His muscles, flexed and visible, appear to slide like fluid under a glistening layer of lean, shaved skin. A pair of thin, red gloves cushions his tightly clenched fists as he powers through the winding Appalachian hills. Katsu, a tested endurance athlete who covers nearly 300 miles per week on a mere 23 millimeters of rubber, began riding competitively in ninth grade. Now, at 23, the cycle cross rider’s life is consumed by one thing: competition.
“I just want to get faster,” Katsu explains. “On a heavy training week, I’ll spend about 20 hours a week on the bike and race on the weekends.”
Unfortunately, not all of us have a VO2 max among the world’s elite. Fear not. A senior studying computer science and business, Katsu feels that spring is the best time to try what he calls “the hardest sport ever created.”
“As long as you get a bike that is fitted to you and has been properly tuned up, just get out and ride. For the first year or two there are no specifics or secret training tips. Find out what’s comfortable for you and just get time on the bike,” Katsu says.
Having seen his share of nontraditional cyclists try their luck at his demanding hobby, Katsu’s main advice is to not get discouraged.
“So many times I’ve seen very good runners and swimmers try cycling and quit because they are so much better at their respective sports. It took me a year and a half to get my ability. It’s a steep learning curve—I sucked at first,” Katsu admits. Follow Katsu’s tips to find cycling success.