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Gazette Premium Content Show me the ride: Start pedaling before you start sipping

By David Pico Special to The Gazette - Published: June 13, 2013

There are a few hazards to cycling in June. The hot breeze bakes the moisture from our bones and the sun shrink-wraps our skin to our skeletons. Eyeballs dry red in their sockets, pus boils up through pores and we smack our cotton-mouthed lips like dogs.

It's World War Z on bicycles.

There are some other hazards. It's easy to walk around in a tank-top and forget that your tan lines are striped as clearly as the flag. That's more of a fashion faux-pas. But strolling in with chain grease on your calves and unknowingly massaging it into the couch fibers is a serious crime for a married guy, no matter how defined your calves are.

By now, you mountain bikers should have bruised shins that bleed and ooze at strange times, and your back has a nightmare curve in it that will remain through the summer. Small children scamper away in panic at your appearance.

You've been to the top of Pikes Peak several times so far, and you're going again July 21 for the Pikes Peak Cycling Hill Climb.

Why? Because we're animals and grizzly blood rushes through our arteries and bursts the vessels in the whites of our eyes. I have the same vivid, slow-motion dreams that Olympians have. All I lack is talent and speed and work ethic. And a physically able body.

You should be a certified fitness nut by now. The addiction should be ingrained in the wrinkles of your brain and controlling your movements. In August, they'll send us down the road in white jackets for evaluation. They might let us keep our bike helmets on as part of the uniform.

Here's a secret weapon to help the lunacy last: chamois cream. I don't know how to survive without it anymore.

Another secret is the pre-coffee ride. Before you drink your coffee, take a ride. The buzz of the early morning air is nearly as good as caffeine. But beware, because it does wear off seconds after you put your bike away. After your ride, you must guzzle your coffee like it's antidote.

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Pico is the former president/publisher of Peak Region Cyclist. Read his columns on the second Thursday of each month in Out There.

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