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.
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.
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 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?
Well folks its official, the results are in! Amazingly enough it happens to be a clean sweep weekend. In the road race portion of the challenge, the weather was magnificent. The race between Renaissance Man & Masher began around 8:30 AM on Falconwood Lane, the air was crisp and cool in the upper 50s. The race was witnessed by a caravan of family members, Kennedy Pearl, Johnathon Stout, Charlie Pearl III, Preston Pearl, and Dawson Pearl, escorted by Kevin “Terd” Hargrave. As the race turned onto the rollers section on North Yarnalton Road, the pace picked up for good.
Masher pulled out to an early lead, only to forfeit it to Renaissance Man on the first climb. Renaissance Man pulled away briefly as the course passed over several hills, but Masher closed the gap at the second turn which put the race on Bethel Road. Renaissance Man tried to keep Masher out of his draft on the slight downhill, but he stayed glued to his back wheel until the road flattened out, which is when Masher retook the lead for good. It remained close up the next short climb, but some space was created down the long gradual incline that led to the merging back onto Falconwood Lane. At the start/finish line, Masher had gained a 54 second lead on the first loop. Split times were very similar for the second loop, with no miracle come back win. When both men had safely crossed the finish line, they were separated by 2 minutes and 28 seconds, which after doing the math from the challenge, this gave Masher 9 points with his underdog Cardinals in the football game that would be played later that night. The group was all smiles, we had a great time. After all, it was all for good fun. Masher was still nervous about the game and the results of the challenge, in fact, the group briefly talked about what ugly UK shirt that the Renaissance Man would make him wear to church the next day if he lost.
U of L Cards defeated Kentucky Wildcats 24-17 in a game that came down to the last possession, preserving the clean sweep for Masher. “At the start of the 4th quarter, I was starting to feel safe about winning the challenge and not having to wear an ugly UK shirt in front of all my friends at church, but I never felt safe with the Cards’ lead in the game. I’ve seen it too many times. It would have been bitter sweet to win the race, lose the game, but win the challenge. Thankfully I got the clean sweep, and it is FULLY SWEET,” claimed by Masher.
“As the winner of the YOOKAY-YOOUHVELL CHALLENGE, I would like to thank my sponsors: Capital City Cycles, Trek Bikes, Road I.D., Clif Bar Shot Blocks, Pearl Izumi, Bell Helmets, One Good EarBud, Louis Garneau, 5 Hour Energy, the Louisville Cardinals, and most importantly RAM Cycling. I actually don’t have any official sponsors, but I couldn’t have done it with out these brands!!! Please tell all your friends and family about RAM Cycling, and PLEASE give us your feed back. It only takes a moment to post a comment on our blog website. I would also like to thank my partner, the Renaissance Man for accepting my challenge and the tough race he ran. Both of our times have greatly improved over this race course since we set the challenge. This short ride put us right on the brink of 2000 miles together for the year. That’s awesome – we only had a couple hundred together at this time last year! It’s up to you what the challenge will be during basketball season.” *Masher
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.