A Ride On The Legacy Trail
Sep 2011 12

This past week, Renaissance & Masher decided to pick up the pace a little and enjoy a round trip tour from downtown Georgetown to downtown Lexington via the, newly opened last fall, Legacy Trail. Our typical weekday rides consist of a twenty to thirty mile loop, depending on the heat index, and time of ride start. The trek from home to the end of The Legacy Trail is a 35 total mile trip, and with daylight beginning to last shorter as the days go by, we had to take our average pace from 14-15 mph up to 16 mph in order to finish the ride safely before night fall.

I think we both enjoyed the boost in speed, it’s nice to progress in a training regimen from time to time. Whether we are enjoying a typical loop with our weekly time trial, or a hilly route, or just a relaxing recovery ride, we are always training for a grand ride. We mostly train for century (100 mile) rides, but another big ride coming up in October will be our second annual GABRAKY ride, which will consist of 225 miles over a Friday through Sunday weekend. Training for century rides includes riding distances typically ranging from 20-65 miles, sometimes on flat courses and sometimes on tougher hilly roads. We focus on speed, endurance, proper nutrition and hydration, and base miles. These training skills are necessary to complete century rides, especially considering many of the summer rides reach temperatures over 100.

You don’t have to be an avid cyclist to enjoy the new local path, The Legacy Trail. In fact, you don’t even have to be a cyclist. The trail is open to walkers, runners, and all types of bicycles. Renaissance & Masher rode on the Legacy Trail many times last winter when we couldn’t get off work in time to beat the daylight, and didn’t want to chance our lives on the roads with vehicles after dark. We would turn on the spotlights and tail lights and go get our 16 miles in on the trail, sometimes dodging others with the same idea. We rode in the rain, freezing rain, snow, wind, dark, and sometimes I thought is it really worth it? It was without a doubt, worth every mile we gained. The beautiful thing about cycling is that, unlike some other forms of exercise, there is not nearly the level of suffering through the workout. With some exercise routines, the best part is when you finish, however, for Renaissance & Masher, the ride is always the best part, whether it’s a 20 mile leisure loop or a century ride at a heat index of 110.

I highly recommend to anyone who would like to feel better, to give the Legacy Trail a chance. Whether you want to ride, walk, or run, we are all welcome to participate at our own pace and intensity level, for any distance we wish to achieve, and all free from the hustle and bustle of traffic. Please be courteous of other users, though, and do not stop in the middle of the path. If you need a break, or stop to talk to passers by, or just stop to enjoy scenery, kindly step off the path to keep others moving safely! The Legacy Trail boasts some beautiful scenery, long flat winding sections, to gently rolling terrain, modern bridges, interesting art work on the path, and much, much more. RAM Cycling is trying to get a Sunday afternoon ride scheduled with friends in the very near future. With the rides we are already committed to, it looks as though it will probably be sometime in late September, but once we get it started, we hope to make it a monthly routine. Keep your eyes open for the first RAM Cycling ride on the Legacy Trail, coming soon. But don’t feel like you have to wait on us to get a group together, get on out there and enjoy an awesome path without the scares of busy traffic infested roads. Enjoy the Legacy Trail today!

Constant Goals Focus is Necessary
Dec 2011 08

I began road cycling in 2006, and have ventured somewhere between 15,000 & 20,000 total miles on a bike since that first ride on my dad’s Trek hybrid. I challenge myself to stay in shape year round, and complete century rides throughout the riding season, however this year is the first time I ridden more than one century in a single year, having completed 3. I enjoy the time I spend on my bike, and thoroughly look forward to any challenging ride, it helps me motivate myself to train a little harder in preparation. Recently, I was thinking as the 2011 season begins to wind down, now is a great time to set some goals for next year. So many folks, myself included, wait until New Years Day to start trying to achieve new goals, and our thought process behind this idea is that we can waste all of our hard fought effort to be healthy for the first ten or eleven months out of the year, and just be a slob around the holidays. After all, it’s cold, wet, dark earlier, etc. All good reason to slow down on exercise, and pig out on the season’s comfort foods, right?

The answer to that question is, as one of my drill instructors at Parris Island notoriously repeated to us, “Not only no, but oh hell NO!” In fact, it is as simple as efficiency! In this day and age, with so much focus on people to make use of their time wisely, and use products that are highly energy efficient, taking care of  our body is no different. I know in my line of work, a couple of simple techniques: never set your heating and air unit thermostat more than six degrees away from where you intend to run the unit when you are at home, because it kills the efficiency of the unit trying to play catch up when you thought you were conserving, it actually uses more energy to get back to normal operation and causes more wear and tear than needed. Likewise, it makes little to no sense to heat water in a storage tank, and keep reheating until you are ready to use it, and then hope you have enough, when the technology is now available to heat your water on demand using less energy and never run out. Well we can get so much better results out of our workouts and stay healthy if we utilize these same concepts, and just like professional athletes, stay in shape throughout the off season.

The reason so many “New Years Resolutions” fail, is simple. We dig our hole too deep in the months leading up to that day when it is supposed to suddenly automatically change for us. In reality, yes our bodies do need an off season, but that doesn’t mean to shut it down 100% and lose focus on what you are truely trying to achieve in life. I propose that goal setting is essential to surviving the down time in the off season, and the more regular you can stay healthy, the more efficient your body will remain. Maintaining constant focus on your goals is necessary to achieve them! Also, it is important to set new ones as you reach your current goals, and don’t get discouraged if you have a minor set back in your routine, understand that any set back is only as temporary as you allow it to be. The better you stay focused, the better chance you have to not only achieve, but exceed your goals.

Having said all that, now it’s time to follow through! The warm riding season is officially over, I think it left with daylight savings time, so let the off season begin. What are my goals? I have given serious thought to these, and a couple are very lofty, but I feel like I’m ready for some tough ones, because I’m not going to let all of my 2011 fitness and shape go down the drain over the holidays, like I normally do. This year I’m getting a jump start on the next season, there is no better day to set out to achieve your goals than today! So today, I begin the path towards Masher’s 2012 Cycling Goals:

1. PARTICIPATE IN AT LEAST ONE BLUEGRASS CYCLING CLUB RIDE PER WEEK. I did this a few years ago, riding mostly with the folks in Frankfort out of Capital City Cycles, and it improved my speed and stamina greatly. The club offers rides every day of the week in different locations, so I can’t use work as an excuse, if I miss Monday, I still have 5 days to get to one!

2. PARTICIPATE IN AT LEAST ONE BIG GROUP RIDE PER MONTH. Most of these will be charity or fundraiser rides, and will allow me to visit different places and ride on new roads. April through October is the bulk of the riding season, and there are plenty of rides to find. I will.

3. COMPLETE THE RAIN RIDE WITH MY CYCLING COMPANION, THE RENAISSANCE MAN! RAIN Ride stands for ride across Indiana, it is a one day trek of about 160 miles one way across the Hoosier State. We talked about it this year, but were at Panama City Beach on vacation. The most miles I’ve ridden in a single day is about 115, and it felt like enough at the time. I will need to be in top shape to complete it.

4. LOSE FIFTY POUNDS. I know that sounds like a lot, but it’s where I need to be, where I want to be, where I will be.

5. INFORM MORE PEOPLE ABOUT RAM CYCLING AND ADD AT LEAST 5 NEW BIKES TO THE IMMEDIATE AREA. This one has nothing to do with my personal fitness, it has everything to do with my passion for cycling and how Renaissance Man & Masher intend to raise cycling awareness. This will always be on my goals list, hopefully, the others will get checked off and replaced about this same time next year.

*Masher

CYCLING GEAR: Winter Season
Jan 2012 06

The information in this post may be a week or even a month overdue, however it is vital to surviving the cold weather on a bicycle. If you are anything like me, only so much time on the trainer, indoor bike, and/or treadmill is tolerable. Sure it’s a great way to stay in shape through the off season, but it doesn’t compare to the fun and freedom of being on the open road.

Luckily, there is gear available that will not only protect you from the elements of winter, but even enhance your riding experience throughout the year. I was fortunate enough to visit Norway twice while serving in the U.S. Marines, and the cold weather survival training I experienced as a result of those trips gave me a leg up on how to cycle in the winter. Utilizing the tips I will share with you, don’t be afraid to get outside and keep cycling through the dead of winter.

WINTER CYCLING TIPS:

1. Eat, Eat, Eat

2. Drink, Drink, Drink

3. Sleep, Sleep, Sleep

4. Layers

5. Protect Extremities

6. Maintain Comfortably COOL

7. Use The Buddy System

 

First, and foremost, your body needs more energy in the winter to keep you going, therefor you need considerably more rest while consuming more food and water. Hydration is just as important in cold weather as in hot, and naturally you need more stored energy to burn to keep you warm, hence eat more.

Clothing should be kept simple, and are similar to summer cycling gear, with a few added layers. Closest to your body needs to be covered with a base layer of a tight wicking material to keep moisture off your body because you will sweat. I recommend poly propylene, this layer includes your head and feet. The next layer should be an insulating layer, but not too thick, and needs to be a breathable material such as polar fleece or wool. Finally, your outer most layer is your shield from the elements. This is a layer that will protect you from the wind, rain, snow or sleet, and gore tex is a great material for this. Full finger gloves, polar shoe covers, and insulating head wear covering ears are all a must. The extremities tend to get colder first, and can make you miserable if not properly protected. Remember, maintain a Comfortably Cool body temperature, not cold, warm, or hot. The last three will certainly lead to frost bite, hypothermia, and/or dehydration and overheating. Allow your layers to vent or simply remove and replace as needed. Listen to your body!

The last basic tip I can offer to help you continue cycling outdoors through the winter season is to do it with a friend. Your layers, when worn properly, will protect you whether you are moving or not, but in the event of an unexpected stop, it is always better to have an extra set of eyes to monitor. Another general rule of thumb to go by is try to avoid riding when precipitation is expected, for example rain, sleet, or snow, for obvious reasons. Keep it safe, check on your riding buddy often, just to make sure all riders are comfortably cool. Also, beware of salt crystals on the roadway for snow melting, as this is nearly as bad as riding over glass, not to mention, what it does to dry out and clog up your chain and cranks.

So get on out there, with your winter gear, rest, stored energy, and fully hydrated of coarse, and keep right on rolling through the depth of winter on your bicycle! I recommend centering your focus on time on the bike, base mileage, not speed and long distances. Keep it simple, keep your butt and legs in shape, and enjoy a spring season with less pain of getting back in bicycling shape.

*Masher

A Glance At The Past, & A View Of The Future
Jan 2012 13

Wow, time certainly flies and I can’t believe 2011 is now history. Well, it was a memorable year, one that helped me find focus on cycling again, after a great finish to 2010. We recently posted short blogs by Renaissance Man & Masher with their Goals for 2012, but we have yet to publish the Goals for RAM Cycling, until now.

First, let’s reflect on the awesome happenings by RAM Cycling in 2011, then we can take a look at where the road leads for 2012 and beyond. Some simple, but important events accomplished by Renaissance & Masher in ’11:

*   First century ride of the year (first ever for Renaissance Man) was the “Wheels O’ Fire” in Hamilton County, Georgia on April 2, 2011

*   The idea of RAM Cycling first came to light on a Renaissance & Masher shared spring break vacation at Jacksonville Beach, FL during the week following that 1st century ride

*   Our second century ride of the year was “Horsey Hundred” in Georgetown, KY on Memorial Day weekend 2011

*   RAM Cycling was officially launched on the world wide web & twitter around the start of July 2011, we are claiming 4th of July as our Birthday

*   Renaissance & Masher cycled in the sunshine state some more on vacation at Panama City Beach in July

*   The months of August and September saw RAM put in miles and miles in prep for GABRAKY

*   RAM Cycling rode in GABRAKY 2011 in October, a 3 day cycling event that travels around Kentucky (this was our second consecutive year, and included our 3rd century of the year)

*   RAM Cycling closed out 2011 moderately by posting several hundred more miles before rolling into 2012

Now that we have reflected on the recent past, RAM Cycling can only move forward by setting some Goals, just like Renaissance & Masher did personally. The good news is, RAM is a reality, and here are some of the goals we hope to achieve this year or in the very near future:

***   Bring excellent news and memories from our charity and group ride events to life right here at the RAM Cycling website

***   Fight to have legislation introduced and passed into Kentucky Law to raise awareness and safety for bicycling, including a 3-FEET TO PASS LAW, more bike lanes, more Share The Road signs on roadways, more local bicycling events for the public & more

***   Gain corporate backing of some close partners, in order to help support our push for legislative updates and help us promote a more healthy and bicycle friendly America, and also help us support  local charity groups that host events we intend to ride in this year and in years to come

***   RAM Cycling intends to host it’s own bicycle ride event, however the details are still in the planning phase for time of year, course, total miles, and location (expect this to be 1st class when it happens!)

***   Design and purchase our own cycling jersey to wear at events to help promote RAM Cycling, and t-shirts to give away

***   Obviously, we intend to support Renaissance & Masher in all of their bicycling endeavors

***   We want to develop a free membership club for the purpose of distributing important cycling information and legislative updates through a monthly newsletter

***   Finally, we will be excited to publish all of the good news we can find and relate to regarding bicycling

Thanks for visiting RAMCycling.com We hope you will continue to visit throughout 2012, as we try to accomplish our mission. So far it has been a wonderful ride, but it’s a journey that we are glad you are sharing with us. PLEASE feel free to leave a comment on any post we publish, or send us an email at any time. Your feed back is important to us and helps us improve our site for you. You can also follow us on Twitter @RAMCycling. Here’s to a great year in 2012!

Cycling Tip: Be A Cycling Advocate!
Jan 2012 18

As a cyclist, I feel like I belong to an informal family of cyclists. It just seems that the sport of cycling touches so many in so many different ways, whether you cycle for fitness, commuting, competition, or just for the fun of it, we all have one thing in common: the bicycle. And as I immediately discovered once I tried cycling, a certain passion for cycling seems to grow on you, no matter what your skill or fitness level. Like the well being of my closest family and friends are in the back of my mind at all times, so is cycling.

I have the luxury of meeting new people daily through my job, and I always try to find something I may have in common with them, to make my time with them more enjoyable for us both while I work. I have to admit, that I tend to spend a little more time talking to fellow cyclists than most other folks, it just seems that conversation with another cyclist never wants to end. That’s a good thing. It also says a lot about the type of personality most cyclists possess, another good thing.

I know there are a great number of cyclist that enjoyed trail riding and mountain biking, and Kentucky happens to be a beautiful state to ride in for off road trails. However, I personally have never tried it, but that doesn’t mean I won’t someday. As for now, I am perfectly satisfied to maintain my cycling experience on the roads, which Kentucky is also a beautiful state for road cycling as well. Plenty of rolling and steep hills, lots of windy, less traveled roads, more than enough loose dogs, and the benefits of seeing the 4 seasons, which provide a wide spectrum of awesome colors year round.

Knowing how strong the cycling community is, and it seems to be a rapidly growing strength nation wide, I think it’s time we pull closer together, and stand up for what we enjoy most about cycling. Be an Advocate for Cycling! If you see a cyclist on the road, set a good example for other drivers by passing that person only in a safe manner. Chances are, the cars behind you will do the same. If you give a cyclist the right of way they deserve, others will at least notice it. It’s simply leading by example. If you notice a cyclist stopped on the side of the road, it’s okay to stop and offer help . . . they may just be taking a break, but they could actually need help, and you will be very much appreciated. Also, I highly recommend staying in tune with local lawmakers, and always speaking with them about increasing efforts to improve cycling safety and opportunities, such as new bike lanes or off road trail parks. Ultimately, it is never a partisan issue, it’s always a health and safety issue that involves the entire community. If we all do our part to look out for each other, after all, we are one big cycling family, it only enhances the cycling experience for us ALL!

In closing I would like to ask you to take a moment to contact your State Senator or Representative, and ask them to consider updating the laws to improve cycling safety! You can simply leave them a message @ 1-800-372-7181, and encourage other cyclists to do the same. If you get a chance to speak directly with them, let them know you are in favor of a 3 Feet To Pass law, and the other information that Kentucky Department of Transportation posts on their website @ transportation.ky.gov/Share-the-road/Pages/default.aspx

Thanks for your help! RAM Cycling is committed to our mission, which is to improve cycling for all through information, legislation, and the cycling experience. As always, PLEASE feel free to let us know what you think about our site, and if you find it helpful or not.

Remember, the best way to be an Advocate for Cycling, is to get out and ride, so grab the horns of the RAM, and ride like there is no tomorrow!

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