People Innovation Excellence

Just like riding a bike


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By Bill Sterchak

One appealing aspect of industrial engineering is how it takes a scientific approach to common sense. Sadly, you never see common sense trending because it is seldom glamorous or flashy.up to this point, I had been riding a short course four to five times a week, a 5.2 kilometer loop that took about 40 minutes. I am converting to the metric system as an ongoing neuroplasticity exercise.

I realized I needed to start a more rigorous training schedule, then ramp it up significantly to avoid disaster or catastrophic failure.I first stretched the training rides to one hour, then two hours, benchmarking data points in kilometers and converting to miles per hour while monitoring my condition for indications of dehydration or extreme fatigue. The handlebar-mounted “computer” and sports watch were crucial, for I was measuring distances traveled and time, building a speed and endurance database. This would be important once the ride began.On the day of the ride, I finished the 100 miles, taking just a few minutes longer than eight hours.

How? Well, I certainly spent a long time in the saddle and stayed focused. To stay alert and mentally sharp, I set the timer on my sports watch for one-hour intervals and pedaled. The first four hours passed while maintaining a sustainable and age-appropriate cadence. My first stop was 50 miles into the ride for fluids and refilling water bottles.

There was a true sense of accomplishment crossing the finish line at 4 p.m. Saturday. Starting around 7 a.m. in the coolest part of the day and acclimating to the temperature as the day wore on was not as intense as I had anticipated and trained for. However, the wind and heat turned wicked, taking their toll. At times, the attrition of riders between 80 and 90 miles visually resembled a natural disaster.

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