The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

SE adjunct cycles competitively for fun, adventure

By Marley Malenfant/feature editor

In 2008, SE geography adjunct Stephanie Long bought an $80 worn-down 1987 Trek bike from Craigslist, rode it for eight miles and thought she’d never ride it again.She has since fixed her bike and ridden hundreds of miles throughout Texas and Iowa.

Long said she hadn’t ridden a bike for recreational purposes since college until a friend convinced her to cycle competitively.

Her first cycling competition was the MS 150, which is a two-day ride from Frisco to Fort Worth.

“I did 86 miles the first day, and the second day I did just over 20 miles,” she said. “That was enough.”

After the MS 150, Long said she needed to get better. She trained harder to get her body past nagging aches and pains, like saddle sores, foot sores and quad sores. During the semester, it’s harder for Long to train. But during the summer, she’ll spend three days out of the week working on conditioning.

“Wednesdays were my heavy days because I would ride 50 to 60 miles,” she said. “And then on my alternate days, I would ride 30 to 40 miles to help build muscle.” 

Long said conditioning was key when she rode in the Wichita Falls annual Hotter than Hell and Iowa’s Rag Ride, which is 400 miles long. She practices in the heat and rides in the rain to prepare for any bad weather and for senseless drivers.

She recalled a grueling Lancaster ride.

“When you’re on these rides, you’re on open roads,” she said. “I made a turn that was going uphill, and the wind was so strong when I came around that turn, it just pushed me out over into the lane. You have to watch out because everyone around you is not that bright.”

Adriano Vieira, a cyclist Long met at a ride in Dallas, said Long doesn’t take herself too seriously.

“She goes out there and has fun,” he said. “If she’s at a ride that benefits people, then she’s all about that.”

When novice cyclists start out, Long said they must learn how to change tires on a bike. She suggests practice taking tires off the bike and putting them back on. She also suggests that new cyclists ride in groups when starting out in case of fatigue.

“There was a ride from Austin to Shiner, Texas, that was a 100-mile ride,” she said. “I got three flat tires on that ride before I made it to 50 miles.”

Cyclist Ricardo Pedrazam, who has ridden with Long on the MS 150, said Long rides for the camaraderie.

“It’s not about what place she comes in, but spending time with great people,” he said.

A GPS device is a must whenever Long rides in an event. She said it helps her stay focused during the ride.

“Smart phones these days have GPS in them, so you can just track yourself while you’re riding,” she said. “I’ll be, like, ‘I peddled myself from here to here!’”

Long admits she doesn’t follow a strict diet. While some friends train for triathlons and cut greasy foods from their diets, Long still enjoys fast food.

“I like my pizza and cheeseburgers,” she said. “When you ride for 10 hours straight, you will eat anything that’s in front of you.”

Long won’t be sure what her next event is until the semester is over. She’ll continue to train until the next task and a new group of competitive cyclists come her way.

“I do this for fun really,” she said. “It’s really enjoyable meeting new people and seeing new places and just challenging yourself really. It’s a mental challenge. It’s just you and your bike.”

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