Motivation

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What Makes a Hill a Climb?

A lot of discussion in cycling revolves around the awesome climbs that separate race winners from also-rans.  Amateur cycling is no different with Sunday group rides and Tuesday Night Worlds all being known for the discussion of the “brutal climbs” on the routes.  But everyone seems to have a different definition of what constitutes a “brutal climb” these days.  So what makes your local hill an actual “climb?”

Read along and see if your regular leg buster is indeed a legitimate climb or if that monster is, by definition, just a bump in the road.

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Pinning On A Number Again – My Return To Racing Post Injury

Most of you are aware that I spent most of the last year on the sidelines after I crashed out of an early season race.  That day started like every other race I’d ever ridden.  I arrived early, checked in at registration, got help from my teammates with pinning on a number (37 it turned out), took an Instagram photo of it to share and then went about warming up.  Fast forward to a few weeks post surgery and my season was as shattered as my collarbone.

While waiting for my fractures to heal and my strength to return, I wondered how I would go about getting back in the pack.  I spent the rest of the year training solo to regain the fitness and form I had lost during recovery.  I jumped into numerous group rides in hopes of shaking my daemons.  In reality, I was hoping to be pinning on a number again soon.

I admittedly had a very hard time with those first group rides after getting back on the bike.  I got dropped on group rides with my teammates that I used to dominate.  My fitness was fine, I just wasn’t holding the wheels I needed to be.  I wasn’t comfortable getting in tight with a peloton, even if it was made of my own teammates.

I had lost my mojo.  And I wasn’t sure how to get it back.

I had always found it easy to move through a pack of riders.  Find an empty spot and claim it.  Use your elbows to assert your claim to your little space in the group.  Don’t be afraid to put your hand on someone else’s hip and let them know you’re there.  These are the things I not only taught fledgling racers, but the things I did every weekend after pinning on a number.

Now I was afraid to do them all.

As the winter wore on, I sat on my trainer and wondered how I was going to get back to racing a bike, an activity which I loved dearly but was now terrified of.

Then I hatched a plan…

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The Relationship Between Caffeine, Coffee and Bikes

From days gone by when Tour de France cyclists relied on the caffeine as a performance enhancer to the current day “coffee shop ride”, coffee and bikes have been an inseparable pair.  Cyclists have long had a love of coffee both for the taste, the performance benefits and the social interaction involved with a cup of joe.  Pre-ride, post-ride or mid-ride, so much of the sport revolves around coffee and the caffeine within.

But why?

Is it because cycling is traditionally a European sport, and Europeans themselves have a love affair with the coffee bean?  Or does it have something to do with the warming feeling of a cup of joe before an early morning slog?  Maybe some love the performance enhancing effects of caffeine?  Is social interaction a primary motivator?

Maybe it’s one of those reasons.

Maybe it’s just a little more intangible than any of those.

Click through the jump for some info on the performance enhancing effects of caffeine and why coffee and bikes belong together.

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