Cycling & Road Infrastructure
33“It is a grueling day in the sun so what does a rider get besides sore muscles, tired posterior, sense of accomplishment and several hours of pure cycling madness? There is no answer that fits all. Riders pit themselves against the road and elements for different reasons.” Hotter ‘n Hell Hundred annual August event in Texas
Every road rider enjoys long stretches of beautifully paved road. The road provides a way toward many destinations. The uses of the road are many. Environmentalists rejoice, new 34uses from hot roads include siphoning solar energy! As the heat waves from pavement and melting tarmac increase our rolling resistance, we are glad for a healthy network of asphalt.
Great roads contribute to great riding. Some of the most successful promoters have ties to transportation authorities that connect race sponsorship with government budgets for new roads and maintenance. One race promoter sat on his state’s highway transportation committee and each year, new venues and newly paved roads would magically appear. Like some of our favorite quiet training routes, these practices have the potential to be crooked, but not always. There’s nothing quite like new racing pavement for speed and safe cornering.
But ancient paths and old roads provide interest and challenge, such as epic stages that go gravel, with steeper sections than most cars can handle. These provide beloved memories of conquered terrain that makes us all feel like superheroes in rain capes. Even on the flats, we all encounter potholes the size of Texas that can swallow downed riders especially if drenched and filled by a summer downpour. Roads take a beating from extremes in weather and hard use and then take their vengeance on the soft skin of the peloton.
For example, those seams that don’t quite match may be large enough for a tire to hit at an angle for truly technical riding. Crazy endo’s, superman style occur in such cases. Then there’s the uneven, off-camber railroad tracks with a diagonal approach that invariably some rider dead heads and dead-ends a shortened day. Looking ahead to avoid the obstacles isn’t always possible with curving roads or a packed field or a frenzied crowd blocking the view. Far sighted stares can also be obscured by the mirage-like effect of salty eyes, or winded perspective, or cross-eyed effort. All we see ahead is more pain but the hope toward the finish line drives us on, no matter what the road is like.
Prayer for Road Infrastructure
“I will make each of My mountains a road, And My highways shall be elevated. Surely these shall come from afar; Look! Those from the north and the west…” 35Isaiah 49:11
We are thankful for existing networks of roads and we pray for more roads opened for events, maintenance and safe passage.
Ponder Am I paying attention to road conditions? Affirm I use vertical techniques like the bunny-hop! Watch the surface and pick a safe line if possible, otherwise pray for safety.
33About Hotter ‘n Hell Hundred posted on www.hh100.org
34“News Releases: Alternative Energy Hits the Road. Research at WPI Explores Turning Highways and Parking Lots into Solar Collectors,” posted August 11, 2008 by Worcester Polytechnic Institute, MA www.wpi.edu
35Holy Bible, New King James Version Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.