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Archive for July 17th, 2007

Before Lance Armstrong ever won his second Tour de France, I picked up road biking as a hobby. Yeah, I got a little bolder with my biking habits when the Lance phenomena took off in the early 2000s. But I was still ahead of the band wagon joiners.

The year the Live Strong craze took off, I ordered 20 bracelets from the LA Foundation and took them with me to Ragbrai. Ragbrai, for those of you not from Iowa, is an annual ride lasting seven days across the state, west to east, in July. As soon as I showed up for the ride sporting my yellow bracelet, riders circled around asking me where I got it. I promptly handed 15 bracelets to those asking about it and felt good about my donation to cancer research.

So cycling has been part of my life for a while. I’m not a racer and I’m not obsessive about riding. I enjoy riding. It’s not just exercise, it’s mental rehab and I love that feeling when I click my shoes into my peddles and ride out into the country.

This past year I helped plan and coordinate a pro bike race called the Great River Energy Bike Festival and Nature Valley Grand Prix. On the first night of the race (it’s a five-day stage ordeal), I was standing alongside the course in downtown St. Paul feeling the vortex of wind created by 140 pro riders flying by as they rode for an hour straight. Disbelief and admiration. These guys ranging from 18 to 40-plus years old were hammering that course at 30 miles an hour and faster. Perhaps, back when I was younger, I’d have had a chance to hang with em for a lap, but I doubt it.

And now the Tour de France is underway. Scandals aside, you gotta’ marvel at these athletes who train all year for a three-week ride up and down mountains.

Every now and then the biking gods will smile on me and I’ll have a really great ride. I’ll go faster, feel stronger, pass a few cyclists along the way and life is even better than normal.

The best part about biking? It’s just like riding a bike and once you know how, you never forget

-end-

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