“Cycling Through the Seasons”

BY KENNETH LUNDGREN

First up, I want to say things have been going well. I haven’t been able to ride as much as I’d like, coaching taking up a huge chunk of my day as I’m really trying to prepare myself and the athletes for a HUGE 2009, but, in terms of my own training, I’m planning on training with intent again as the weather breaks, have begun creating the blueprints of the program…

On the racing front, I do have some very exciting news, and in a few weeks I’ll spill the beans… But I am so very stoked, to say the least… (as a coach, I always say motivation, desire, these are things I can try to teach, but I really can’t teach that, you have to want it… — well, the motivation’s there!!!)

Secondly, I’m off to Ohio in a few weeks to cover the Pavlik-Rubio fight. My days essentially consist of working for my athletes, then playing and teaching some tennis during a few evenings, and then following the sport of boxing… I write for two magazines and a website… The trip to Youngstown is going to be an incredible time, I cannot wait… Youngstown, Ohio is a quite a different place… The scene is going to be quite chaotic… Kelly Pavlik is the biggest thing in Ohio and the people LOVE him and he’s fighting in Y’town’s Chevrolet Center, selling out the seats for the first time ever… I’m actually fearing my safety a little and am already setting up plans to get escorted by a police officer (and Kelly’s friend…)!!!

The last time in Ohio, I was in my hotel room, deep in power files and going over schedules, and Kelly Pavlik’s calling me, and I’m telling him to hold on, I have to finish these files!!! 🙂 Here I am, blowing off the middleweight champ because I’m busy recording wattages!!! But that’s what nice about this, my job: I bring my laptop bag and it’s my portable office — I have no qualms working on the road. It’s part of the job!!! Gotta always stay on top of things…

Thirdly, I recently read a published article by one of my athletes, State MTB and Cyclo-Cross champ Laura Winberry, entitled, “Cycling Through the Seasons.” The piece was published by NJ Monthly. Here is the article in its entirety (my love of commuting has rubbed off on her!!!):

“An intrepid commuter sees her breath and finds chilly contentment on two wheels.

When temperatures drop and certain hours of daylight are tucked away until spring; when wind stings the skin and the energy of impending snow permeates the air; these are the moments when commuting to work becomes a mental challenge. No, not because I dread the dash from warm house to cold car, and not because I can’t stand a frigid wait at the corner bus stop. Rather, it is the thought of facing a piercing chill with but a few thin layers of spandex that is less than inviting.

It is not until the first few minutes of pedaling have passed, when the heat generated by a body in motion gives life to fingers and toes, that I come face-to-face with the mental game of cycling in subfreezing temperatures. At such a point, I always arrive at the same conclusion: I would not have it any other way.

One might suppose the winter months would call for some transportation other than a Specialized road bike for my six-mile commute. On the contrary, the onset of winter signifies only one thing: warmer clothing. Come nightfall, helmet-mounted lights, winter riding boots, gloves, and a second skin of spandex and neoprene come to serve a purpose all their own. Transformed by my clothing, it is as if I am inside a muted cocoon. Walking from the office to my chained bike, I feel like an astronaut or a scuba diver. On the road, my earflaps muffle the outside world, leaving me with the Darth Vader rasp of my own breath as it synchs with the cadence of pedaling legs.

Morning and night, my two-wheeled commute continues through most weather, save for torrential rain, treacherous ice, and sometimes snow. More than the elements, though, I must be conscious of aggressive and oblivious drivers. A few choice words come to mind when recalling the actions of certain drivers—especially the woman who laid on her horn one evening when I stopped in front of her for a red light.

After she nearly hit me from behind, I decided to strike up a conversation and tapped on the driver-side glass. The woman took a moment’s break from her cell phone and lowered the window, fake nails flashing in my direction. Her face conveyed sarcastic denial as I explained the risk of her actions and the laws as they apply to bikers and motorists alike. The confrontation seemed to fluster the woman; she raised the window and returned to her cell phone. I returned to my cocoon.

As winter sets in, the glow of electric decorations becomes a beacon for my night ride home. The sensation while gliding through darkness, lights streaking into the periphery of my vision, the recognition of coldness in the sight of my breath, it all brings me back to a point of contentment in being able to ride my bike to work, and not wanting it any other way.” Laura Winberry

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Kenneth Lundgren's Diary | Tuesday, February 10th, 2009 | | |