RECREATIONAL CYCLISTS GET BUSY EVERY APRIL!
Most of the recreational bicycling clubs in the United States get cranked up, literally, every spring as the official “daylight savings” time change occurs. This is when you can begin riding in the famous, or sometimes, infamous group rides and find out who put in work during the winter and who was lazy. April also happens to be the first month of the year that you can begin to find organized century rides, multi-day rides, and fundraiser rides that will be spotted all over the map every weekend through September. RAM Cycling participated in their first big ride, the 2012 Redbud Ride in April, and already have two slated for the month of May, Gran Fondo Louisville sponsored by Upland Brew Co. & Horsey Hundred put on by Bluegrass Cycling Club.
OVERALL FITNESS IS KEY TO SEASON SUCCESS
In my short, but very interesting and somewhat well traveled, cycling career, I have come to the realization that it’s much easier to stay in shape, than to have to get in shape. In the 6+ years I’ve been riding, I have experienced both a busy and lazy off season, more than once. My key tips to prepping for a busy cycling season include: base miles, climbing miles, and speed miles. The more you ride your bike, the better shape your legs and butt will maintain. If you have a lazy winter, then it’s wise to start out slow. Begin riding 15-25 mile loops at a moderate pace, just trying to toughen up your butt, and get your legs used to spinning again. As you feel comfortable, slowly increase rides occasionally up to 40-50 miles. This is will be your foundation (or base miles) for a great season, and if you choose to stay busy on the bike in the winter, then this routine in the perfect goal set! Once your foundation is sturdy, begin incorporating hills and mountains into your regular loops, this will build your overall stamina, as well as, boost your leg strength and aerobic fitness. Finally, it’s a good idea to go for speed at least once a week on a regular training ride. There are numerous ways to ride to increase your speed, but none better than intentionally riding with someone you know to be faster than yourself. I have discovered that I can not push myself nearly as hard when I ride alone as I can when I’m pushing it to keep up with a strong fast cyclist. As I mentioned previously, it’s much easier to stay in shape, and these are some easy ways to do so through the winter until the main season arrives, like it just has!
EASY TIPS TO RIDE THROUGHOUT THE SEASON
The following are simple ideas to help you ride as much as you see fit. Once the bulk of the season is here, it is very important to take advantage of cycling opportunities, because unfortunately, it seems to wind down way too fast. These are some random thoughts that I have personally experienced to help keep you rolling:
* Keep the bike rack or carrier mounted to your vehicle, this can save valuable time and help you make it to group ride on time
* Always take your bike on vacation with you, even if you only ride once or twice, it keeps the habit going which is key to maintaining good cycling fitness
* Pack you bike and gear to children’s sporting events, especially tournaments, there’s always down time that can become up time
* Find group or organized rides that you would like to do and go ahead and register early, it usually saves you a little on the fees, and once you commit, you’ll most likely stay committed
* Do a big organized ride as early in the season as you can . . . they are contagious, once you do one, the passion encourages you to do more
* Use the buddy system for regular riding . . . it’s easy to get burnt out riding by yourself or doing the same route over and over, so have a friend that is depending on you (and vice versa) and keep changing the loop
* The obvious: fuel yourself properly with well balanced meals, proper hydration, and focus on core stretching and strengthening exercises regularly, these tips will make a huge difference in your performance on the bike
BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR MORE RIDE REVIEWS
KP the Masher will continue to post details on future organized rides, including random thoughts from various riders and overall ratings with recommendations at the venues that RAM Cycling participates in. Look for these reviews posted as Masher’s C.H.A.R.G.E. (communicating how all ride group events). If you are a cyclist, and would like to offer a guest blog post review of a ride that you have completed but RAM Cycling has not, we would love to hear from you. Please click on the “Contact Us” box in the right column on this page and let us know.
In a asserted effort to bring cycling event reviews to our readers and followers, I have decided to name my feature ride review blog “Masher’s CHARGE.” The CHARGE stands for “Communicating How All Ride Group Events.” Most well known authors and/or bloggers have a title for their feature works, so why not me, even though I’m not yet well known. My father is a retired journalist/newspaper editor, and a couple of his feature articles were always titled “Travels With Charlie” and “Bits & Pieces.” “Masher’s CHARGE” will be a collective review and rating of any group cycling event that RAM Cycling participates in, documenting random thoughts from Renaissance Man & Masher, as well as other cyclists.
It’s only fair to set some ground rules for how events will be graded overall. So here’s the fair warning on what we will be looking for and how it can affect the rating of a ride. I will attempt to gather simple quotes from riders at various rest stops and at the finish line of how they felt about the route they rode in general. I will list some of the responses with their name or initials and hometown (with their permission) in “Masher’s CHARGE.” We will not let the weather play a factor in grading the ride, we are only rating the factors that the ride committee can control. These items include, but are not limited to: traffic along the route, friendliness of the traffic, hospitality and fuel at rest stops, spacing and efficiency of stops, scenery along the routes, mapping and marking of routes, cost for event, free ride swag (gifts and/or shirts in goody bag), marketing of event, and overall ride experience.
It’s also only fair to have a year end re-cap of highlights and dim lights, and rank each ride in order of RAM Cycling personal approval, since we’ll be reviewing and rating anyways. So there we have it. The ground rules have been laid out and now the competition is on, at least for bragging rights to be determined by a couple of passionate cyclists know as Renaissance And Masher. So far in 2012 to date, RAM Cycling has ridden and reviewed “Redbud Ride” in London, KY. Upcoming rides we are already registered for include “Horsey Hundred” in Georgetown, KY, and unfortunately the “Gran Fondo Louisville by Upland Brew Co.” has been recently canceled. Some others currently on the list of possible rides include “Buckhead Border Challenge” triathlon in Louisville, KY, “My Old Kentucky Home Tour” in Bardstown and Louisville, KY, “Sunrise Century” in Clarksville, TN, and “GABRAKY” across the state of KY.
Feel free to email us and request that we try your favorite ride so that you can see how it stacks up against the others. We will also be happy to post a guest review of a ride that we are not able to attend. Simply contact us by clicking the yellow “quote” icon next to the title of this article and post a comment, or click on the “contact us” in the right side column on our home page! Stay tuned for the next “Masher’s CHARGE” following Memorial Day Weekend!