Letters

Letters 02-08-2016

Less Ageism, Please The January 4 issue of this publication proved to me that there are some sensible voices of reason in our community regarding all things “inter-generational.” I offer a word of thanks to Elizabeth Myers. I too have worked hard for what I’ve earned throughout my years in the various positions I’ve held. While I too cannot speak for each millennial, brash generalizations about a lack of work ethic don’t sit well with me...Joe Connolly, Traverse City

Now That’s an Escalation I just read the letter from Greg and his defense of the AR15. The letter started with great information but then out of nowhere his opinion went off the rails. “The government wants total gun control and then confiscation; then the elimination of all Constitutional rights.” Wait... what?! To quote the great Ron Burgundy, “Well, that escalated quickly!”

Healthy Eating and Exercise for Children Healthy foods and exercise are important for children of all ages. It is important for children because it empowers them to do their best at school and be able to do their homework and study...

Mascots and Harsh Native American Truths The letter from the Choctaw lady deserves an answer. I have had a gutful of the whining about the fate of the American Indian. The American Indians were the losers in an imperial expansion; as such, they have, overall, fared much better than a lot of such losers throughout history. Everything the lady complains about in the way of what was done by the nasty, evil Whites was being done by Indians to other Indians long before Europeans arrived...

Snyder Must Go I believe it’s time. It’s time for Governor Snyder to go. The FBI, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the EPA Criminal Investigation Division are now investigating the Flint water crisis that poisoned thousands of people. Governor Snyder signed the legislation that established the Emergency Manager law. Since its inception it has proven to be a dismal failure...

Erosion of Public Trust Let’s look at how we’ve been experiencing global warming. Between 1979 and 2013, increases in temperature and wind speeds along with more rain-free days have combined to stretch fire seasons worldwide by 20 percent. In the U.S., the fire seasons are 78 days longer than in the 1970s...

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Master of cycling

Erin Cowell - August 24th, 2009
Masters of Cycling
By Erin Crowell 8/24/09

For the Hagerty Men’s Cycling Masters Team, age is just another number. So is first, second and third. Winning has become a theme this year for both the team as a whole and the individual men who compete in a category of cyclists age 45 and older.
This season, Hagerty has cranked out state-wide wins at the West Branch Classic, Tour of Frankenmuth, Tour of Kensington Valley, the Michigan State Time Trial Championship and the Cone Azalia Spring Classic, along with several single-digit finishes at the Willow Time Trial, Tour de Mount Pleasant, Superior Bike Fest and the Maillot Jaune Road Race.
They will look for another win when they compete on home pavement this weekend at the second annual Cherry Roubaix. The race features a criterium in the Old Town district of Traverse City on Saturday; then a road race through Leelanau Peninsula on Sunday.
Hagerty member Clifford Onthank is confident for Sunday’s race. “I hope to win (the 55 and older category),” he says.
However, Onthank shares the same sentiments as the rest of the Masters Team, saying regardless of the winner, it will be a Hagerty bike crossing the finish line first.
“We do a lot more hill climbing than the flatlanders -- That’s what we call the people from downstate. (The Cherry Roubaix) is a very difficult climbing course as far as hills go,” Onthank says.

MASTERS OF THEIR CRAFT
Leaving their tread marks on the competition is just a part time job for these elite cyclists. All the Hagerty Masters have full-time occupations, including Dr. Onthank, chiropractor; Don Fedrigon, Jr., real estate broker; Dan Hofstra, CPA; and Dr. Norm Licht, M.D., orthopedic surgeon.
Some people might believe holding a steady career while pulling out wins as a competitive athlete would seem impossible. But for these seasoned cyclists, it’s easy.
“Since swimming in college, I’ve learned to time manage,” says Licht. “You just schedule time to do it. Maybe that means an hour ride at lunch or doing it after the kids go to sleep.”
However, training for a bike race pales in comparison to the event Licht was training for seven years ago.
In 2002, he qualified for the ultimate in endurance sport races: The Ironman Triathlon in Kona, Hawaii, comprised of a 2.4-swim in the ocean, a 112-mile bike ride and a marathon (26.2-mile run).
Licht was 45-years-old when he qualified, finishing in the required top 10 percent of his field. However, with his first child due on the day of the race, Licht happily settled for qualifying (having completed the same distance in Lake Placid, New York) and opted out of the race.

GLORY DAYS
Eventually, Licht retired from triathlon racing, but he doesn’t attribute children for the reason he stopped.
“I’m old and decrepit. There’s not much else I can do,” he says.
Aches, pains and a hip problem forced Licht to throw in his running shoes and stay in the clips. He swapped triathlons for cycling.
Former pro cyclist Hal Bezier says he, too, is feeling the effects of age. “I snap and crack nowadays,” he laughs. Bezier, closing in on 48, started racing in the pro circuit when he was 22. Competing in races all over the country, the Oklahoma native spent a couple years at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado.
“I raced with some big names – Phinney, Kiefel, Ekimov, the McCormack brothers – a lot of guys you wouldn’t know nowadays,” he says.
Reaching his 30s, Bezier says he began losing speed. By the time he moved to Traverse City, he retired from pro cycling.
Now, Bezier has taken the road his teammate got off years ago, by training for Ironman races, including the upcoming Panama City Ironman in November.
Aside from switching up sports, getting older has its advantages. Like a fine wine, cyclists get better with age, or at least, smarter. “I’ve learned to ride with the competition,” says Onthank. “I’m also using a more systematic training method, growing with experience.”
Learning to train better means training smarter, not pushing it too hard, getting the easy training to pay off, adds Masters teammate Lars Welton.
“You lose your fast-twitch (muscle) ability so you’re never as good a sprinter as you were before,” says Onthank, “Now, I feel like a have more endurance. The longer the race goes, the better I feel.”

NO PACK FODDERS HERE
Although the Masters category in cycling is for ages 35 and older, make no mistake -- these aren’t just a bunch of “old farts,” as some team members put it. In the world of cycling, there are five categories, or levels, of racing: level five being the most recreational cyclist, all the way down to level one, or those of professional caliber. A person has to be at a level two in order to compete on the Masters level.
“As a Masters, you could race in the pro group but you probably won’t win,” says Licht. “But if you race your age group you can compete.
“We go 30 mph around corners. It’s about competing, rather than just showing up. It’s not about riding in the pelaton and just being a pack fodder,” he says.
Say what??
Pelaton is the cycling term for a group of riders and pack fodder is someone who “just sits in the group and never wins the race,” Licht explains.
In others words, the Hagerty Masters Team gets the job done.
“We actually really do race and we have changed the way Masters Racers race in the state of Michigan,” he says. “Before, you would just sit in the pack and ride around in circles and have a sprint at the end.”
They may be getting older, but it seems the Hagerty Masters will continue taking it to the asphalt and feeling the burn.
“We show up at a race and attack,” Licht says. “It’s actually very painful to be in a Masters Race now.”

The Hagerty Cycling Masters Team will set the pace when they compete at the Second Annual Cherry Roubaix, Aug. 29 & Aug. 30. The criterium, or timed race course, will happen in the Old Town district of Traverse City on Saturday; followed by the road race, a multiple-lap course of up to 72 miles, along the roads of Leelanau Peninsula on Sunday. For more information, go to www.cherryroubaix.com. For more information on the Hagerty Masters Team, visit www.racehagerty.com.

 
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