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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Nowak: Selling Saturday's bike race at Abeles Field

  • The bicycling season never really ends if you have a trainer on which to mount your bike for indoor training in the winter, when the roads are sloppy, or if it's too cold for your clothing.
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  • The bicycling season never really ends if you have a trainer on which to mount your bike for indoor training in the winter, when the roads are sloppy, or if it's too cold for your clothing.
    People bicycle all winter in Alaska, so being too cold is a personal judgement and there really are great clothes to wear in below freezing temperatures.
    Sloppy roads are another thing, and I just avoid them until we have had some cleansing rains, or it has been dry and windy enough to clean sand from the roads.
    The worst bicycling accident I ever had was in Germany when I hit a patch of road sand near the shoulder. I went down and bent the crank and messed up a knee.
    On the other hand, the first big outdoor bicycling event of the season is always the last Saturday in January in Leavenworth, and it will once again be at Abeles Field on the running track.
    The track may get some snow and ice on it, but it will not have any sand.
    In fact, if there is any chance at all that there will be snow or ice, the team from Santa Fe Trails Bicycle and Coffee Shop will be out there early to remove it so everyone can have a safe ride.
    Brendan Sheehan sponsors an annual Cancerthon to give everyone a chance to get on their bikes outdoors, where you can ride safely with lots of other bicyclists and get some needed sunshine.
    He encourages you to form three-person teams that rotate on and off the track during the six-hour racing day.
    The team that goes the farthest is the winner.
    The neat thing about riding with a team is that you will only be riding for one-third of the time.
    That means you can enjoy the hot soup and munch on the sandwiches during your breaks.
    Some folks will ride individually instead of forming a team and that is OK, too.
    You have to be a serious rider if you expect to win the prize for the top individual, as some of these crazy folks have been doing more than 100 miles in the six hours, which runs from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday.
    I think it's a good guess that anyone who rides more than 100 miles or even close to that in six hours has been training all winter on an indoor trainer. I think all of the health and fitness clubs in the area have indoor cycles for spinning, although at the bike shop you can ride to videos that are made specifically for bicyclists.
    On Friday nights, you can even ride and watch a bicycling movie.
    Page 2 of 2 - I still don't understand why local schools and universities don't have bicycling teams as part of their sports programs.
    A lot of the active duty and retired military ride at the bike shop and ride on the racing team, so I'm guessing that if it's good for soldiers, it's probably good for civilians, too.
    Many larger universities, like the University of Kansas, have club teams, so there is a place to go if you enjoy bicycle racing, but you really should be starting out in grammar school, or at least high school if you expect to do really well.
    The bike shop sponsors a team and the only cost for membership is that you need to buy a team jersey.
    Most members are adults, but there are several youth members and they often race for free since everyone wants to encourage youths to ride.
    In the meantime, you should get on your bike and ride in the annual bike event at Abeles Field on the last Saturday in January.
    There is a registration fee which goes to charity and you can check it out at the bike shop or just show up Saturday.
    Matt Nowak lives in Lansing and works as a natural resources manager.

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