Hands down, the best part of racing bicycles are the friendships and memories you make along the way. With both Nature's Bakery and KTM joining forces with the elite road racing program of H24 Cycling, I had the pleasure of attending their first training camp of 2017 just outside of San Francisco, California in late March. While I always prefer to be on singletrack, I love all types of bicycle riding, including road. My time spent with the talented H24 crew reminded me of just how fun road riding can be. Here are the top 4 reasons why I think road cycling is awesome:
Speed and Distance:
You can go fast on the road - much faster than you can go on the dirt. With that, every adventure is extended. 5 hours on the road can be equivalent to 100+ miles, which can provide some pretty epic sights and adventures. The farther you go, the more you see, and the more you experience.
The best conversations always happen while I'm on my bike in a big group of other cyclists, multiple hours into a ride. The social aspect of road rides is much more significant than it is on mountain bike rides since everyone is able to stay closer together. This, combined with road riding being significantly less technical than riding on dirt facilitates conversation and connection.
As the pace picks up in a road ride, it's never "every man for himself" like it is on a mountain bike. With the higher speeds and less technical riding comes the incredible tool of drafting. This is where you take shelter behind another rider and let them push the wind. This rarely is a factor while on a mountain bike, but on a road bike it allows for some fun tactics to establish as the speed picks up in a big group of road riders. You're able to work with people and strategize to figure out how to beat your friends to the next road sign, mile marker, or whatever you choose as the make-believe finish line.
The majority of my mountain bike rides consist of one big climb, followed by 30-40 minutes of awesome downhill. On the road though, you're usually pedaling the entire time. Because of this constant effort that is required when on the road, this type of cycling is fantastic for developing fitness and adding strength to your riding. It also requires a certain mental strength that is unmatched in any other genre of cycling.