Some say it’s the first lawn mowing of the season; others say it’s the first cardinal at the bird feeder. I say nothing signifies that warm weather is here to stay more than digging the bike out of the garage, dusting off the seat, and taking her for a spin around the block to make sure the tires have not atrophied during her long winter nap. If it’s a road bike your digging out, it’s ok to feel some trepidation during this re-bonding with your perfect machine. The past year has been tough on the big crank crowd with Lance Armstrong’s doping house of cards crumbling around him and the rest of pro cycling, culminating in his ‘eh, so what’ appearance on Oprah’s therapy couch. You’ll be excused for having some apprehension when getting back in the saddle. What will people think? PEDs? EPO? HGH?
Luckily for the amateur, the only thing you’ll have to worry about people thinking you’re on is TTS – Too Tight Spandex – which, despite its short-term benefits can take a toll on the body over prolonged use. That’s the beauty of riding or racing for the Average Joe; with no huge purses or sponsorships on the line, it’s easy to pedal hard for yourself and embrace the challenge of getting better, faster, stronger on your own accord instead of the chemical reactions going on inside your body.
To that end, check out the Boone-Roubaix Spring Classic Race and Gran Fondo this weekend. This 50-mile race features challenging climbs – including the “Koppenberg of the High Country” – and 10 miles of unpaved road modeled off of the famous Paris-Roubaix and its cobblestones. Make sure you are warmed up – the don’t call this race The Hell of the High Country for nothing. If you are interested in something more casual, try the Gran Fondo, a casual ride for casual riders along the same course as the racers. If you are interested in something even more casual than that, this race is set up great for spectators – race organizers even have a map with alternate routes and the best spots – so grab a folding chair, make and obnoxious sign, don your best chicken suit, and park it on the side of the road. BYOB.
View Boone-Roubaix 2013 Spectator and Volunteer Map in a larger map