"Keep going, don't stop now"
Having very little knowledge about cycling can make stepping into a reputable bike shop a little intimidating. My nervousness quickly vanished with a polite welcome from Colin and Scott. The guys at Studio Velo always treat their customers with respect whether you’re a seasoned cyclist or in my case, a beginner looking for an entry point. Colin answered all the questions I could ask and set me up with everything I needed to get out on the road. Scott used state of the art computer technology to find the perfect fit on my brand new Wilier Izoard. For all the hours I’ve put on the saddle, I have to give credit to the fit for staying injury free and comfortable. Driving home that day with my new toy I wasn't sure if buying a high end bike was the right decision. Little did i know that my decision changed my life forever.
Before the bike it was all about hitting the gym hard to bulk up for some recreational football games with family and friends. After the bike it was all about hitting the hills hard to lose excess weight and increase lactate threshold as well as VO2 max. It was the spring of 2010 when I started riding seriously after purchasing my bike just before winter. First I did a flat century, then another one with a moderate amount of climbing. The strength gains were addictive and only made me want to challenge myself even more. Next was the Davis Double Century which was extremely difficult since I bonked at mile 140 and struggled my way to the finish. Each event was a learning experience that made me yearn for more. The Alta Alpina 8 Pass Challenge double century with 20,300 feet of climbing at high altitudes was next on my list. Being the hardest double century in terms of climbing and altitude, I was happy with an 18 hours and 15 minutes finish just before the cut off time. Again I have to credit the bike fit at Studio Velo for keeping me injury free during this suffer fest because many people couldn’t finish due to joint pains and various other reasons. The euphoria of setting goals and accomplishing them one after the another kept making me want to push myself to the limit, so I thought to myself, why limit myself to one day events?
A multi-day self supported tour from my home in Hayward, California to Newport Beach using the Pacific Coast Highway was an experience I will never forget. There were many challenges along the way, for example I learned that nutritional needs were significantly increased due to my 20 pound backpack after bonking 50 miles into the tour. Getting lost and having to back track wasn’t fun when there were hills to climb and a load on the back. A huge hole in the rear tire with no spare was scary, but luckily I had recently learned the dollar bill between the inner tube and tire trick from a friend, which held for the remaining of the tour. 5 days and 500 miles later I reached my destination using the most scenic highway the west coast has to offer and it was more than worth it. Now it was time to see more than just what the west coast had to offer, but what the world had in store.
Where else in the world is more fitting for cycling than Europe? Riding the famous climbs of the French Alps during July when the Tour De France takes place was incredible. The music, international crowds, food, drinks, bikes, helicopters, support cars, police motorcycles, pro athletes, and the entire atmosphere were unbelievable. Climbing the Col Du Galibier with its surreal beauty felt like a dream. Later the same day, climbing the legendary Alpe D’ Huez with its 21 unforgiving switchbacks pushed my lungs against the ropes. The more I traveled the more climbs I conquered which took me to different regions where I experienced a wide range of cultures. The popular Trans Pyrenees challenge brought me to Spain to set off on a 6 day voyage of 535 miles with 56,000 feet of climbing. Each day offered unique scenic routes filled with a few challenging cols. Day 5 was the most memorable since my legs were already sore and there were 3 cols to scale including the famous Col Du Tourmalet. Not to mention the occasional showers and extreme cold winds made the toughest day more gratifying to complete.
On the last day while gazing across the sand and far into the Atlantic Ocean, I thought about how much I’ve experienced over the past year.
From the day I stepped into Studio Velo until now, I feel my life has taken a turn onto an amazing path that I never knew existed. Cycling is more than just a recreational activity or a sport. It’s a vehicle to indulge yourself with the joys of life that may otherwise be untouched. My new path has just begun, but will continue to take me all over the world for years to come. All I have to do now is hop on the bike and enjoy the ride.
Studio Velo Client: Lucky