‘Round this time of year, I usually get asked by many ‘arm chair’ cyclists about who will win the Tour de France. Nowadays, it’s more about: “will that Ryder guy win this one too?” Don’t get me wrong, seasonal cycling fans are better than none and the fact that they even know that Ryder won the Giro is fantastic. What they often don’t realize is that the guys do over 100 race days a year and log about 20,000 kilometers in the saddle each year. For these riders, riding the bike is all they do, 12 months of the year, sometimes slower and sometimes faster! It’s a well kept secret that pro cyclists are really good at riding slow; they know how to recover and simply enjoy a ride. Since most people only see them for 3 weeks in July, I can completely understand that it’s hard for fans, especially in North America, to relate to the pro racing scene.
For me, these days it’s about enjoying my bike. Since January, I’ve led a group of riders on a 4-month indoor training session and since May 1 have had some wonderful outdoor rides with different types of riders on various types of rides. I’m no where near the fitness I was when I was a pro, but for me that’s irrelevant. And guess what – once the fitness comes, I don’t mind pushing myself to see what I can do. I recently set a fastest time on an uphill Strava segment. I guess you can’t take the competitive nature out of me.
Participating in rides like the gran fondos is also a very satisfying experience for me to see so many people who are taking up the challenge of the sport. I know it’s not easy getting started in this sport; there are a myriad of things to think about and keep track of, never mind staying safe on the road. However, there is something magical about human powered endeavours and the trials and tribulations that we put ourselves through to accomplish a goal. Whether you are trying to win the Giro, Tour, or simply improve on your gran fondo time from last year, you are all champions in your own right. “Chapeau” to you.
Feel the Road