A Passion to Ride, A Passion to Race

You head out on your Surly Pacer as the dappled sunlight glints off its shiny steel frame. You leave a day of work and those cares behind you as you pedal. Your body, slightly stiff from a day of holding itself up in office chairs while you hunched over a keyboard, begins to feel both looser and alive as you pedal. It’s remarkable, you think, how your body remembers how to do this and how good it feels.

Maybe you are riding a Diamondback hardtail instead, and the sun isn’t so much your friend as the bumpy trail is, which you meet wheels down and biting into the dirt. You ride with a can’t-help-yourself grin as you go bounding into the woods. Work? A distant memory. Cares? What cares? You’re on your bike. You’re riding.

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One Cog Up

It was early in the season when I saw my friend Jim, who was just finishing his ride as I was about to start mine. I hadn’t seen him in awhile and always looked forward to talking with him. He’s an accomplished, serious rider as well as an engineer who built up his own titanium bike. More than that he’s a really sharp and witty guy. He always has something insightful to say about riding or fellow riders.

But he’d had a serious health problem which I immediately asked him about. I was glad to find out he was recovering well. Jim was more excited about getting back to riding, though, and said, “It’s going good, I’m getting better. I’m one cog up.”

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We Ride With the Cicadas

As you pedal through the heart of the town and head out of Oberlin, you’re immediately hit with a din, something between a buzzing and chirping, a crackling that grows louder and louder. At first I thought it was buzzing electricity, transmission from the municipal power plant as I rode past that. As soon as I came upon a cluster of trees, however, I knew I was riding in the middle of a concert. It was the cicadas.

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High Effort, Under-Distance Pays Off

This article originally appeared on Clarence Bass' "Ripped" website:
The passion continues.

Last year (2015) I entered 19 races—16 time trials and three road races. I grabbed three second place finishes and got my first of three wins, all in time trials.

I set a personal best in a 5K time trial of 8:59, which is an average speed of 20.8 mph. Only a couple years ago I raced this same distance at 10:33. For the approximately 20K time trials I got my average speeds up to around 20.4 mph. The elite riders are faster than this, but in a couple of years I’ve progressed from an average speed of over 17 mph. So I’m getting faster and I’m still having fun. Or having more fun.

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Renewed Passion Rewards

This article originally appeared on Clarence Bass' "Ripped" website:

At around age 50, I began to get re-acquainted with riding a bike. It was something I hadn’t done much since I was a kid, though like lots of kids, my brother and I went everywhere on our bikes. We Loved it. By the time I picked up riding again, I’d been lifting weights—powerlifting and mostly bodybuilding, for 34 years. During that time, I often did other fitness stuff or sports, too, just for fun or variety. My wife Marsha and I started riding bikes casually, then I got a mountain bike and rode that for a couple of years along with my bodybuilding. We watched the Tour de France, so of course after that I had to get a road bike and got into serious riding. I couldn’t help it. It was addictive.

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Why Read This?

You don’t have to, of course. There’s plenty written about cycling to choose from elsewhere, much of it by vastly more accomplished, successful cyclists than me. There are coaches, trainers and even pro riders who have plenty to say about the sport.

So again, why read this? Why read anything I write about cycling?

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