Riding on Vacation
Jul 2011 11

Riding on Vacation2

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RAM Cycling is now on Twitter! Become a follower of RAM Cycling and show your support for The Renaissance Man & Masher as we bicycle.

Today we were able to ride earlier than usual entirely thanks to a wonderful event called Vacation. We arrived in Panama City Beach, FL this past Saturday and managed to get out early enough to spin up about 25 miles before the sun became to high this morning. It’s definitely HOT! Not much of an ocean breeze right now, infact, the ocean didn’t even feel refreshing yesterday, it felt about the same as my body temperature. No matter how the sun, air, and water feel though, it is awesome to be on vacation at the beach with great friends and a bicycle!!

We plan to explore some more of the PCB area in the days to come, so please stay posted for new ride details and photos.

In closing, Congrats to the state of Georgia for successfully passing the great bicycle friendly law that requires motor vehicles to keep a safe distance of 3 feet between them and cyclist when passing!! This law was put into place effective July 1 in Georgia. Please support a RAM Cycling effort to push for this “3 FEET 2 PASS” law in our great state of Kentucky!

R & R for the Bikes Too!
Jul 2011 15

R & R for the Bikes Too!0

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This week on vacation has been very enjoyable. I am a little worried that I may get too used to being able to ride my bike every morning if I want to, but I know that reality won’t continue upon arrival back to the real world. Well, at least we have taken advantage of it while we can. The last 2 days have been good workouts, although its as flat as it can be, there has been a good ocean breeze which has resulted in strong head wind going out, and then same tailwind coming back in. The wind can be a good training aid, somewhat providing resistance similar to climbing.

Off of the bike, we have enjoyed plenty of sun time both at the beach and the pool at our condo resort. I have met and spoke to several families this week on multiple days, including some nice folks from Bowling Green and Louisville, and another cyclist who also brought his bike from Kansas City. In short conversation, he confirmed that KY is also behind the state of Missouri in bicycle friendly legislation, stating that they have had the “3 feet 2 pass” law in place for sometime now, and recently passed a law allowing cyclist riding in bike lanes to continue through intersections at red lights after stopping when there is no oncoming traffic present. More sad confirmation for us being behind the times, but don’t fret yet. RAM Cycling intends to pave the way for future bicycle friendly laws to come about in the great Bluegrass state. We need your help, we can’t do it alone.

A couple of easy things you can do to show support for improving our bicycling rights and laws in Kentucky are #1: Send us a simple message by clicking on the box in the bottom right corner or the RAM Cycling.com webpage; or #2: call or write your state Senator or Representative and let them know how you feel about bicycling laws. They want to hear your ideas, because they represent us, and if an issue is important to us, it is important to them. If you don’t know how to contact your legislators, please send us a message @ our web page, let us know the town you live in, and we will send you the info you need. THANKS for your help!

Give GABRAKY A Chance
Aug 2011 23

Give GABRAKY A Chance0

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When I first began to cycle, I used excuses as my motivation to ride. One excuse was that I didn’t spend much time with my father, “Pops,” and since he was into cycling, I thought this would be a great way of bridging the gap. A second excuse was my fitness, or at this time, my lack there of. As a former multi-sport athlete in high school, and a U.S. Marine with a completed contract, I seemed to have lost good reason to stay in shape, and now I longed for the return of my athletic competitive edge. Finally, and possibly the most significant excuse for me to ride was GABRAKY. I always excel at achieving my goals when I challenge myself through personal determination. My good friend and close riding partner, Tim the Renaissance Man, says “Effort without execution equals failure.” I tend to agree, and I feel like a good start is wasted, if you don’t finish it.

GABRAKY is a fundraiser bicycle ride for the Grand Theatre in Frankfort, KY. It was started by my good friend, Ed Stodola, an avid cyclist who has ridden with me on every “Horsey Hundred” (an annual century ride on Memorial Day weekend sponsored by our local bike club, the Bluegrass Cycling Club) that I have completed. Last year, Ed rode across the United States from Washington state to Maine. GABRAKY was originally called “Grand Autumn Bicycle Ride Across Kentucky,” but in 2009 it gained a backing from the state government and the name changed to “Governor’s Autumn Bike Ride Across KY.” This year the ride takes on another name change because the format has been slightly altered to improve some of the event logistics and allow for a more accommodating finish. This year’s name is “Governor’s Autumn Bicycle Ride Around Kentucky,” and the ride will not travel coast to coast as it always has in the past. Initially, it may seem that this would cause the ride to lose some of its’ luster or attraction, however I believe the true experience of this awesome three day ride will still produce the same cycling and group connection results.

The primary reason that I highly recommend this ride to any and all cyclists is for the total experience it provides. Leading up to the ride tends to produce some anxiety, and on Day 1, I usually experience a “what was I thinking moment? 225 miles in 3 days over the hilly roads of Kentucky?” Then, you will begin to settle in to a certain comfort level by lunch time on Day 2, realizing that you are in a war, not a battle. You will begin to enjoy the “group connection” that is mutually shared by all riders. Then on Day 3, as your mind begins to wander from the doses of adrenaline, energy, and fatigue, you will reach a point where you realize you ARE going to make it, and at that very moment, your overall cycling passion level soars to a new high. This same moment also lets you know that you are capable of completing any bicycle ride you set out to. And although you reach a moment when you are ready for the ride to just be over, on Day 4, you will experience a void that was filled by your bike the previous three days.

The first year that “Pops” completed GABRAKY, he did it on his Trek hybrid bike. He immediately purchased a Giant carbon road bike afterwards, and he’s been hooked ever since. After riding GABRAKY near the end of my first ever cycling season, I discovered my passion for pedaling, and I haven’t used any excuse to ride since. I also bought a new Trek carbon frame road bike shortly after. My good friend, Tim the Renaissance Man, completed his first GABRAKY with only about 3 months of cycling under his belt, and he too rode it on his Giant hybrid, but is looking forward to completing it on his new Litespeed carbon frame road bike this year.

I could go on forever about my memories and awesome experiences of riding in GABRAKY, but the feeling of accomplishment you receive when you complete it yourself, will trump anything you can read about it. So, if you are passionate about pedaling, and want to experience a cycling euphoria, PLEASE give GABRAKY a chance! To register, simply go to www.gabraky.com. I hope to see you at the State Capitol on Friday morning, October 7, 2011, ready to ride. You won’t regret it, I promise.

Masher

YOOKAY-YOOUHVELL CHALLENGE!
Sep 2011 02

YOOKAY-YOOUHVELL CHALLENGE!1

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This Challenge is Interactive – PLEASE comment in and VOTE for UK or U of L! Ahh, just around the corner lies the beloved American pastime, football season! Everything from high school to college, to the NFL, and of coarse, fantasy football. Plain and simple, it’s huge in America. Football is the most watched sport in America, with the NFL being the most watched sport on television. So, the Renaissance Man and I, Masher, have decided to come up with our own special challenge to help kick off the gridiron season and incorporate a little cycling into it, of coarse.

THE RIVALRY

As is the case with most states, there typically lies a rivalry between big time in-state schools or nearby intrastate schools, the great Bluegrass State is no different. The rivalry between Louisville Cardinals and Kentucky Wildcats is as intense and heated as most. For the most part, UK fans hate U of L, and vice versa. I happen to be an exception to the rule (sort of). Out of respect to many of my close friends, that unfortunately have to root for UK, I choose not to be a hater and root against them as long as they’re not playing U of L ( or at least not in front of my friends). Renaissance Man is equally respectful as a UK fan. As a Cards fan, the worst part about the rivalry is that I live in “Wildcat Territory” only 15 minutes from the University of Kentucky campus. As a lifelong Louisville fan, I can honestly admit that we are much less stressed because it’s not the end of the world when we lose to UK or have a rough season here or there, however when UK loses to The Ville or when they have a rough season, the end of the world must be near, along with the coach’s contract. The recent history favors the Cats with 4 straight wins in football and 2 consecutive in basketball. I, for one, hope this year breaks both streaks, but we have our work cut out for us since both games will be played in Lexington.

THE CHALLENGE

Pretty simple, a grueling 8.5 mile bicycle race between Renaissance & Masher. The course will be a common training loop for us both, one that we currently ride a weekly time trial on as part of our regular 25-30 mile course. It is a 4.2 mile route around some horse farms just southwest of Georgetown, with mostly flat terrain and a few rollers towards the end. Our ultimate goal is to finish the loop in twelve minutes or less, and so far, we have achieved times from 12:25-13:45. The game day challenge will be more demanding than usual, having to complete the loop twice. Now here’s the interesting part, the actual challenge: the winner of the race will be granted one point for every 15 seconds of victory that will apply to the UK-U of L football game. For instance, if Renaissance beats Masher by 35 seconds, that means he gets his team (UK) and 2 points. In other words, the outcome of our race may not predict the outcome of the football game, but it could possibly salvage somewhat of a victory, morally anyways, because the loser of the challenge also loses some of their pride. Ultimately, it’s all for fun, no matter what the outcome!

THE PRIZE

The prizes are grand and awesome! Pride, sanity, and happiness to the winner, while the loser will receive humiliation, disgrace, and depression (at least momentarily). The winner of the YOOKAY-YOOUHVELL CHALLENGE will get to wear their team colors to church on Sunday, with pride and a smile on their face. Unfortunately, the loser has to wear the opponents colors with school name to the same 10:30 Mass at St. John Catholic Church. This will be devastating for one of us, but it’s all in good fun and friendship. I think it will be worse if I lose, because while Renaissance is a huge Kentucky fan, he is a Louisville grad, and has had to wear their colors once before. So, now it’s official. The Challenge is set! Who are you voting for? UK or U of L? Renaissance or Masher?

Brand New Cyclist, Thanks to RAM Influence
Nov 2011 04

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!

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