The Evolution of a Cyclist

February 27, 2014

By Ali Knudson

“Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride.” ~ JFK

I grew up on the Oregon coast and did not have a driver’s license until I finished high school.  My mom, in all of her wonderful wisdom, bought me a Schwinn 10 speed and I would commute to my weekend job at a kennel.   My passion for the road began simply as I would speed down curvy, back country roads and grin in my dorky way as cars would give me a signal of how fast I was going as they passed.

Fast forward many years; it was mountain biking that turned me into a road cyclist.  I was training for a solo 24-hour mountain bike race and started riding more on the road for longer hours in the saddle.  The recovery was faster and I wasn’t beating myself up on the trail.

Something clicked in my head.  The road became so appealing.  I enjoyed chasing after my friends as we would descend the canyons, again with that dorky, big grin on my face.  Last year, I decided to challenge myself and start road racing at age 42.  It was a hard lesson for someone who had been strong on a mountain bike, but I couldn’t let myself quit.  My mountain bike friends teased me, called me “roadie,” and wondered when I would get back on the dirt.  On February 23rd, I won my category at the Valley of the Sun Stage Race in Arizona.   Big dorky grin.