Monday, December 5, 2011

Riding with Champions!

It isn't always easy maintaining balance when it comes to exercise if you're a cyclist. So our weekend consisted of two different kind of workouts. Saturday was a lower body workout and on Sunday, we had an upper body workout.

Saturday was a day David had been anticipating for a while -- Bike Ride & Book Signing with John Allis.

(John Allis (born May 31, 1942) is an American cyclist who entered into international cycling competition in the 1960s. He was one of the strongest competitive cyclists in the United States in the early 1970s, winning the United States National Road Race Championships in 1974. He was inducted into the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame in 1993.)

John Allis shows off his vintage cleats!

Bill Humpheys watches as John Allis signs a copy of Bill's book, The Jersey Project,  for Dave Etchells

And, while I didn't know anything about the man previously, I have to say that meeting this man was actually very exciting for me too!

Peter Mooney is in the background while David chats with John Allis before the ride.
David's cap and jersey were both vintage and kept in good shape over the years!

The event on Saturday was held at Belmont Wheelworks -- a bicycle shop near Boston that is familiar to many  area tandem owners because this store has a wide variety of tandem bikes on display. (Wheelworks Too which is located just around the corner from their main store, serves as the TANDEM CENTER OF NEW ENGLAND - with a selection of tandem bicycles by Cannondale, Co-Motion, Santana and Trek.)

Bill Humphreys hosted Saturday's ride and book signing celebrating the launch of his new book, The Jersey Project. It was an honor to ride with both John and Bill. Although we weren't aware of it at first, we also met and rode with Peter Mooney, a custom bike frame builder. The stories they told and the memories they shared clearly conveyed a love of the sport of bicycle racing. It's a passion David shares, and it was a joy to hear of their experiences and reflections of the training, dedication and the suffering! What was also evident was the pride and satisfaction of having been a part of it all.

Dave and I were surprised that there was another tandem in our group as well. As a couple, these riders were strong. We learned afterward, that the captain was an employee of the bicycle shop and he was an expert in properly fitting couples to their tandems. He had a great deal of knowledge and superior riding abilities!

Right off the start, Dave and I were hanging on to the back of the pack. There were a few steep hills, and while we are good with speed on flats, climbing with our 48 lb. steel tandem is another story. I didn't voice my concern, but I had my doubts about us keeping up with this group. These guys are considerably older than us, but they are way more experienced -- and on top of that, extremely comfortable with the Boston area and this particular route.

John Allis
As the route progressed, we caught up, and we were better able to stay within the group. Our fellow cyclists were very supportive, and they took turns on upcoming hills in lending us some of their pedal power with a firm hand pushing on my back. For those efforts, I was extremely touched and appreciative.

We enjoyed engaging conversation with them along the way. Both John and Bill spent considerable time riding with our tandem for good stretches, and we chatted comfortably. Their stories were captivating and inspiring.

After the ride, everyone regrouped back inside the shop where Bill and John were available at a table display. The relaxed atmosphere continued, and we all enjoyed looking through the pages of The Jersey Project book. David was surprised to have owned a couple of the jerseys pictured inside the book!

David and Karen Etchells with Bill Humpheys and John Allis
 After the event, Dave and I headed over the Quincy Market, where we enjoyed people watching, the hustle and bustle of the holiday shopping, and getting a bite to eat!

That was our lower body workout -- a very memorable day of cycling, and walking to and though one of Boston's most visited tourist attractions.

Our upper body workout came the next morning in the form of  harvesting wood from some fallen trees on the property of Dave's brother, Marc. Dave brought along his trusty chainsaw, and he cut the trunks into manageable sized logs. We split those right there and then in the woods, and then we loaded two vehicles. Phew! That was a bit of work. But it was so great to spend time with Marc and Maureen! Dave snapped a great photo of the two of them coming out of the woods after we loaded our pickup truck.

Marc and Maureen

The end result of Sunday's efforts neatly stacked in our back yard.

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