Well, Lets take a look at what should be called “the good, the bad, and the ugly” before turning the page and centering all focus on moving forward. As I was reading Tim’s season recap and learning how he stood with the lofty goals he set for himself at the onset of this cycling season, it got me curious about if (1.) had I even set any goals for myself?; and (2.) if so, how did I look after the fact?
I have really talked about this enough, so this will be the last time … I missed way too much time on the bike this year for multiple reasons and even considered quitting at one moment. The ugliest part of not riding consistently has to be the loss of friendship time. I ride as much solo as I do with groups, but some of my fondest memories in life (excluding family milestones & moments), are those that I’ve made on my bicycle and the best ones are always shared when I ride with others! The other part of my goals for 2015 that’s ugly is that while I did have big aspirations to complete various new ride events, I really had no expectations or personal goals that I would set out to achieve. Unfortunately, I am wired to perform much better when I have something to aim for and I hold myself much more accountable when it’s in writing.
I set a pre-season cycling schedule of 15 organized events and managed to actually ride in only 2 of them. In April, I rode in the annual Redbud Ride in London, Ky but only completed the 70-something mile route because the weather forecast called for severe storms by 2pm and I didn’t think I could complete the century route in time. In October, I rode in the second annual RAM Cycling Oktoberfest ride and had a blast with friends again. This was my favorite ride in the 2015 season. This ride leads me to …..
I finally set a couple of goals with encouragement from the Renaissance Man at the end of August when my yearly mileage sat stagnant near 1400 miles total. I have already achieved both of those goals by breaking 2000 miles and completing my first century of the year when I rode 102 miles on some of my favorite roads on October 15! I already changed my mileage goal to 2500, and may break it in November if the weather permits. Probably the best part of the good, is that I have already set a lofty personal goal for 2016, and it includes Assault on Mt. Mitchell again! Can’t wait.
Please do stay tuned as Renaissance Man noted in his recap, for we have big news coming on multiple fronts and we fully intend to bring all of our friends and followers a much more involved experience here at RAM Cycling as we roll into the off season in anticipation of the next cycling season! Please also remain tuned in for my planned 2016 cycling schedule as I will be releasing it before the year end
Consider the page turned and all focus clearly centered on moving forward! @KPtheMasher
Goal #4 – Ride 4,000+ miles
We just wanted to give a shout out to our great friends that were able to join us for our 2nd annual RAM Cycling Oktoberfest bicycle ride!! Huge thanks to Bena, Steph, Linn, Adam, Oleg, Phil, and Bryan for cruising a beautiful 64 mile route through the bluegrass region/horse farm country of Kentucky with Tim and me!!
The route departed and finished in downtown Georgetown, ventured through portions of Fayette, Woodford, Franklin, and Scott counties, with many miles rolling along the Elkhorn Creek. The weather was a little true to the new fall season and started out very chilly, but gradually warmed nicely providing a sun filled sky and a gentle breeze that had little affect on our pace.
We continued the tradition of giving away bourbon for an extra-stellar performance by having another friendly competition, this time collecting points at county line sprints. There were a total of 5 county line signs (2 others were omitted for safety reasons) that some of us attempted to be the first to cross, but at the end of the ride, we had a three way tie for most points. Not having a good tiebreaker rule in place (after all, it’s just for good fun), Adam was kind enough to mention he had received a winner’s fifth of bourbon at last year’s event and he suggested the others tied should get it this year. So the winners of a fifth of Makers Mark bourbon were Oleg and Bena, and keeping in tradition, all the cyclists that rode got to sign each bottle.
Thanks again friends, for making Oktoberfest a very enjoyable and memorable ride! It has been a great group ride to somewhat wind down the last two cycling seasons heading into the time of year with cold temps, unpredictable weather, and less daylight. The camaraderie at the event is awesome and we encourage all our RAM friends to consider joining us for this ride next fall!
The days are becoming shorter, the air is getting cooler, and a new season has officially arrived. With autumn, comes the opportunity for some beautiful scenery and easier cycling rides thanks to the cooler, lighter air than the heavy, thick heat and humidity associated with summer. However, cycling in the fall season also comes with a few new hazards.
The squirrels and chipmunks are scurrying about the roadways much more frequently as they attempt to stock up food for the following season. Watch out, they can be very dangerous to cyclists riding on the road. It happens to also be called fall season, and for good reason because many other road cycling hazards happen to be falling. Walnuts, hedge apples, acorns, and of course, tree leaves are just some of the objects to be aware of when riding a bicycle on the roads.
is traffic. In beautifully landscaped areas that cyclists love to ride in, such as the Smoky and Appalachian mountains, Red River Gorge, Blue Ridge Parkway, and other similar places, many other folks love to see Mother Nature at work, but in a motor vehicle. As is always the case, they’re not always watching out for people on bikes, and many of these roads have plenty of blind corners and hills. So just be aware of the possibility for more than usual traffic.
Another hazard is the weather, of course. Trying to figure out what to wear as the temps are transitioning can be a true challenge, especially on days when you may plan to cycle longer routes. The air temperature can change up to 40 degrees over the course of a long ride in our area of the country, so it’s important to protect yourself from over-chilling or over-heating.
Some quick tips for autumn cycling: dress in layers, and don’t be afraid to take them off or put them on to maintain your comfort on the bicycle (you want your body to feel comfortably cool, not hot or cold); continue to eat and drink as much as you would on a summer ride, it’s always important to stay hydrated and keep your energy level up; stay dry, getting wet when temps are cooler will make any ride miserable and can lead to hypothermia, plus wet roads are much more dangerous with all the fallen debris and animals; use lighter or even clear sunglasses on rides when there is limited sunlight; use front and rear lights on your bicycle to help you to be seen in low-light times.
The autumn season can be a very beautiful and comfortable time of year to ride a bicycle, so get out and continue to ride as much as possible, just be aware of some of the changing hazards that come with the season. Watch out for these hazards and keep the bike upright. Don’t let yourself become the namesake of the season!
It’s been an up and down year for my cycling, no doubt. I started off ready, willing, and able but shortly into the spring season I found some obstacles that slowed me down. In early summer I overcame a few struggles and fully hoped to get going steady again, however as July passed, I only managed to ride once the entire month. Trying to get some momentum again in August, I resorted to a tactic that I’m comfortable with, and at this point, I’m not ashamed to admit that I was ready to do whatever it takes to get back on my bike for good. So I committed to return to Assault On Mt. Mitchell in 2016, and immediately, my passion has returned. And with it, came my motivation and renewed consistency.
Before I can move on mentally, I feel as though I owe a few folks an apology for missing in action (though I’m sure these folks don’t feel it’s owed to them). So without further ado and in no particular order …
First to Tim, the Renaissance Man, sorry I haven’t been there as much this year to support your continued transformation and the beginning of your triathlon career. I’ve certainly missed the great conversation on our rides! Next, to Chris Big Dawg Schmidty, I’m sorry it took me 9 months to get down for a ride with you. For the last 3 years you’ve showed up at nearly every ride I invited you to and I’ve missed riding with you for so many reasons.
To the mass of close friends that I ride with regularly, either at a club ride, century challenge event, small local group ride, or the occasional one on one rides with St. Onge, Madara, Allran, Linn, Toby or anyone else, I’m truly sorry we haven’t gotten to bond on the bike this year. And last but not least, I owe myself an apology for not staying committed to one of my life’s greatest passions.
It it feels great to have renewed energy and be back to regular cycling. I’m very excited to reconnect with all my close cycling friends as soon as possible, in fact I hope all of you can show up for our annual RAM Cycling Oktoberfest ride next month. I’m also very excited to make up ground on my training through the off-season and get back to the Appalachians next May for AOMM and I look to PR once again on the mountain! I don’t use any mirrors on my bicycle, so now that my apologies are out of the way, I’m not looking back any more. The only thing that matters is moving forward and that’s exactly what I’m doing on my bike! Again.
Sincerely, KP masher