For the week of April 14, 1999  thru April 20, 1999  

Easy on the bike

Local pros advocate easing into spring cycling

Express Staff Writer

a14bikepath.jpg (12920 bytes)The Wood River Trail, open from Bellevue to Gimlet, is enticing cyclists of all ages. Warming temperatures this week could open the path all the way to Ketchum.  (Express photos by Willy Cook)

Ushered in by the closing of the mountain in late April, by longer, warmer days, and by the gradual re-opening of the Wood River Trails system, bicycling season has arrived.

Already, the Wood River Trail bike path is open from Bellevue to Gimlet, and with temperatures expected to warm up later this week, the path could clear to Ketchum.

In the rush to dig out dusty bikes and to start spinning, it is easy for recreational and competitive cyclists alike to lose sight of how important it is to ease our winterized bodies into the cycling season.

"I would recommend the age-old rule of lots of LSD," said Durance Cycleworks owner and bicycle racer Richard Feldman.

Feldman is not an acid freak. He is referring to long, steady, distance riding at a low heart rate, which he emphasized for the casual rider as well as for the competitive racer.

"Spend a bunch of hours out there," Feldman said. "Think of it as building a house. You can’t put siding or framing on without first laying a foundation. With a solid foundation, you can build a massive lodge later on."

Dan Daigh, another local cyclist and head mechanic at the Elephant’s Perch, agrees.

"It doesn’t matter what kind of fitness you’re in from winter sports, for cycling you have to get supportive muscles—like elbows, wrists, and neck muscles—in shape," Daigh said.

Moderation is the key in the beginning of the season, according to Daigh.

"It’s best to creep up slowly on the cycling season, and then start adding on," Daigh said. "I go out to the SNRA for anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. It’s best not to do too much too soon."

Former U.S. Nordic Ski Team member, Eco-Challenge competitor and bicycle racer Muffy Ritz also eases into the cycling season.

"I make a gradual switch from Nordic skiing into biking," Ritz said. "I start with some easy rides up north or around Elkhorn and then gradually increase miles."

After two or three weeks of easy training, Ritz intensifies her rides by adding hill climbs and sprints.

Feldman recommends that recreational and competitive cyclists contact coaches or area shops for help personalizing their training.

"Go into a shop and talk to people who have knowledge," Feldman said. "There is no clear cut, definitive schedule to set up for training. The body isn’t organized that way. There are so many variables, but an expert can help tailor a program."

A heart rate monitor can be a useful tool during spring training, according to Feldman.

"Go out and watch the monitor," Feldman said. "Learn what your body does. Keep track of what happens. After two or three months, you get a feeling of where your heart rate is at this point in your life and how to train."

To get the bike ready for the season, a tune-up is a good idea. Most area shops offer a basic tune-up that includes rim true and break, gearing and shifting adjustments.

As far as equipment, arm and leg warmers and booties make chilly spring riding a lot more pleasant and easy on the body.

Mountain Biking around Sun Valley


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