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Saul’s Cycling Stories: To Legacy With Love

April 9, 2010

I once read that the reason people fall in love with cycling is that while you are out cruising down the road on your bicycle the same endorphins are released as when you are around the person that you really have the hots for. Whether I am grinding my way up a beautiful canyon road or barreling down along the country fields, I love every moment of it.

I have been on many rides that have thrilled me through and through but there is one in particular that I am sure the endorphins were flowing more than ever before.  This ride was absolutely incredible! For several days I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

I saw advertisements for a bicycle race that would take place on the first day that Legacy Highway, a scenic, newly built highway, would be open.  I talked to my Dad, who also rides a road bike, about it and we decided to go ahead and register for this momentous occasion. That proved to be a fantastic idea.

It was only a 20 mile race so what I did to train was just go for short rides and ride my guts out, going as fast as my legs would propel me.  When race day came my Dad and I woke up really early, ate a good breakfast, and loaded up our bikes to go and see how we could compete with the other 850+ people that signed up. I was feeling pretty nervous but excited as well.  I had never ridden with a group of people but had heard great things about it.

The race began and we were off…sort of.  My legs had gotten really cold while waiting for the race to start which made for a rough beginning.  Once I was warmed up a bit I felt wonderful.  Riding in a pack was like nothing I had ever experienced before.  Here we were, just a bunch of strangers all working together. In cycling, someone is usually at the head of the group and breaks the wind for those behind, when the leader gets tired he/she drops back and the next person in line takes the lead.  By doing this you can conserve up to 30% of your energy.

Before I knew it we were at the halfway mark and it was time to head back.  Up until this point I stuck with my Dad, but right when we hit that turn around point I decided to see what my legs were made of.  So I took off as fast as I could. There were two other riders that I jumped on with and the three of us rode together..

It was awesome!  We would ride with a lager group of people and work our way up through that group and then the three of us would shoot ahead and attack the next pack of riders.  We were flying!  We were like an animal of prey chasing down its next meal. Our speeds averaged around 26-27 miles an hour.  Each of us took our turn as the windbreaker, which in a small group of three really wore me out because my turn to lead came a lot quicker than before.

Toward the end, we caught this really big group and rode among them the rest of the way.  The last couple of miles were quite hard though because my left calf started to cramp up. To prevent the excruciating pain I had to pedal with my heel pressed down to stretch my calf muscle.  This made for an awkward pedaling motion but luckily I was able to hang with the pack.

I rolled across the finish line after about 50 minutes after my start time, which was good enough for third place in my age group.  My Dad came in about five minutes later.  After talking briefly about how much fun it was we loaded up our bikes and headed home.  Man, what super morning!  One I will not soon forget.

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