Wednesday, September 27, 2017

What's in a bike?

Leadership and academic strategies abound for raising children growing up through the modern American malaise.

11yr old Josh Morris of BIKE LAW schooling a 45 yr. old NIKE exec.
Well balanced,  and resilient high school graduates are the holy grail of parents and teachers alike. But a child's personal choices are the specter of unknown probability in our search for quality citizenry.

Many would say, "all youth are at risk today, and not just those living in the inner city." Drugs, violence, crime, and video game lethargy are but a few of the modern phenomena that invade the idle moments of a young person's life. There are no guarantees that a perfectly balanced, well adjusted person won't make a bad choice.

When we think back over our lives, how many gifted and talented children with kind parents, from privileged backgrounds have gone out into the world and made catastrophic choices?

Some people however, learn to transcend their set-backs in life. You knock em down, they get up. You lock em up, and they get out to become President of their country. Some people become  highfalutin celebrities, but stay grounded, and humble.  What is that? Why do they choose the way they do?

Tristan Young
 I don't know.

But I do know...
Bicycle riding improves the statistics.
Bicycle riding puts the young perspective on the happy side of life. The hopeful side of life. And it adds the well received patina of aerobic athleticism to a young person's attributes. Energy to perform easily, as well as societal good looks for others to shape their impressions, give a teenager confidence.

Bicycles teach best life practices through discipline and freedom.
Kids pedal through their anger, and frustration, but are restricted to good form by their pedals' crank arm length. 
Goals are like bicycle driven destinations, there is just no way to get out of powering up the watts required to travel the distance to the desired destination.

In twenty five years of coaching bicycle racing, I have come to believe laughter is one sign of something good going on. Interspersed with episodes of extreme oxygen debt,  the laughter helps shape a good strong person. Compassion is one outcome that deep breathing and team work, when combined, seem to promote.

A bicycle's pedal stroke is also an excellent coach of  Good Form as a concept. Regular Saturday practices with the Team are an excellent coach of Benevolence and friendship.

One of our students challenged by our weekly team ride is 16 year old Tristan Young, of Beaverton, Oregon. Tristan arrived with a  passion for cycling, but without much of an outlet. Tristan is challenged by traffic filled roads, and by his learning style. Tristan has Autism. Today Tristan rides in a paceline with others in traffic, and competes in Oregon Bicycle Racing Association events. He became the Oregon Cup Individual Time Trial Champ for his age division in 2016.

Tristan says, "It's hard to focus when I really just want to do some thing, but then I remember i have to listen." Tristan adds in regard to cycling practice, "little things bother me when I am out and about during Practice."
He lists: "if my bike is not working like I want it to, or my mom wants me to put on sunscreen, or there is too much going on in the pack on the street, it bothers me."

Tristan takes this weekend challenge on, recovers, and is strengthened for daily life at his high school during the week. Of late, Tristan has been "mainstreamed" and gets his education in regular public school class rooms.

Tristan needs a village. Cycling has given Tristan and the other children on his team a safe social circle to perform in.
For example, Tristan's efforts have been noticed by caring adults in the cycling world. People in the Portland area like Bob Mionskie who rode for the National Team, and Dave  Guettler, Owner of River City Bicycles, have come together to level Tristan's playing field by supplying him with professional equipment to pursue his goals. (see here)

Water fight.. on a hot day? Really?
For kids like Tristan the bicycle is more than just a toy. The bicycle is a passport to a language of laughter describing what happiness feels like. His bicycle offers a vision of how he wants to shape his happiness with the help of others. Simply his bicycle clues him in on how much strength is required to get there. The bicycle is his passport, his teacher, and his friend.

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Secret Team


Joshua off the front!
Arrival at the confidence, speed, and prowess required for a bike racer to train well, is elusive. Racing safely is predicated on the success of training.

How do cyclists get to be race ready?

In part, the requirement is clear goal declaration. By stating out-loud to others that we want to be fast, and maybe win the State Champs at that, is how we get locked in to our goals.

Clearly stated goals help others to get involved in a positive way.

New Talent get a lot of misleading information from other good looking - seemingly accomplished competitors who talk loud and fast with nebulous, if not destructive intentions.
Racers find a clear path from a trusted coach. Using honest and knowledgable feed-back is a sure way to add depth and clarity to the goal-oriented racer's training path.
Dubble D - there for Jake in '11. There for WORD in '17.

However, coaches are challenged by beginners who don't know yet what their options are for goal making.
Coaches suggest the options, but racers must hear the voice of wisdom.
Sometimes a new person who in the moment wants to be in our practice, will then in the next week wax unsure.

Ironically, confidence comes most easily from the crowd. The team dynamic.

This year our team had many of the same building blocks as so many successful Cyclisme teams in years before.
They enjoyed a "Rocky Rabbit" traditional winter road ride promoted weekly, so a larger group could train together working on the general tactics of road racing. But this year, finding a quorum of participants who had the confidence and clarity to show up week after week, without break for 6-10 weeks, was impossible.

Cobbled together with intermittent appearances, the group improved anyway. Maybe not at the rate the most competitive OBRA Teams do, but small improvement for some was more encouraging and useful than for others.
Finally, near the end of 2017, some of the interested found a place to showcase their improvement in racing's "low lying fruit" individual TT competitions out at the velodrome called "PVC TT's" on Tuesday Nights. Low and behold, they even found some old Cyclisme Leadership out there, waiting ready to serve.
Dan Dubble D Dhonau had been honing his individual TT program for more than a few years. When our 2017 graduates of the Winter Program arrived as a gaggle at Alpenrose Velodrome, Dubble D looked up, smiled, and decided to really train. He made a voiced goal.
His clarity led our success. And though we got ready to race about the time the racing season was over, at least we got ready.

The preparation will only prepare us for next year.