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Wednesday, January 2, 2008

2007 Reflections - Part 2

Just a few more reflections I feel I need to talk about.

Looking back to 2007 and with the start of my cycling career, I've learned a lot just from the bike alone. The bike is my best teacher in other words... what I mean is that I've learned time management, responsibility, determination and how to just deal with stuff that is beyond your control. To elaborate a little more, I've learned time management in that I had a summer job over the summer, 40 hours a week working 7 to 3:30 Mondays through Friday. I got lazy at the beginning of the summer and let my training slip... by the 3rd or 4th week of the summer I finally decided that I needed to find a better way to train and still work 40 hours a week, and I've come up with a weekly schedule that worked for me. No more staying up until 2 in the morning talking to friends over AIM, no more taking afternoon naps on a bad day, etc. I would also sometime go into work at 6 in the morning (as some of my co-workers did) and be out by 2:30 so I could have more time training in the afternoon. Either way though, once I get home after work, I'd grab something to eat, maybe take a quick nap, get dressed and get on that bike. This also helped me with my responsibility and determination aspect, in that I've learned that in the end I am responsible for my own training, and I'm the only person to force myself out there on the road.

I view 2007 as my "trial" year for the cycling season. I've gone to races clueless of tactics, skills, etc. and I would always learn from my mistakes that would often put me near last place, if not last. Like at the Allentown Sportsfest criterium race, we had like 15 laps and I was doing really well sticking with the peloton, no one was leading and no one was dropped yet. However, I made a stupid mistake by becoming greedy and wanting to get towards the front of the peloton and made the mistake of jumping on a hill too early on the 4th or 5th lap which killed my legs and I ended up getting dropped with someone else and came second to last. I believe I could've gotten top 15 in that race if I would've waited for a better time. Mistakes like those are very valuable in the first year or two. Hopefully there won't be as many mistakes this year, and I will remember the mistakes I did make last year.

I've also learned that you could be the best darn cyclist in the world, but all it takes is one bad driver who fails to see you determining whether you make it home or not. My friend and I were in a motored vehicle/bike crash within two months of each other. She got run over by a tractor trailer that cut her off, and I slammed into the side of an SUV that cut me off at an intersection. Motorists are just sometimes so oblivious to cyclists. I'll be the first to admit I used to be before becoming a competitive cyclist and riding more roads than I did as a kid. Where I'm from, cyclists are rare. Very few people are seen in spandex shorts and jersey riding a road bike. Most of the "cyclists" around here are moms, dads, kids, etc. out for a nice stroll in town on single-gear or mountain bikes. There is a really good 15 page article on this topic of cyclists getting hit and injured for life or killed by drunk drivers, cellphone users, etc. that I read in the January/February edition of Bicycling magazine. Read it, it is an interesting article! You can also find it at http://www.bicycling.com

That is pretty much for my reflections of the year 2007. I can finally say goodbye to 2007 and hello to 2008.

Tomorrow is my 23rd birthday (YAY!) and I hope to get my Trek 2100 D from the bike shop. Hopefully it is built by now, but if not I will ask them to build it by noon or 1:00 so I can get it and go out for a quick slow ride around the neighborhood. I cannot wait, the anticipation has been killing me. Tomorrow will also mark 12 weeks since my car/bike crash, which means 12 weeks I've been off the bike.

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