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!
The Kevin Morris Story by Masher
I’ve known Kevin Morris for almost two years now, since I joined forces at Team Fayette as an employee in the H2O Maestro plumbing division of Fayette Heating & Air. Kevin is a commercial service technician in the HVAC department and is also a licensed electrician. I see Kevin almost every morning in the break room before we begin our work day, however these days we are starting to see a lot LESS of him.
Morris is an outgoing guy, the kind of person that probably never met a stranger growing up. He is very good at talking to anyone and everyone, finding out what he has in common with you, and proceeding to make friendship through it. He is a family man with high interests in the outdoors, especially fishing and most recently bicycling. Kevin is a typical blue collar American with an extraordinary story of improved fitness, and his story holds some chapters not yet revealed, it’s a work in progress. Check out the recent conversation Masher had with Kevin Morris and listen to some pretty motivating words if you are trying to lose weight. It’s also interesting how his perception of cyclists has changed from “dorky” to “a new love in life.”
If you’ve ever needed to lose any weight, whether i’ts 10 pounds more than 100 pounds, there’s a good chance that you also wanted to lose that excess weight. And it’s completely normal, if you tried one or two or more different methods, but failed. Some failures are caused by health reasons, while others are simply a lack of commitment. It’s never easy, I know personally, having gained and lost, lost and gained weight several times in my adult life. I certainly need to shed some excess pounds right now, and have failed to commit myself to a plan, but I’m very motivated by Kevin Morris’s story. You see, Kevin made a commitment, and is on the brink of losing 100 pounds. And he is not finished!
QUESTION: So what was different about this time? Surely you tried a diet plan or two in the past, and what have you done that has allowed you to follow through this time and what convinced you to do it most?
ANSWER: “Commitment is absolutely the key to success in losing excess weight. When I decided to get on this (no sugar, low carb) diet, I made myself go four months before I cheated, and I only cheated then by having a dinner out and piece of cake with my wife on our anniversary. Then it was straight back to the meal plan. It probably sounds somewhat corny as an excuse, but I was convinced I wasn’t going to be the person who couldn’t be active with my son, who is only one year old now.”
QUESTION: Why the low carb, no sugar meal plan similar to the “Atkins Diet?” There are so many options out there, what made you try this one and stick with it?
ANSWER: “I struggle with too many options, such as a “Weight Watchers” plan or counting calories, etc. I needed a plan that had more limitations, so I would know I can only eat this or that, and it’s a lot easier for me to plan my meals this way.”
QUESTION: Don’t you get burnt out on the same old meals?
ANSWER: “No, it’s amazing how diverse a salad can be when you change it up by adding or subtracting the foods that are on the plan such as meats, cheese, and nuts. And it’s not salad all the time, but salad is something I love so I eat it as often as possible. 0-sugar peanut butter has become my dessert, and I look forward to my spoonful every night!”
QUESTION: So exactly how much have you lost, you look like a different person? Of coarse, seeing you all the time, it’s not as noticeable every day, but it’s crazy to look back at a picture from the old you.
ANSWER: “Well, I was around 350 at my heaviest, and I’ve sort of plateaued over the last two weeks, but I now weigh 255. My original goal was to get to 265 with out having to exercise. I hate exercising, in fact, I told myself I would quit the plan before I start a workout.”
QUESTION: Almost 100 pounds? WOW, that’s amazing!!! You obviously changed your mind about exercise since you recently bought a bike and began cycling, right?
ANSWER: “Sorta, kinda. In my mind, I consider exercise as working out indoors, at a gym, etc. Since I ride my bike outside, I just feel like I’m relaxing in the outdoors more. I perceive bicycling more as a recreational sport, than a workout or exercise plan.
MASHER COMMENT: “I can relate somewhat, but I know for a fact, that I can get as much out of a bike ride as I put into it. As a former moderate runner, I compare the two sports by claiming that the worst part of a run is the run and you always feel better when you finish, but the worst part of a bike ride is the end, and the best part is the ride! Either way, I would much rather be outside than inside on a treadmill or stationary bike any day.”
QUESTION: So why cycling? Of all the outdoor “recreations” or sports you could have dove into, what made you pick bicycling?
ANSWER: “Well, I have to give that credit to you, Pearl (KP the Masher). I didn’t have the first clue what to expect from bicycling, but I remember passing people on bikes on the road and thinking they were a bit dorky, and slowing down traffic. Now I am much more aware of cyclists on the roadways and am happy to be riding myself. I had no idea what I needed to get started and where to go get it, so that’s where you came in and gave me great advice. If I didn’t know you and pick your brain about cycling, I’m confident I would have never given it a thought. I owe a big thanks to Masher.”
QUESTION: What keeps you motivated? You have slowed down some on the weight loss, which typically means you are getting close to your target healthy weight, so what will keep you on track now?
ANSWER: “That’s what I worried about, but staying focused is part of the commitment. I know we are going into a tough time of year for cycling because the days get shorter, and the weather gets tough to ride in, so I already got a membership to a local gym, and plan to do exactly what I thought I never would. I plan to work out and stay on the same diet, it’s worked for me so far, and I know it has. Looking at some of the old pictures of me are a brutal reminder of where I came from, and that is great motivation to stay on track.
MASHER CLOSING COMMENT: “Kevin is a very good friend, I am proud of him. He has given me more motivation, that I need right now, to improve my health. I have ridden over 2500 miles this year to date, including 3 centuries, and in 3 different states, and I feel like I’ve got a good grasp on my exercise, however I definitely can improve my eating habits. I WILL have my own weight loss story soon, too, I am confident of it, because I am ready to make a commitment. It is very gratifying to hear him give me credit for him becoming a new bicyclist. As our Mission reads here at RAM Cycling, we are committed to raising bicycling awareness, and what better way to do so than to add people to our bike population. In fact, Kevin also bought a bike for his wife, who is an avid runner, and she is also enjoying getting started in our beloved sport, as is her cousin, who followed suit. Thanks to RAM Cycling, we have added 3 bikes to the area! Keep up the good work Kevin, I hope you join RAM Cycling for a century ride next year, and you have plenty of time to train for GABRAKY 2012, also!
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
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.
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!
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!