by Oliver Evans
Knee warmers—are they in, or out?
Matt Staples, Barrie, Ont.
I’m honestly not sure if they were ever in. I wore them a lot when I was younger but never without hassle from other riders. When I got my H&R knee warmers last January, they were too big and overlapped my socks, so they may as well have been leg warmers. I determined that there would be no point in wearing them, so I’ve gone a year without knee warmers.
Besides, knee warmers add a strange element to the cyclist tan line which simply doesn’t belong. It’s not worth it.
What’s your favourite part of racing?
Maddie Dupuis, Winnipeg
Winning comes to mind first. Although it’s a rare (personal) occurrence, the feeling of winning a race is brilliant. It doesn’t matter what level of race it is either—whether it’s a local crit or a national championship—winning feels great. Winning also feels good if a teammate takes it home after a full team effort, where everyone poured their heart and soul into a team result, and the effort lead to success.
However, after writing that, I think that what I like even more is feeling the encouragement and support from family, friends, teammates and even strangers while I’m racing. There’s nothing quite like rolling through a crowd while in a breakaway and hearing your name being cheered by numerous crowd members. When you feel that support, for a split second, there’s no pain in your legs. Anything feels possible. You add an extra 10 watts until the cheers are behind you and you’re on your own again. Others’ pride in me makes me feel proud of myself, and I like feeling that way.
Do you ever feel like you’re putting all this work in for nothing?
Mohammed Alabdoulsalam, Halifax
Yes. I spend most of winter wondering what I’m doing. I struggle a lot.
In the winter it definitely feels as though I’m putting in work. Motivation is at an all time low, so is the temperature. Riding is impossible some days due to my depression and anxiety. The days without training quickly accumulate, until I’ve gone a month without properly training. Then I’ll finally get back on my bike and wonder if there’s a point to it. How could I make up for all the lost time? Based on how hard it is for me to ride during the winter, I definitely wonder if the struggle is worth it.
In the summer though, I’m just riding my bike. I’m not working at all. I’m doing what I love. And that freedom is the reason why I put in the work. The feelings expressed in the last question are also what make the effort seem worth it.
RELATED: Ask Oli: Injuries, diet and bike fit
Oliver Evans is a 19-year-old cyclist from Winnipeg, who is currently based in Victoria. He races on the road with H&R Block Pro Cycling.