't just
mean the cold and snow. As I write this the mercury
is climbing, the forecast is being revised upward and
the sun is shining. Each day is a few precious seconds
longer than the previous.
So here is your springtime
lecture, I give it every year, it never really changes:
First, if you've only ridden 70 miles per week
(which, realistically is quite a bit) on your indoor trainer
then resist the urge to do all of the mileage this weekend on
Saturday and/or Sunday. Increasing your mileage too fast will
cause saddle problems, increase the likelihood of soft tissue
injuries and tax your recovery system further exposing you to
cold and other infections. Please increase your mileage gradually
and keep your early rides easy, even if you have been raging
on the Compu-Trainer. Keep early rides moderate in distance
and intensity. Getting a cold at this time of year can take
valuable weeks to recover from. You don't need that now.
Second, keep your knees covered. It never fails,
the temperature goes above 55 and someone decides they want
to ride shorts. At the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs
there was a rule that we were not allowed to ride outside with
bare knees below 70 degrees Fahrenheit. There is minimal warm,
arterial blood flow to the area surrounding your knees and the
connective tissues are large, close to the surface and fragile.
They are sensitive to extreme temperature changes. Try this:
Put your palm on your thigh and leave it there. Feels warm doesn't
it? Now put your palm over your kneecap and do the same. Hmmm,
feels a good bit cooler, especially at first. That's because
the blood flow is not as active around the bony kneecap as it
is in the power muscle groups above and below your knees. Wear
knee warmers, tights or leg warmers. Ignore the top pros in
Europe doing the early season classics in shorts. They have
their legs covered in layers of "weather guard" salve
and "hot cream" that protects their legs from the
elements. So, in effect, their legs are covered too. They also
have thousands of miles in them. Keep your knees covered. Very
Third, Remember: There are cars out there. Motorists
armed with cell phones, carry-out food, in-car GPS units, CD
players and chatty passengers are not yet acclimated to having
skinny people dressed in lycra zipping along the road and in
and out of the shoulder. They will kill you and feel sorry later.
Be proactive. "Preact" to developing traffic situations.
Stick to routes you know during low traffic volumes. Maintain
a high degree of situational awareness at all times and for
God's sake, wear your helmet.
Fourth, I can virtually guarantee you your bike
needs work. You call it a hassle, I call it pay day. Chances
are you haven't done any bike maintenance in months, even if
the bike has been on the indoor trainer. I can't promise you
you'll "beat the rush", it's too late- it already
started. But, if you get your bike in here now we will have
it up and running, well maintained, tuned and safe, within a
few days most likely. Better now than later
and, a ounce
of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Yesterday a guy doing
Ironman Wisconsin brought his bike in for a tune-up. His frame
was broken in not one, but three places. We're not talking little
hairline cracks, we're saying full-on San Andreas Fault fractures
in this guy's bike. Now he enters warranty hell. Where was he
six weeks ago?
Fifth, Do something new on your bike this year.
If you are a triathlete then join a group ride. For the first
time this year we will be doing group rides from our store.
Bring your helmet and be prepared to sign a waiver. Get a book
like Eddie Boryswicz's "Bicycle Road Racing" and learn
about riding in groups, the etiquette, conventions and safety
techniques used in this subtle, high speed dance. If you only
do club/group rides think about trying a time trial race. Not
a racer? Don't worry, this is racing for people who aren't racers.
It is safe and the only adversary is the clock (and yourself-
the hardest competitor you'll ever know). You will riding by
yourself and get a honest gauge of your fitness level. The French
call this even the "Contre le Montre" or "Race
of Truth" because there is no place to hide.
And finally, take a moment- or several actually,
no, make that every day; to consider how incredibly fortunate
we are in the grand scheme of things to enjoy vigorous exercise,
health, fitness, good equipment, fun rides and great times.
So few people have this privilege in the grand scheme of things.
We are the favored minority.
See you in here soon. Be careful out there, and
keep your knees covered!
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