Thursday, February 3, 2011

Freedom in Flight

Freedom in Flight by Michele F.

The love of bikes and a passion for racing exhilarates my life 365 days a year. I’m either riding my bike, racing my bike, cleaning my bike, staring at my bike, or just thinking about my bike. Am I crazy? No, I don’t think so. I have 10+ female and 50+ male teammates that can agree with that statement. Why are our lives so engulfed with cycling? To each to their own, we all have different reasons. I do it for the freedom in flight I experience while riding and the camaraderie and fun I have while racing.

Racing is exhilarating. It gets your heart rate pumping and the sweat glands flowing. All senses are engaged while you exert and push your body to its physical limits . . . the sound of the air whipping over your body . . the scenery flying by all around you . . . the smell of spring as you race through budding orchards . . . the salty taste of sweat as beads drip down your face. It is also about the love of my bike. There is a connection between cyclist and bike that only other cyclists can understand.

My 2010 Topsport Stage Race experience exemplifies the thrill and love I have for cycling and racing. The third stage was a 69 mile road race through the rolling hills of Copperopolis and surrounding areas. All was good until we came across some bad pavement. I started to hear rattling, LOTS of rattling. I looked down and my front water bottle was doing the happy dance in its cage. There was so much vibration that the screws were coming out and I was about to lose the cage! I notified my teammates about the situation. Just before a hill, the top screw popped out and the cage flopped over. Clunk, clunk, clunk with every pedal stroke I kicked the cage and water bottle. I grabbed the bottle before it fell out and had to stick it in my mouth because the road started going up. There I was, bottle in teeth bobbing in front of my face, out of the saddle, climbing trying to stay with the pack, kicking the cage… clunk, clunk, clunk. To make matters worse, I looked down and saw that the bolt scratched my new bike before jumping ship. I drank what was left in the bottle and chucked it to the side. I was cursing while the other ladies tried to comfort me, saying nail polish would fix it. I managed to bend the water cage enough to jam it into place. I was panicky because I realized that I was staying with the pack on this hilly course, but I was down to only being able to carry one bottle and my bike was scratched. I stayed on a teammate’s wheel, but I started to drift off every once in a while because I got distracted wondering if I needed shinny, gloss, or matte black nail polish. But then someone would come up and try to take the wheel which jolted me back to the race at hand.

Riding my bike is Freedom in Flight. Racing my bike is an adrenaline rush that keeps me coming back for more. Work schedules get shifted to fit riding plans, vacations are planed around training schedules, weekends are booked months in advance for races. My teammates are my friends and become part of my family. Cycling and racing isn’t just something that I do in my life… it is my life and everything else revolves around it.


Posted by FWS... Without MF's approval... Just thought it was a
great article, and she has access to this Blog, so she can delete it
if she see's necessary.  : )

1 comment:

Old5Ten said...

anything out around copperopolis requires a good dose of LOCTITE!

elmar (dnfed due to a wobbly right drop on the handle bar, 3/4 crack through the carbon due to a crash at the finish line of the circuit race a day earlier)