OF CYLE CLOTHING AND PERSONAL ACCOMPLIMENTS and BICYCLE RACING

Well, first off I have to say congratulations to Peter Sagan for winning the UCI Worlds Championship. It’ s not likely he will ever read this but just in case, it was very impressive. My wife and I had the privilege of going to Richmond VA to see the Worlds this year and it was just a tremendous experience. We worked as volunteers on the course and I have to admit it really is cool to feel like you are part of such a tremendous event; an insignificant part I will admit, but a part none the less. When cyclists turn a corner so close that your toes better not be hanging over the curb edge or they will get clipped, then that’s close. We watched team time trials while sitting in the median under a shade tree and it was so great. They pass by so quickly and with the solid rims on they sound like small jet planes. The amount of effort and skill needed to climb the cobble stone hills of Richmond was just unbelievable. There was a point when I considered taking advantage of an opportunity to ride the course on Friday night,but decided against it. In hindsight it could have only ended up in embarrassment and possibly pain. The entire week was well worth it and our deepest thanks to all the people at home who helped us out and made this trip possible. The Worlds have not been in the US for 29 years and most likely won’t be back again in my lifetime.

Now speaking of cycle racing, what would cycling be without the proper cycle clothing, actually referred to as Kit. Those unusual tight fitting outfits made of Lycra Spandex and worn by cyclist all over the world, myself included. Are they tight, yes. Do they look silly, OK, kind of. Do they serve a purpose, absolutely. First, where would all the team sponsors put their names without them? They do make the body more aerodynamic, because they are so tight. The moisture wicking ability of the material does help the cyclist stay cooler. The padding in the seat of the pants makes a long race or just a simple ride way more comfortable, especially if you consider that when worn properly, the rider has nothing on under those shorts and a good saddle is very hard and very small (an issue to be addressed next month).One other observation worth noting is the way people treat you when you are in proper cycling clothing. When I first started riding a few years ago, I wore a tee shirt and shorts. One thing I noticed then was that it was like being invisible. People almost went out of their way to try and “get” me. Then I got my first jersey and shorts. It was definitely cooler and more comfortable and strangely enough, people started acknowledging me. They would give me the proper 4 feet of clearance (guaranteed by law, in PA) wave me through intersections and stop to let me go. It was really strange. I have inquired about this phenomenon and the best explanation is that people have more respect for you when you appear to know what you are doing. So dress the part, wear a helmet and look like you know what’s going on and maybe be safer.

Now I also have a personal accomplishment I have to talk about. When this all started a few years and a couple of knees ago, I was lucky to go a block and 5 mph was like breaking the sound barrier. Well today 25 miles is no big deal, even 50 miles is quite doable, and a couple of weeks ago I hit a speed number I never would have imagined a few years ago. In my town I have a quarter mile perfect flat spot that I have used to sprint on for years. I can now proudly say that I have broken the 30 mph speed barrier in that sprint. Now in the real world that may not be a big deal but in my world that means everything. With fall slowly coming upon us it will be soon be time to move inside and go on the trainer, and by the end of every season I am happy that I end the year stronger than when the season started. That works for me. Next season the focus will be more on getting stronger for longer distances. Slowly but surely, Key West will be upon me….Until then…Play nice,be careful…Randy