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

Nov 2014 16

share-the-road-every-life-counts-decal

*Cyclists Beware: if we choose to disregard the laws of the road, even the occasional running a red light or stop sign, there can potentially be serious consequences. These consequences will be our fault.

*Non-Cyclists Beware: there are people riding bikes in and around towns with no regard to the laws of the road, these folks are NOT cyclists, they just happen to use a bike for transportation and are not watching out for you or themselves. Don’t stereotype cyclists based on these people’s actions please.

*Cyclists Beware: many non-cyclists think we don’t belong on the roads and will put us in dangerous situations when passing unsafely. Always be prepared for this scenario so you can respond in a moments notice.

*Non-Cyclists Beware: cyclists are allowed to ride our bicycles on any roadways except major parkways and interstate highways, unless otherwise posted. Please share the road safely with us.

*Cyclists Beware: when riding in groups, please be courteous to non-cyclists by riding single file if the roadway prevents drivers from safely passing. If there is a wide shoulder that is not full of debris, try riding in this area to avoid close calls, when possible.

*Non-Cyclists Beware: many of the nice, wide shoulders on the roads are filled with gravel, glass, trash, and other debris that is unsafe for bicycle travel and will cause us to have flat tires. That’s why we don’t ride there often.

* Cyclists Beware: I find that many non-cyclists are much more aware of passing us safely when I acknowledge that I see them by simply waving or tipping my cap. Also friendly speaking or waving to drivers, pedestrians, or folks in their yard, breeds friendly behavior from them when they pass us or other cyclists later.

*Non-Cyclists Beware: if you choose to pass a cyclist in a blind curve, on a blind hill, or in any other blind or unsafe manner, there can potentially be consequences, sometimes fatal. This can be avoided by simply adding a few extra seconds to your trip. These consequences will be your fault.

* Cyclists Beware: if you experience a mechanical issue on your ride, such as a flat tire or chain problem, it is our responsibility to get safely off the roadway while making the repair.

*Non-Cyclists Beware: nearly all cyclists also drive vehicles and work jobs, paying  the same taxes and vehicle registrations as you, therefor we are also paying for the roads that we share.

* Cyclists Beware: there are many drivers that now use their phones to text, email, message, and use other social media while also attempting to drive, which causes them to sometimes not see us until the last second or not at all.

*Non-Cyclists Beware: cyclists don’t want to be on the heavily traveled roads but sometimes it’s necessary to use these roads to get to the back roads less traveled that we prefer. Please don’t honk, yell, or throw things at us. We will be out of everyone’s way sooner if you just be patient and share the road safely.

*Cyclists & Non-Cyclists Beware: a mutual awareness of each other, a general moral friendliness towards each other, and following the rules and laws of the road will result in safer travels for us all. It’s not that difficult, if only we will both beware of each other.

CYCLISTS & NON-CYCLISTS, SHARE THE ROAD PLEASE!

Jun 2015 09

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For those of our more loyal RAM Cycling followers that have been wondering what has happened to the content going stale on our site, or where has masher been, hopefully this message will answer your curiosity. First, in regards to why Masher has been missing in action, well it’s actually a combination of reasons that can be explained by priority change and a little bit of fear.

 

Cycling will always be a passion, a priority of mine. Sometimes priorities change though, and that’s exactly what has happened this year. The major priorities in my life are family, friends, religion, work, and hobbies. The last two years have demonstrated that my cycling hobby was near the top of that list, but this year it is a little further down the list and it’s also sharing time with fishing and soon to be boating, as we just bought our first family runabout. Our oldest son just graduated from high school last week, and back in the fall during his final football season, it dawned on me that this spring would also be his final baseball season, and I  just wanted to be there a little more than I have in the past. It was my choice to be there for him and it felt good to be.

 

I’ve also noticed that my work seems to be a little higher up the list this year also, not by design but hey, that’s life. Gotta make money to be able to spend it. So I’m perfectly fine and comfortable with my level of commitment to my cycling passion for now, and I’m sure it will continue to evolve as priorities are constantly changing. I am slowly trying to regain some of the fitness that I’ve lost during my recent temporary status, so if you wanna see the masher suffer a little (and I guess I have it coming since I’ve taken pleasure in dishing it out some in the past), come on out and ride with me now!

 

The other factor that’s kept me from consistent riding this year, the one that only a couple folks know about for now, is fear. Yes, I’m no longer afraid to admit it … I’ve been scared at times to ride on the road. On our last night of vacation back on spring break in Florida, we were on our way down to the beach to grab supper when we drove up on an accident scene. The area was on the other side of the 4-lane Beach Blvd ( the same road I had ridden my bicycle on all of my rides that week) and multiple emergency vehicles were blocking the west bound lanes with caution tape all around the area. As we passed the spot of the accident, all I saw was a mangled bicycle laying in the road and I immediately got sick to my stomach. That image is imbedded into my mind now and I’ve used it as an excuse to myself not to ride on multiple occasions. Now with the more recent, more close to home death of a cyclist in the Horsey Hundred on the same roads I ride all the time, I gave serious thought for a few days to give it up. I honestly did not want to ride my bike on the road again, in fear that my family could easily lose their husband, father, brother, and son on my next ride.

 

Luckily, I found the courage to admit my fear to a few people very close to me, and now I am getting through it, and excited to be back on the road! No doubt, the risks are still on my mind, but the advice I was given is worth sharing … we are not in control, don’t give up on something I love, let go and let God. And it’s all true. Yes there will always be risk of death when I climb aboard my bicycle and get on the road with vehicles, but that same risk is very real in many other aspects of our day to day activities also. And yes, even though we think we can shield ourselves from danger, the truth is accidents happen anywhere anytime, and we’re ultimately not in control. We do not choose when we go or how, but I agree with my friend Tim (the Renaissance Man), when God calls us, we go. So I’m happy to let that thought outweigh the negative, scared thoughts as I continue to ride my bike.

 

I did not share this fear in hopes of pushing God on anyone, it just happens to be my belief. I did share this with you, in hopes that if any of our followers have had similar experiences of fear of riding, to let you know it’s okay and it helps you to overcome it by talking about it and sharing your fear with the ones that are closest to you.

 

In closing, I hope we all see more updated content here at RAM Cycling now that I plan to be riding much more regularly, and I look forward to getting out on a group ride soon with all of my closest friends! I’ll try harder to do my part on both accounts.

 

In my own words, I hope that when God calls me home, I’m doing something I love, rather than avoiding it due to fear ….

Masher

Feb 2016 04

Updates!0

Posted In Blog

First update is about the masher and his knee surgery recovery … Now 5 weeks post operation, and 3 weeks into physical therapy, things are improving. He has been off of crutches for just over a week now and walking slowly, but strongly and without any limp. Climbing stairs and swift change in direction is still challenging, but improving, while descending stairs is still difficult, but lost getting easier. He has cheerfully been able to spin on the indoor trainer with minimal resistance, but high speed cadence for a little over a week now. Hopefully he can incorporate some high resistance into the spinning regimen soon, and more wishfully, get back onto the pavement for real road riding as soon as possible. The only issues that he’s having that’s holding up progress somewhat is still limited flexibility and it is too painful to kneel on. He is able to straiten it and the stretching and strengthening exercises are working well, otherwise. Next follow up with Dr. Hunt is next Thursday Feb 11.

 

Next update is a legislative one and includes good news. We received a message today from our state senator for Scott County that the Senate Bill 80 related to improving cycling awareness on roadways, including a “3 Feet 2 Pass” law has successfully made it out of committee! I’m not a legislative expert, but I think the next step in the process is for the House of Representatives to review the bill and either approve (as is or with amendments) or disapprove it. Then, if approved, it would return to the Senate for a final vote. This would be a huge accomplishment for for improving cycling safety and awareness by our legislators if voting passes it. It’s an absolute non-partisan issue and completely relates to health and safety of human life, while improving awareness for cycling. Please consider contacting your Senator and/or Representative and asking them to vote YES to this bill. You can contact them via email or phone message and their info is accessible online. Also the info and details about this bill can be found online. Please visit: www.lrc.gov/record/16RS/SB80.htm   It’s disturbing to wonder if this bill has found more attention due to a Lexington lawyer losing his life after being struck by a vehicle while riding his bicycle in the annual Horsey Hundred ride last year, however, if this SB 80 becomes law and saves just 1 life, it is fully worth all the effort! And if it saves 1 life, it will certainly save more.

 

Final update is also good news … Groundhog’s Day was this week and he did not see his shadow. So if legend holds true, it means we will get an early spring. I hope I don’t jinx it, but other than one rough week of weather in the bluegrass state, we’ve had a moderately mild winter season. Sure some areas have experienced colder temps than others, and some towns have received more precipitation than others, but generally speaking, we’ve enjoyed a less eventful winter than the last two in Kentucky. So keep your fingers crossed for sun-shiny days to be abundant sooner than later! image

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