Tori Kanizer is the youngest cyclist on OrthoCarolina Winston Women's Cycling team. As an upcoming junior at Milligan College, Tori balances the rigorous training that comes with a cycling schedule with schoolwork and a social life. As one can imagine, she has little time to slow down. However, Tori recently had a moment to reflect on what someone can expect when he or she decides to get involved in cycling and offers suggestions on how you can best maximize your time.
Find a good bike store
Like runners rely on the correct pair of running shoes for their gait, cyclists should be fitted for the right kind of bike. Tori suggests going to local bike shops and finding a place where you feel most comfortable. Besides purchasing the right bike, you’ll need additional equipment and the right kind of clothes. Knowledgeable employees can help make sure you are well-equipped to ride.
Make a schedule
If you’re not training for any particular race, it can be fine to ride whenever you feel like it, but schedules help hold you accountable and lead to progress. Tori rides almost every day, usually about fifteen to sixteen hours a week, but when starting out it is good to set a few days aside to ride, such as riding on Mondays and Wednesdays. She also likes to rides with a group on the weekends. On group training, Tori said, “Groups help me ramp up my training and encourage me to keep going.”
Set a goal
Ask yourself, “Why are you cycling?” It may just be for fun or you may be serious about competing. Whatever that goal is, it helps guide you as begin getting more comfortable with the cycling process. After you find your goal, write it down and keep it somewhere you look every day.
Know it isn’t going to be easy
Tori said one of the most surprising things about cycling is that it was harder than she expected. As a former runner, Tori was pretty much used to grueling physical activity but cycling put new demands on her body. However, she said, “I made so many good friends and matured so much along the way. It totally was worth it.”
Do practice races
Most cycling communities have practice races during the week. If you are not quite ready to sign up for an actual race, or just want to race and have fun, Tori encourages you to sign up for one of these races. Cyclists of all abilities, from beginners to elite, are welcome.
Get in a good mental state
If you look at Tori’s bike, you will see a little sticker of a Chinese symbol. It means “limitless,” a word that her father constantly reminds her she is. Tori said she looks at the sticker whenever she is facing a challenge on the course, is feeling tired or is just generally not in a great mood. “It’s all in my head most of the time,” said Tori, “I just look at the sticker and know I can do this.”
To follow Tori and learn more about OrthoCarolina Winston Women's Cycling, please visit www.orthocarolinacycling.wordpress.com