My name is Benjamin, and I’ve been cycling for many years, almost all my life. How I started was when I was 7 years old and I borrowed my friend’s bike because I didn’t have one. I basically taught myself riding by practicing and crashing (it doesn’t stop when you’re older) many times over until I got it right.
Having been cycling for so long, one could say I’ve been through it all. I’ve ridden in all weather conditions – from the searing heat to the cold winter days, through constant deluge where the water dripped down from my helmet to my chin, to hailstorms where even the largest pieces of ice find its way through the vents to ping off my head.
I am certain many cyclists can identify with those types of weather-related adventures. And at the end of the ride, they make it home. However, not everyone can say they’ve been injured during a ride. And even fewer can say they’ve been in three accidents in three years, consecutively, twice being hit by a car, and the last in a race. Not that these were badges of honour – far from it (but at least I got it out of my system). They spanned from annoying to devastating requiring days to months off the bike and takes years to heal. They forever changed the way I ride. How they happened and the consequences of these events – well, I’ll divulge that in coming posts. Some of you who know me already know of the stories – others have not.
And in the end, despite the circumstances that get thrown in our way, we always manage to find the strength, will and motivation to get back on our bikes to ride another ride because nothing really perturbs us. Some say cycling is like an addiction. Instead I see it as:
Once an athlete, always an athlete.
In my case, I go a bit further than just cycling for cycling’s sake. I want to test my own limits and even extend a few.
With this new year, 2015, I am back to racing my bike. That is my big announcement. Again:
I am back to race my bike.
And to compliment this event, I will be blogging about my adventures and the mentality required to succeed in racing. That’s a tall order, of course. But I’m determined to reach my goal of upgrading from a CAT4 to a CAT3 racer. I’ve heard that that’s when the fun stops – in CAT3. Really? Because in my perspective, there is less fun not being able to ride, especially in peak cycling season, and especially while recovering from an injury that immobilizes you so much so that you can’t even drive your own car.
But I haven’t truly answered the question, “Why?”
I want to race in the Yarmouth Clam Festival here in Maine, but you can’t do that as a CAT4 racer. And I want my son (now 7 years old) to see me race.
I’ve made some preparations already. Over the course of this year, I’ve ridden with a few local clubs to test myself and get up to a base form. I recently went through a bike fit with Dave from Gorham Bike and Ski to rectify a couple of ailments and made significant changes to my riding position. I’ve also come up with a training plan, a budget and started to pick races to participate in. One thing I don’t have is a coach. I’ll just have to supplement that with Joe Friel’s book for now.
I’ve also started base training back in November, maintaining my core strength with yoga and lifting weights to build more muscular strength in areas that cannot be accomplished with cycling alone. Not only that, focus on nutrition by eating more non-GMO and organic foods. One third of the foods I eat are raw. Some people forget that being fit means to eat well – and it’s 80% of staying fit. Activity is only 20% and there must be a balance so that they compliment each other.
This has been my calling. I’m willing to do what it takes to get to CAT3. And from there, what next? Well, let’s just take it one step at a time.