Cycling Wed Cyclocross Exercise Healthy Living

Cycling Wed: It’s Cyclocross Time–Thanks Body!

(Sorry folks, I published this post last night but with the wrong date. As we say in the EP lab: “rookie mistake.”)

For many bike racers, the end of summer marks the beginning of cyclocross season.

So it was tonight, an unusually perfect August evening, that the Louisville (KY) cycling community enjoyed its first cyclocross practice of the year.

Is he really writing a ride recap?


(Come to think about it, writing frivolous ride reports is how I got the idea of a blog in the first place.) ;

What a turnout we had. At least sixty riders showed up for the cannabinoid-receptor stimulation that comes with racing bikes in dirt, grass and sand. You would not normally think of Kentucky as a cycling state, but when it comes to cyclocross, we are an anomaly. It’s like a spore floated over from Belgium and landed right in the heart of tobacco, bourbon and high-fructose corn syrup country.

To practice…

After riding only a road bike this summer (hand surgery), my body had grown accustomed to smooth surfaces and fast speeds. That’s not cyclocross. Cross is rough, and much slower. One word comes to mind—tension.

At first I wasn’t sure. I missed the road bike. But soon the tension of the pedals and the swoosh of the bike took over. It felt good again.

Hold on; let’s restate that last sentence:

It’s hard to put into words exactly how good these sensations feel. Sure, it’s all a little slower in middle age, but the body can still do things. A confession: I was talking to my imaginary buddy again. Tonight, I was in a thankful sort of mind.

Thanks legs—for pushing down and pulling up so hard.

Thank you heart—for staying regular and squeezing so thoroughly.

Thank you thumbs (ulnar collateral ligaments)—for gripping strongly to the bars.

Thank you spinal discs—for not herniating and pressing on a nerve.

And thanks brain—so often you get taken for granted–but without your control over the chaos there would be no bike riding with friends—fast or slow.

That’s the thing about cyclocross: it’s demanding on the entire body. You need everything to work. And when it does, it forces you to think about how cool it is to have a body that works so well. Not everyone is so lucky. I realize nothing lasts forever (I see that every day), but for this moment, it’s good to have all the parts working.

Finally, my mind comes back to work life. I’m thinking about my patients. I want to tell them how awesome the human body is. How it will respond to regular use and good fuel. I want to convince them that these sensations are real, and possible. They too can love exercise; no, wait, don’t call it exercise, that sounds to medicinal; call it (normal) life.

Using the human body–it’s so worth it. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that the human body may even surpass Apple products.

After practice my son asked me: “how was it up there for you?”

A wave of gratitude rushed through my mind.

Damn fun.


P.S. Here’s an attempt to explain cyclocross. (from 2010.)

5 replies on “Cycling Wed: It’s Cyclocross Time–Thanks Body!”

As a cyclist and racer, I have yet to try cyclecross, but it looks, and sounds, like a blast.
As a massage therapist, I see cyclecross as providing a whole new category of clients. Any of those muscles, joints, ligaments or tendons needing a little tender loving care this morning?

Somebody once described CX to me as the tractor pull of the cycling world. Maybe that’s why it fits in so well here. I love it; love watching it, love the idea, love banging a cowbell and screaming in the rain; I’d love to ride it, but my knees are sketchy and mud in cleats seems like a bad idea. So you keep at it and maybe I’ll watch you at a race sometime.

“as we say in the EP lab: Rookie mistake”. I hope you don’t let the patient on the table hear you say that. 🙂

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