Nearly everyone is partial to one sport or another, whether it’s watching the events or competing. Basketball, baseball, soccer, and a few others come to mind when thinking of common athletics. Cycling, a vigorous and highly competitive sport is often forgotten, as it is a more rare sport. For perspective, the NFHS reported 7.8 million high school athletes alone in 2013, where the USA Cycling organization only reported 74,516 members within 38 different age groups, not just high school .
Within the organization, there are a few categories. The main cycling cats are road biking and mountain biking . While both are extremely arduous and taxing, road and mountain biking are unique from each other in many ways. To confine either to simply “road” or “mountain” would be incorrect due to the many subcategories. Within “road biking” lies criterium, track, tri, endurance, and time trial. “Mountain biking” contains downhill super D, slalom, enduro, cyclocross, and cross country. Bike cost, riders’ body type, trail/path terrain, gear, and training are all just a few components that separate one type of cycling from another.
NORBA (National Off Road Bicycle Association) is the branch of USA Cycling that deals with mountain biking. Mountain biking is an extremely technical sport. The technicality of it means a full body workout. Rock hopping on boulders or over a log while averaging around 15 mph requires major upper body strength. Hitting a large root at that speed can throw a rider off the bike and cause serious injury to them, and the precious baby of carbon under their feet. A serious rider will have shoes equipped with cleats that attach to the pedals, creating a “one with the bike” sensation. A Mountain biker will have mega thighs, calves, triceps, and core. A typical rider is more “hefty” and could go as far as resemble a pear in shape.
USCF (united States Cycling Federation) is a branch of USA Cycling that deals with the Road aspect of the sport. Where mountain biking is focused more on building the muscles of the body, road riding involves a whole lot of cardio. Long, long distances go into roadie training. For this, a rider only needs one bike. A road bike will be the lightest of bikes, the frame made entirely of carbon fiber. Where a mountain rider is built in the thighs and upper body, a road rider is uniquely trim and slim. With noodle arms and paper-thin abdomen, these racers will be light and cut through the wind much easier. The calves of road riders will be particularly evident, however. Another way to recognize a road rider is the “bikers tan”. This distinct tan is so prominent it creates the illusion that a rider still has their race uniform on whenever they are naked.