Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Laurent Fignon

Screw Lance Armstrong. Laurent Fignon is my guy. My memory of cycling goes back into the 80's when Professor Fignon was dueling with Greg Lemond on summer afternoons on network tv. We'd immediately head out on our weighty ten speeds and have tour de neighborhood. Is it weird to admit that I still sometimes fantasize about being the Prof. when pedaling up a grueling hill on a "BIKE RIDE?" Ok, that is kind of weird.

Which brings me to me my point.

I just don't get the whole "CYCLING" thing. Last week I cracked out the bike while nursing a slightly tweaked toe. Still needing some sort of physical activity, figured I'd CYCLE for a bit. My bike needs an "I'd rather be frickin' running" fender sticker.

Before I took off I told myself I'd: A. keep it in the highest gear B. never take my butt off the seat C. Take the route around E-town with the most hilly sort of things.

So I did that for an hour and you know what? I still didn't feel it was a workout. It was a nice BIKE RIDE, a way to break a slight sweat and see the world a bit differently for an hour, but it wasn't much in terms of CYCLING or what felt to me like exercise. Why? Here's what I can come up with:

-My bike is old and heavy. A 10 year old Specialized hybrid bike. I like it, but it's a bit clunky, sits upright, and I'm sure it's not a real CYCLING bike. The whole gear head CYCLIST/Triathlete scene just isn't for me. If I had 2 g to drop on a bike, maybe I'd feel more Lance-ish.

-Hills. Yeah, they go up, great, my quads feel it a bit, but what about down? Coasting ain't a workout it's...coasting. You can pedal all you want to give the illusion of exercise, but coasting is coasting and it's easy. Pfft.

-Spandex. I don't wear it unless it's Under Armour under da' shorts on a long run. You can't be a real CYCLIST without spandex. Science and God both say so.

-Gears. They make CYCLING easy. It's like cheating, and I'm not down with that.

My heart may still be with Laruent-- he's forever cooler than that corporate ho, Lance--and I'll still invoke his name while grinding my way up that quarter mile climb on 117 (Woodford Alps), but bet your $5000 tri bike it will be on a BIKE RIDE and not while CYCLING.


Harriet said...

Personally, when I try to cycle, it is my butt that limits the time I can spend (I wear the mountain bike shorts with the padding underneath a loose nylon shell).

To get a workout, I can do something like repeated hill loops; the downhills are the rest intervals. No, it isn't running or swimming.

Jim said...

You could always buy a single speed bike and do solo 24 hour mountain bike races - I assure you they are just as much of a workout as running a 100 mile ultra. They're also more mentally draining since you have worry about wrecking.

dirt_trail_runner said...

we have good mountain biking trails, but of course no mountains. mountain biking is ok, but i'd rather be trail running, i guess. i've been in colorado and seen the dudes riding road bikes in the "ride colorado" thing. that's gotta be a hell of a workout.

Jelle said...

When you keep your bike in the highest gear for one hour, you can not achieve a high power output. You are probably cycling at 60% of your power! Use the lower gears and get your legs spinning at about 85-95 rpm (optimum for the human muscles), get out of the saddle etc. like the pros do! It will feel difficult at first but you have to get used to higher legtempo to get higher poweroutput and good workout.
Jelle, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.