JackMac’s First Steps
12th Aug 2015Posted in: Blog, Featured Posts 1
JackMac’s First Steps

My introduction to cycling came in February when teammates John Hyndman and Aj Sood took me out on a forest loop through scenic Bloomington. This first ride was magical for me. Flying down firehouse at speeds nearing 40 miles per hour; I knew right then I wanted to pursue cycling.  That first ride convinced me to join the large cycling community within Indiana University but more importantly commit to the Beta Cycling Team.

Enjoying the summer roads

Enjoying the summer roads

The spring was somewhat of an introductory period for me as a new rider. My teammates did an amazing job of teaching me things that I never would have figured out alone. I went from knowing absolutely nothing about the sport of cycling to becoming somewhat knowledgeable in only a few months. My teammates tried to teach me something different everyday, including the different routes and loops throughout town, how to take care of a bike, and how to properly dress and prepare for a ride were all beneficial and fun experiences.

Then came track cycling and Spring Series. I attempted to be more independent here because I saw how promising and talented the Beta Bikes team was. They needed to focus on their mission: to win Spring Series and the Little 500. For me, I enjoyed meeting new rookies, learning about how to race on the Little 5 track, and performing various track workouts. My goal for the freshmen races was to get some experience and post a time to beat next year. And this is exactly what I did. I completed ITTs and Miss’N’Out and now have I concrete target that I plan on shattering come spring.

The year was coming to a close and summer was fast approaching. I had just purchased my first bike and was beyond excited to get biking in my hometown. The first couple weeks were simply me riding alone attempting to find the best roads, routes, and loops in the suburbs. Just as I had found 3 suitable loops, an opportunity came about that changed my summer cycling for the better. The neighborhood cyclists/dads who had been riding for 20+ years invited me to start riding with them.

Ready for Bloomington

Ready for Bloomington

The catch was that they rode at 5 A.M. most mornings. It required a lot of will to wake up at 4:30, but it was very efficient to have your workout done by 7 A.M. Additionally the benefits of joining the group were tremendous, riding with others allowed me to push myself, teaching me how to ride alongside others, and simply made the rides much more enjoyable. 

After much riding with this group, I have seen improvements in performance, strength, endurance, and confidence. With a little over 1,500 miles logged this summer, I look forward to surpassing that number by a large margin as the school year approaches. Also, another goal of mine is to complete a 100 mile ride without ending up in the hospital! I attempted my first century ride a couple weeks back and almost made it, but had to stop as I began to suffer from heatstroke. Returning to Bloomington and riding with the team is something I have been looking forward to the entire summer. I am excited to show people my improvements, but more importantly to continue my hard work because I am still a long ways off from where I want to be. The amazing experiences I have already had on the bike would not have been possible if it were not for my teammates, coach, neighborhood cyclers, and my family for all supporting me. I look forward to the enjoyment, the grind, the upcoming training of the school year, and making my fellow beta alumni proud. 



Jack McNamara


One Response

  1. Jim Files says:

    I can’t speak for the morning group you found, but I can speak to mine. We ride early (T/Th 530-7, Sa 6-9) so that we can get to a full time job at a reasonable hour and be home in time to support kids’ activities on Saturday. Its great to read that you found a group that would take you in; I’m sure you learned a lot from them, I’m also sure you pushed them attacking in spots the group wasn’t used to having attacks — we get that a lot from a couple of the newer guys.

    Good luck with the coming year. Looking forward to more posts here as well as ride tracks on Strava to see how the Betas are doing.

    in – kai –
    Jim Files, UCSD 1995
    EB391, ZG31

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