It’s December, and while the days may be getting shorter…working out inside is on the rise!  Good thing we have 31 days this month…it’s a busy month that will go by quickly.

This post is a great way to kick off the new month, another GUEST BLOG POST!  I have a BIG THANKS to Dave, guest contributor…but also to Katy, both from Alaska.  December last year, Katy was the instructor guest contributor from LATITUDE 58!  If anyone knows about short December days…that would be Dave and Katy.  By the 21st (Winter Solstice) the sunrises at 8:44am and sets at 3:07pm in Juneau!

Read on for an inspiring post…how someone’s passion for cycling (inside and out) paved the way for awesome annual ride!

THANK YOU DAVE…this is great!

Why I Cycle:  From Indoors to Outdoors to Beyond

My name is Dave Ringle. I live in Juneau, Alaska, and I train at Pavitt’s Health and Fitness.  I’ve been a cyclist longer than I’ve lived in Alaska, and I’ve been a school teacher in Alaska for 31 years.

I founded a bicycle relay from Haines Junction, Yukon, Canada, to Haines, Alaska…a 148-mile ride/race through the Alaska/Yukon wilderness.  What started with 140 cyclists blossomed to 1,000 cyclists in five years. Twenty-six years later participation is capped at 1,200 participants and it takes two days to fill online registration.  The ride starts with a six-mile hill!  

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police close the road so bikes have one lane while support vehicles can drive in the opposite lane for the first 15 miles of the event.  It is called the Kluane-Chilkat International Bike Relay.  I have participated in this event 22 of the 26 years it has existed.

View of the 2018 bike relay underway

Like the race, my cycling and training has evolved.  While it is easy to ride outdoors in the summer and stay in shape, maintaining a comfortable fitness level during the winter requires a variety of indoor workouts.  Cycling classes provide music, motivation, and camaraderie. I was introduced to indoor cycling 18 years ago through focused nine-week fitness camps with three-hour indoor rides at the end.  It was specialized training and it fit my goals which at the time included competitive racing.  As the racing faded, I was still attending cycle classes regularly during the winter months.

I’ve changed goals over the years and now plan biking vacations.  For example, multiple spin classes and extra workouts were part of my training regime to climb the Maui volcanic peak, Haleakala, a 36-mile climb from sea level to 10,000 feet.

Indoor cycling class at Pavitt’s Health and Fitness gym

The year before I retired (2017), I trained for El Tour de Tucson in November by doing my hard workouts indoors and my endurance rides outside.  I discovered a six-hour 75-mile ride in freezing conditions prepares one’s endurance for a five and a half hour 106-mile ride in ideal conditions, but I needed indoor cycling to get my legs ready for the intensity of a 20 mph paceline.  I will continue to attend cycle classes in the winter.  I can exert myself at a higher level indoors without worrying about bad road conditions and sweltering or freezing temperatures outdoors.

I finally participated in Cycle Oregon, a one-week ride loosely based on The Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI).  Cycle Oregon-2018 had 1,700 riders and three days with over 5,000 feet of climbing in beautiful eastern Oregon.  I highly recommend it!

Cycle Oregon ride has spectacular scenery and vistas

I also participated in a 2018 Adventure Cycling Association tour of Death Valley. I requested a change of the planned 50-mile route to Artist’s Palette to a 75-mile ride that included a 25-mile hill climb to Dante’s View, 5,476 feet above Badwater Basin, the lowest point in the U.S.  The extra 25 miles was work but the views well worth it.

Scenic panorama of the southern Death Valley basin from Dante’s View

Indoor cycling allows me to keep my fitness levels high no matter what the outside weather is doing.  I’ve added weight workouts and have become a certified Insanity Live instructor.

I am considering becoming a certified SPINNING instructor. I enjoy instructors who provide a variety of music, encourage riders to work at their own level and explain the class objectives.

I’ve also appreciated those instructors who’ve asked for my experience, especially as some of the instructors simulate legs of the Kluane-Chilkat bike relay for their spring classes.  I particularly enjoy seeing others who begin cycling indoors then discover the joys and challenges of outdoor riding.

Happy Holidays Dave, Katy…and everyone who has a passion FOR THE RIDE INSIDE!

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