“Cycling Is The Ultimate Endurance Test”
THE GREAT THING ABOUT cycling is that it’s like a meditation.
It’s one of the few sports where you don’t go out for 20 minutes or an hour — you go out for five or six hours on the bike. It’s not uncommon to ride 400 kilometers a week. It’s a long time to be by yourself on a bike.
You can go enormous distances, and when you’re fit it doesn’t matter if there’s a hill in front of you or a mountain range or a pass; you just go up it. You go slower, but you don’t even notice it because what happens is that you get so fit that when you see a hill you go, “Oh great! A hill!” And you’ll be standing on the pedals and rocking the bike and just loving it. And, when you get to peak fitness, you actually search out alpine passes and hilly areas, just for the fun of standing on those pedals and rocking that bike, because it’s such a great feeling.
When I’m at my peak fitness, I enjoy cycling Evans Pass in New Zealand. It goes up the side of a volcano and down the other side into Lyttelton. I’ll ride up it and down it, back up it and down it, and up it and down it three or four times. Just because it’s such good fun. Because you’re not limited by the physical exertion. Because your body is working like a machine.
You take a lot of flak for wearing lycra and having shaved legs. But the reason you do it is that when you crash, which you do often on a road bike, you get terrible road burns. They’re like third degree burns. And if you haven’t shaved your legs, all the hair gets into the burn and you end up with a huge festering sore. So road cyclists shave their legs so that when they come off their bikes, it reduces the healing time and chance of infection.
In my first road race I had the most horrendous accident. I was on a beautiful handmade Casati bike. I was 75 kilometers into a 100 kilometerBrian’s training bike is an Italian handmade fullcarbon Casati Rondine. Casati frames are designed and engineered at workshops in Monza, Italy.
race and going around a corner, when my bike came out from beneath me because my front tire (which was half an inch wide) caught a pebble on the road. And the bike came out from beneath me at over 30 kilometers an hour. I was skinned. It burned right through my clothing on my arms, shoulders and legs. It did about $3,000 worth of damage to my bike and wrecked about $500 worth of bike clothing. I was all bloodied and burned and the official ran over to me and said, “Quick! Get back on your bike! You’ve still got a chance to get on the back of that bunch!”
Cycling is a very tough sport. However, it’s something you can do your entire life. I’ve come across cyclists 70 to 80 years old in fabulous condition.