Warm Companions: Training Partners

26“…find a group of friendly local racers to train with and learn from. I emphasize the word ‘friendly’. Of course, all of us in the cycling community really are friendly, but there seems to be a scale of friendly. Some racers willingly embrace new riders and some, well, let’s just say they stay more to themselves.” Kim Morrow, Masters World Champion

Kim Morrow, center, one of the friendliest riders in the peloton

I came to bike racing as an adult. Someone told me to exercise for my mental health in order to manage the stress from a young marriage wrecked by my husband’s cocaine addiction. I started riding the old Schwinn that hung in the barn and felt accomplished with my daily three miles. Next I read about group rides and decided to try one. It was a blast! Someone from that ride invited me to a club ride. I was mystified by the idea of people in association who liked riding bikes in groups. The club suggested I bump up to B then the A ride from the gentler C ride, especially after one of them loaned me an updated bicycle. I’d graduated from a tank to a touring ton of steel but it felt like a feather to me.

During those summer weeks of discovering the entirely novel experience of riding fast, club members cajoled and encouraged me. Without quite knowing it, my trauma was being processed and my confusion about the past was dissipating in the slipstreams of new friends. Out of gratitude for the attention and affection, I entered the club time trial. I won it and beat most of the men. The club took me to the big city bike shop where I met a mechanic who ran development clinics. In a bitter cold January, I learned how to pace line, corner, and discover the joys of bumping drills and grass criteriums. The sponsoring bike shop invited me to race for them, providing me another equipment upgrade. Now I was on a sleek Italian racing frame. It had been wrecked and I couldn’t take my hands off the bars because it was so bent but it felt like a Ferrari to me.

Thus began decades of racing, and I haven’t stopped riding with others since. Kim Morrow was one of the ones who encouraged me. During the dreariest of days, faithful companions not only brighten your ride but show you roads you’ve never traveled.

Prayer for Training Partners
“By yourself you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope isn’t easily snapped.” 27Ecclesiastes 4:12

We are thankful for the social benefits of cycling. We recognize a time to ride with others and when to train alone. We ask blessing on those who make what seems impossible simply a smooth and speedy draft.

Ponder Who are my favorite wheels? Affirm I can shield another from frigid winds. Watch your friendly paceline grow.

26“Thinking About Racing?” by Kim Morrow on EFC Coaching Tips http://www.elitefitcoach.com. Kim Morrow is one of the friendliest riders in the peloton. Sometimes I think comfortability with one’s abilities comes across in a generous spirit. What you have a lot of overflows to others. From Kim’s website, “Kim Morrow has competed as a Professional Cyclist and Triathlete, is a certified USA Cycling Elite Coach, a 4-time U.S. Masters National Road Race Champion, a Masters World Road Race Champion, and a Fitness Professional. BUT, in her very first official bike race she got dropped right from the start.” Her friendly nature sought out training companions, who encouraged her and in turn were encouraged.

27The Message, Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson.

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