The Road to the National Senior Olympics Part 3

Bill Cloninger, a wellness center member at South Franklin Circle, will be competing in the National Senior Games this summer in Cleveland. He is competing in the cycling 5K and 10K time trials. 

When Bill joined the SFC wellness center in 2010, he could barely walk a mile without getting winded. With the help of SFC VP of Wellness Frank Ondus and his staff, Bill is 100 pounds lighter and off blood pressure medication. He follows a strength training regime developed just for him, and began cycling.  For more background on Bill and his South Franklin Circle wellness success story click here.

Bill has graciously agreed to share his road to the National Senior Games with us.  In these first few posts, Bill describes his experiences during a week of cycle training in Brevard, North Carolina this past April.

Part 3:  Recovery Ride and Sightseeing

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Once again I got up early and cleaned my bike.  After the hard work of the first three days, today was scheduled to be an easy day.  The weather was holding for us, but thunderstorms were forecast for Thursday evening.  Just 100 yards from the Hampton Inn is Forest Gate, the main gate into the Pisgah National Forest.  This morning, I went for a ride into the National Forest up to a water fall, about 8 miles in.  This morning’s ride is to be nice and easy, just spin the legs and not work hard.  I’ve been told the Assault on the Carolinas ride on Saturday will be hard enough, so I needed to rest up.

After a stop at the waterfall, I took a side road up to a fish hatchery.  The road was very scenic along a trout stream with fishermen trying their luck.  After I got back to the hotel and took another nap, I decided to venture out to those pottery shops I rode past on Tuesday.  So off I went.  Found the shops and started looking for a suitable pot to bring home for Sandy.  Most of the work was very good, but nothing really seemed to grab me.  Then at the third shop I visited, I notice a few exquisite pots back by the artist’s workroom.  I asked if any of these wonderful raku pots were for sale, and yes they were.  I bought one that particularly appealed to me and I thought was way underpriced.  What a find!  I think Sandy will be happy with it.

Tomorrow – Warm up for Assault on the Carolinas

Friday, April 12, 2013

Today, I slept in, got up around 8:00 a.m.  The storms over night were starting to clear out, but the temperature had dropped down into the 40s.  Luckily I had brought by cold weather cycling clothes along, so the temps would not be a problem.  Had breakfast and did an hour of the Pilates and yoga I learned at South Franklin Circle in the hotel’s fitness room.  I’m going to have to stretch a lot to get used to the new lower aero bar position, now down a full nine centimeters (3.5 inches) from where I raced last year.  This is a huge change.  Today’s riding with be a late afternoon warm up group ride with all the CTS coaches and staff and other CTS athletes that are coming into town for the Assault on the Carolinas event tomorrow.
(Above: Trainer Tracey Drews points out some data from Bill’s recent workouts that need some additional work).

Tracey told me to take it easy and “put my feet up” when I’m not riding so that I fully recover from my training.  I spend the afternoon watching the Master’s Golf tournament on TV.

I’m undecided on which bike outfit I’ll wear this afternoon, I finally decide on wearing the “Route du Ventoux” kit (the cycling term for jersey and shorts).  This is the outfit I bought at a bike shop at the base of Mt. Ventoux in France-one of the iconic mountain climbs of the Tour de France.  I tackled the climb in 2011 and it took me two hours and 17 minutes (the pros do it in an hour)-not bad for an old guy!  Mt. Ventoux is on the route of this year’s Tour.

At 3:00 p.m. I head off for the CTS Office and the afternoon’s warm up.  When I arrive, there are 50 or so athletes milling about.  I’m one of the oldest, but there are a few other “mature” riders in the group.  Tristan tells me that we will use a route similar to our trek to Walnut Hollow Hill, but we won’t go up the hill.  “We’ll save that for tomorrow,” he says.  We head out as a group and have a very enjoyable and easy 90-minute ride.  I had a great time chatting with the other senior athletes as we spun through the country side.

Once back at the CTS offices, we traipsed next door to pick up our registration packs for tomorrow’s Assault on the Carolinas.  The event is sold out.  Over a thousand cyclists will be attending.  They are planning a mass start, which has me a bit worried.  With that many cyclists riding in close quarters, it is inevitable that some will end up hitting the pavement.  Well I’ll just deal with that tomorrow.

The hotel is filling up with cyclists and a festive mood is apparent.  Tonight I cleaned my bike, lubed the chain, and got to bed early. Tomorrow will be challenging.

Next – Assault on the Carolinas.

Read Part 4 of The Road to the National Senior Games

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