Enlightened By A New View.
Dec 2013 09

“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Or so they say. Before Renaissance Man convinced me to join the 20th century and open my personal Twitter account, I was very nervous and hesitant. Since, I have been very aggressive in finding, meeting, and enjoying cycling rides with locals, and sometimes complete strangers.  In fact, I was actually the one that encouraged him to join me in a (new to us) cycling club, Strava, which he says is now the fastest growing social media network in the world. He would know … he’s kinda technical like that.


I had the pleasure of meeting a new cycling friend, that just happens to be a cousin to my wife, when I recently rode with Eric on Thanksgiving weekend in Bardstown, KY (a.k.a. bourbon/catholic country). We have been following each other on Strava since early this season, and when we headed to my wife’s hometown for the holiday, he answered the call to join me. Kudos to his wife for sharing him for a few hours to show a new friend some fun and challenging back roads on the bike!


We had been spinning for about an hour and had accumulated nearly fifteen miles as we trekked across the infamous Pottershop Rd leaving town headed toward the community of Holy Cross, when he ask what was the mixture in my water bottle. I told him it was Zija XM+ and it was my nutrition drink that has all natural ingredients and gives me the boost I need to perform strong in a workout and really picks my overall mood up (especially first thing in the morning). Then at a busy intersection, as we stopped briefly, I ate an energy gel, not knowing exactly how far we were riding, I didn’t want to lose energy in the cold, breezy temps.


I noticed he hadn’t eaten anything yet, so finally I ask him, “Are you going to eat?” He said he doesn’t eat when he runs or rides. “Huh? You must be joking, right?” I mean, he obviously takes care of himself. I knew that by tracking his cycling and running activities on Strava, and it was confirmed when I met him in person, he carries a very fit looking stature. So, now I’m a bit intrigued by what he’s telling me about his diet and training routines both in cycling and running. I’m self admittedly, not the most technical cyclist, I’m more of a work harder than smarter type of rider, which also contributes to the earning of my nickname, “the Masher,” but I always assumed that when you work out, you’re burning calories (which happen to be a unit of energy) that need to be replaced if you want to sustain energy throughout the workout and beyond. I do understand the concept of not overeating and wasting a workout, but this new info of not eating at all during even a long run or ride had me curious.


He is intelligent, I know this by our conversation on the ride that took nearly two hours. He was definitely speaking over my head some when he got into the heart rate management on training regimens, and the aerobic versus anaerobic workouts that he does,and how his diet ties into the big picture. While some of it that I could understand made perfect sense, other parts either didn’t or I wasn’t following closely enough. All the more reason to take my bike with me every time I go to visit the in-laws now. I’m always interested in hearing people’s stories, or learning about new training tips, or just going out in search of some Strava segments and blowing out our guts in hopes of winning a KOM!


Eric is fairly new to cycling, this he says is his first full season. He, similar to myself has experienced somewhat of a transformation since beginning his career on the bike. For him, the cycling and running have been the medicine his body needs to regulate things such as blood pressure, cholesterol, stress, and of coarse, energy to work and help raise an active family each day. I told him about my ride at Assault On Mt. Mitchell this year and how I plan to go back and hit it harder next year. He told me about his plan to run his first marathon next year, hopefully at Chicago. We may have somewhat different training and diet plans, but we both share the idea of setting goals and laying out a plan to reach them.


I certainly look forward to our next ride together, and hopefully his brothers can join us, as well. I enjoyed the different perspective on nutrition and training, and can’t wait to hear about it more. Most of it sounded like ideas I can benefit from. Thanks again, Eric, for leading me on a nice challenging bike ride in your neck of the woods. As I titled it on Strava, it was the perfect ending to a Thanksgiving weekend at the in-laws!

. . . the next hill is waiting to be climbed . . .