AGR is almost one month old. If you’ve been along for the ride so far, thank you! If you’re just jumping in, welcome! One of the best aspects of blogging has been connecting with other bloggers who share a passion for riding a bike. Everyone has a story to tell, a perspective, insight, that’s what makes blogging and reading blogs so fun.
One blogger who I’ve recently connected with is Tony Steward over at Joe to Pro Cycling. Tony has a great blog and a really compelling story. He posted an interview he did with me last week and I’d thought I’d share one of my responses. You can read the full interview and check out Joe to Pro at the link at the end of this post. Thanks Tony!
What do you love most about cycling that gets you on the bike year after year?
This might sound kind of strange but one of the reasons I love cycling is that I’m fascinated with human transformation and growth. I once read that the human body is one of the only organisms in nature that doesn’t break down under stress but becomes stronger and more efficient (with appropriate recovery of course). Our bodies and minds are amazingly adaptable over long periods of time. When I first started training to race, I rode a lot with a friend who raced pro on the LA Sheriffs team back in the ’90′s. He had untold thousands of miles in his legs and always looked effortless on the bike. He told me that in your first 5 years of cycling, you’re literally teaching your body how to become more efficient – oxygen consumption, energy expenditure, muscles/heart/brain working in syncopation. There are changes and adaptations going on in your body on the cellular level.
The key, he told me, is to just relax and let the body and mind do their thing. You can’t rush growth and transformation. It takes years, not just a few months, for these changes to take place. It’s a much longer view than just “getting in shape.” That’s why riders in their 30′s, 40′s, and even 50′s can ride so hard and are often stronger than younger riders even if the older riders haven’t been riding much recently. It’s telling that the hardest, fastest amateur races here in California are often the 35+ and 40+ masters.
I find it fascinating that power in a cyclist can’t necessarily be seen off the bike like in other sports. Basketball players are tall; football players are physically huge, but aside from being lean the best cyclists in the world look like normal people on the street (maybe even frail). It’s like the inherent power in a strong rider is just sitting there unnoticed until the time comes to use it…then, bam. But even for the best cyclists in the world, the rules of growth and transformation still apply. That’s where we’re all in the same boat. The body learns, adapts, grows, transforms. Similar to the way human character grows and transforms over the course of your life, it takes patience and time. In microscopic ways, one ride at a time, you are becoming a different person.
You can read the rest of the interview here: Christmas Eve Interview with Matt Bond (cc: @artofthegroupride) | Joe to Pro Cycling.