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Contest with Prizes: SHORT Essay, "How Cycling Has Affected Your Life" in 9 Words

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Contest with Prizes: SHORT Essay, "How Cycling Has Affected Your Life" in 9 Words

Old 05-23-12, 06:34 AM
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Tom Stormcrowe
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Contest with Prizes: SHORT Essay, "How Cycling Has Affected Your Life" in 9 Words

Well, good morning, and here's the contest. In this thread, give us a quick overview of how cycling has impacted your life. The catch is to do it in 100 words or less, in a single post, in this thread. The prizes for the best two are free iPhone Apps to be given out. This contest will run for a week here. Good luck, and have fun with this!
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Old 05-23-12, 08:00 AM
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Four years ago I started on a journey called college. At the time I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, or how I would pay back all the student loan debt. The first two years I switched majors 3 times, still not fully satisfied with my current major. That all changed when I found bikes. After riding, I became more passionate and open minded about life. I found a major I love, and now work for the best bike company in the world (Trek), doing the two things I’m most passionate about, photography and bicycles.
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Old 05-23-12, 10:59 AM
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I started cycling regularly to get to work. It started as a hobby, & quickly turned into an obsession. From BMX, to mountain, to CX, my new love is road bikes. I lost inches from my waist, & am in the best shape in a long time. No more "lovehandles"!!!
I average about 1000 KMs a month, & will watch the total kms grow once I finish building my road bike in a week.
When I'm not riding, I'm wishing I was.
Rain,shine,snow, or slush, I ride in any conditions.
My bikes are my babies.
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Old 05-26-12, 07:49 PM
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I dated a French gal in the 70's. Smoking beautiful red head with dark eyes. She liked silver jewelry, an odd mix of the good, the bad, and the ugly. I spent a lot of time on her very flexible body. We traveled miles together. She had work done to keep her youth but living on the harsh coast took its toll. She hid away and we forgot about each other. One day I spotted her hanging out in a garage full of Mountain Men. They were rugged but she smiled at me, it was love all over again.
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Old 05-26-12, 09:57 PM
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How Cycling Has Affected My Life in 100 Words or Less

Cycling gave me the freedom to explore the neighbourhood when I was a child, and the world as an adult. Cycling satisfies my desire for adventure, exploration, and challenge. Cycling has inspired me to try new things, and to live outside my comfort zone.

I developed relationships through cycling – a closer bond with my parents, who cycle too, and friends all over the world, especially my husband who shares my love of cycling. I’m a Canadian prairie girl living, working, and travelling in Australia with a man I would never have met had I not been a cyclist.

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Old 05-27-12, 05:30 AM
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Suffering from clinical depression, cycling has erased the demons from my mind, it creates a sense of purpose and achieves stability from adverse thoughts.
A form of physical medication which deviates from the norm and allows one to express the individualality in all of us.
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Old 05-27-12, 03:30 PM
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I walk funny, talk funny, and dress funny. I can't name my county commissioner, but I can name the last 30 winners of Milan-San Remo. All of my socks have writing on them. My tan lines make me look like neapolitan ice cream. I have no money in my IRA, but I have a garage full of bikes. I eat like a bird with the appetite of an elephant. And I get absolutely nothing done in July. But... I have friends in every state and stories to last a lifetime. I'll keep cycling.
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Old 05-27-12, 04:12 PM
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Cycling has NOT changed my life at all.
I started riding when I was four years old (I am now 54) and since then,
with the exception of when I was injured,
it has ALWAYS been in my life.
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Old 05-28-12, 11:28 AM
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My soul is dead without cycling. Cycling is the synapse to my entire existence. I dream about cycling, I wake up thinking about cycling, and then I bike. fast. My mind goes clear; all negativity erased and tossed into the wind. I cut through depression, attack into bliss, and descend into euphoria. When the workout is over, I realize this day has been good. very good.
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Old 05-28-12, 12:55 PM
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It was a typical weekday afternoon. Work was a bit slow, and I had caught up with the weekly deadlines by putting in a few hours on Saturday. I had eaten well in the morning and stayed hydrated. It was an important day, as I was going to try some sprint intervals over my lunch hour in my Vibram Five Finger shoes. The whole barefoot running thing was going well. I had started slow with the training, 1/2 mile to mile long runs, for 5-6 months, working up to occasional 2-4 mile runs once or twice a week. At least I though I had started slow enough. Working out over the lunch hour is one of my favorite things to do. It gets me out of the office, wakes me up for the rest of the afternoon, and helps me avoid spending money at lunch, or taking part in some company provided unhealthy meal. Every other day I also go in the evening, for some additional exercise.

I'm not built for running. I'm just shy of 5'-10" in shoes, and about 220 soaking wet, 10% body fat, and carry probably 51% of it in my upper body. I don't have long legs, nor are they skinny, I just have a long torso and a 450 benching 54" chest. But at 220, long distance running is hard on the knees and various other joints. Believe it or not, the minimalist running shoe training had put about 1" of muscle circumference on my calf muscles, and up'd me a 1/2 shoe size because of how you utilize leg muscles when running with forefoot technique. I had given bafe foot running to lesson knee pain, based on my research, and had received exactly those results. In fact no knee pain. But this isn't about running or minimalist shoes, and little did I know that solving knee problems by changing running technique meant other problems.

I had previously worked up to 5k runs in under 25 minutes which isn't bad for a meathead in his 30's, but I didn't want to run off my muscle so I had elected to try sprit intervals, a common technique for heart rate / cardio training that adds a little anaerobic muscle exercise as well. So I warm up with a medium speed a one mile run, and it felt pretty good. Some quick dynamic stretching and I'm off sprinting, one lap sprint, followed by 2 laps walking (indoor 1/12 mile track). I start slower at first and with each sprint, increase my effort.. After 3 sprints, I'm a little winded but feel pretty good; though oddly have shin splints which I never have. I ask myself why do i do this to my body. I'm not a competitive athlete, though I probably could be. I'm closer to 40 than 30, and have spent about 15 years pumping iron. I'm not really sure why. Women don't really dig muscles anymore. They prefer pretzel boy, pale, metrosexual vampires. I'm practically married anyway and happy. I have some minor hereditary back pain issues worsened by dumb training technique at times, but am otherwise in pretty good shape. I have been my whole life. I know why,I'm going to live forever! Use it or lose it! Right?

Bam, I'm off for another sprint, lengthening my stride, kicking hard and fast like I'm back in high school running track--I'm still fast, I'm a badass for my age. Hell I'm going to run a sub 50 second 400 at the Iowa Games and make all these middle aged lazy pot bellied workaholic types afraid. I'm going to make them look at their wives in shame, and get the look look back only a women can have.

I push harder, hell lets kick out two laps in a row, go to exhaustion, and get this sprint stuff over with, since my lungs and chest were starting to feel as if I'd been sitting in a dry sauna for two hours. Harder, faster stronger. Ya that's right Goldielocks up there on the cardio mezzanine is looking at this bad ass of genetics and dedication. She probably thinks I'm 25. I look 25 don't I? Too bad I'm not single, because.... Wait a minute. OUCH!!!!!

Right shin explodes in pain. I finish the last 50 feet at a limping crawl, wondering what just happened. My lungs are flipping me the bird, my brain is saying finish the lap. My shin, both shins really are throbbing, burning, and generally unpleasant. I starting walking. Ah it's nothing, just some muscle cramps. Bah shin splints. Hrmm walking it off isn't working. Yep, walking hurts to. I test my full weight on the bad leg and hop a little. Bad idea, instant pain. Goldielocks isn't looking. She's filling some pretzel boy trainer type, and come to think about it, she looks about 65, I guess I should be wearing glasses before mentally projecting my hope of another woman's desire in some attempt to salvage my waning middle aged virility. Yep still hurts. ****.

So now I hobble to the stretching room, do my typical routine. I take a shower and yep still hurts, and even looks swollen. I get home and start the online WTF did I do searching on fitness, health, and medical web sites. Wow, I broke my leg running probably. Stress fracture likely. Yep acute isolated pain check. Pain directly on the bone, check. Swollen right on the bone, check. Stretching doesn't help, check. Pain is more impact related than from the flexing of the foot, calf etc, check. I call my brother who is a physical therapist. He has me do some simple tests, then says with the typical Dr's disclaimer, "well I can't be sure without an x-ray, and even then its hard to see until the bone starts to calcify, but a stress fracture is what it sounds like". GREAT, I broke my fraking leg running? I imagine my masculinity failing, flapping in the wind like an uncooked hotdog. So how do I get better? "Don't run for about 3-5 months.". ACK! Captain Meathead not run and do cardio for 3-5 months!? Thanks Bro why didn't you go to medical school, become a Dr so you could right me a prescription for anti-anxiety meds! Why don't I just break out the xbox, throw in COD, buy a case of COD edition mountain dew, and 6 bags of COD edition Doritoes - this will be fun!


"Well you could try biking", my brother said.

Biking? What's that? Thats not exercise. Oh ya I still have a pretty decent shimano XT equipped mountain bike somewhere don't I. Hell, I used to ride that thing all the time. It cost me near $1000 back in the 90's. I even did a 200 mile, 3 day road tour on it with all of the snobby roadie types blazing by me on the down hills. Hrmm. "You can do sprint intervals on an exercise bike. We have some of our college athletes use this for recovery of various injuries. It will kick your ass," my brother said. Pedal 30 seconds all out, then take minute rests on an exercise bike increasing resistance as leg strength allows. Didn't sound too bad.

He wasn't kidding, it sucked and didn't bother my leg at all. For stress fractures, you really can't do much other than stay off them, and avoid impact exercises that cause pain. Swimming was suggested as well, and I did do some of that, but the pool at my gym is populated by some of the most disgusting people I've ever seen, and has so much chlorine in it, I think it was bleaching my skin! Bike sprints it was.

Well living in Iowa, there is a pretty big biker following and a thing called Ragbrai. Look it up. Its not exactly a bike race of the most talent, athletic, and serious riders....that's an understatement. But it is fun. I have friends who ride. Ok so let's buy a road bike. A craigslist buy satisfies me for a month and I upgrade to a Trek Madone. Letting my leg heal can be fun! Biking is fun again, I forgot how much! Sure the roadie types are still a little off with the matching tight outfits, shaved legs, and disregard for traffic laws, but so what! So I ride some of Ragbrai. It goes well other than the fact that I acquire some kind of Satan conceived road rash from my thighs rubbing together, and my sit bones feel like I just spent 3 hours riding gravel roads in the back of an old pickup. Bike shorts? Thigh cream? I guess I should have listened to my roadie friends on that one. I'm still never shaving my legs.
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Old 05-29-12, 07:19 AM
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In 2004, a self-inflicted near-death experience scared me back into reality. Being raised on two wheels, I forgot about the bike during mid-life. Drinking, smoking, eating to excess caught up in my early 40’s, and cycling saved me.

From a 10-speed with suicide levers and rolled bars on my paper route in the 70’s, to now building my own bikes, the future is brighter and longer. Friends notice my healthy decisions and are curious, some asking for guidance.

Cycling starts off as a personal passion and evolves into gentle yet strong wave of positive influence.
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Old 05-29-12, 07:57 AM
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How has cycling affected my life -
We shall start at the beginning, when cycling wasn't part of my life and I had one. I never had to worry about time in a day to fit a ride or whether my wife would accidentally wash and dry my cycle clothing. I never had to worry about getting my next fix or buying a bottle cage to match my tires, which I had just matched to my saddle and bar tape. I never had to worry about being fifty miles from home and wonder who would come and get me if I couldn't make it back or crashed. I never thought that those were things people imagined. Things aren't so simple now though. I find myself debating sleep vs ride time. I'm always looking for that next bike. Planning a next ride. Consuming, contemplating, watching this stuff on TV. Some people like Ferrari's, I enjoy sweating it out with only my legs to get me home. So you wanted to know how cycling has affected my life? Immensely.
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Old 05-29-12, 02:02 PM
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I have watched the Tour de France for about two years, until July 2011 when I decided this was for me. I went on vacation to Italy and got all of the equipment necessary for cycling, and obviously a bike. Since then I have been spending majority of my time on this forum and on the internet trying to seek out new ways to become better. My ambition or main goal of my life now is to ride a stage in the Giro d'Italia. Ryder Hesjedal has given me confidence in showing that this is possible. Wish me luck!
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Old 05-29-12, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Jseis View Post
I dated a French gal in the 70's. Smoking beautiful red head with dark eyes. She liked silver jewelry, an odd mix of the good, the bad, and the ugly. I spent a lot of time on her very flexible body. We traveled miles together. She had work done to keep her youth but living on the harsh coast took its toll. She hid away and we forgot about each other. One day I spotted her hanging out in a garage full of Mountain Men. They were rugged but she smiled at me, it was love all over again.
wow. I actually thought you were talking about a girl..anyway, I hope you never separate again. Take care of her. Through thick and thin, healthy or sick, rain or shine!
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Old 05-29-12, 07:56 PM
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Originally Posted by sstang13 View Post
wow. I actually thought you were talking about a girl..anyway, I hope you never separate again. Take care of her. Through thick and thin, healthy or sick, rain or shine!
"We traveled miles together" That French "gal" and I were in Guelph, Ontario... together, summer of '76.
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Old 05-29-12, 08:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Jseis View Post
"We traveled miles together" That French "gal" and I were in Guelph, Ontario... together, summer of '76.
Nice to know. How did you find Guelph? I wish I had mountains to train on :'( ! And I wouldn't know exactly how it was here in '76, I was born in '96.
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Old 05-31-12, 10:21 AM
  #17  
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And the contest is closed, and I'll be reviewing the submissions and have the winners up soon. The contest will reopen in another forum today.
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Old 05-31-12, 12:01 PM
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Congratulations to ThinLine and Event Services....
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