Michigan Bicycle Racing Association

Michigan Bicycle Racing Association

Road Team BLOG

 

Welcome to The Flying Rhino Road Team Page. My name is Mark Wolowiec and have been a club member since 1992 and have been a sponsored racer from 1993 to present. I have been the road captain for about 10 years. I have raced mountain, road and cross. I love riding and racing my many bikes. It is truly my passion, something that started out as a hobby to keep in shape for the "ski" season has now become a year round commitment and permanent lifestyle.

 I joined the Rhino's not knowing really anything about racing, hard to believe I know, but I liked riding on long rides and doing century rides even early on and remember doing the Assemmacher 100 bike event in Swartz Creek seeing the purple and yellow jerseys of the Rhino's. I loved those colors! What caught my attention while on the century ride was watching with precision those 4-5 Rhino's do a pace line. I said to myself, I'd love to be able to do that. As I followed this group, one of the Rhino's invited me to join in the rotation of riders. I was nervous but the riders were very cordial and made me feel welcome. Right from the start I wanted to be part of this club. Now, after 18+ years I am still here........I would hope and think that other riders would join our club for the same reasons as I did. I have made a lot of friends, learned much about how to ride and race a bike and have had tremendous fun in the process.

I think one of the more formative images in my head at the time, and timing is everything, was a local race in southeast Michigan called the Tour De Michigan sponsored by Blue Care Health Network. It was a series of criteriums in 6 or 7 Michigan cities set up in late August each year where beginner riders and top Pro could race. I remember watching as a spectator the downtown Rochester stage and feeling the wind in my face as the peleton whisked by. I was hooked on that speed!! It was exhilarating.....I wanted to do it....I was excited to try racing.

I eventually through word of mouth found my way to Kinetic Bikes in Clarkston. I met Jeff Noftz and Robert Linden. Both were very instrumental and persuaded me to participate in the many Rhino group rides, especially the Tuesday night Waterford Track. I was reluctant at first, but did eventually go. They and the Rhino's did not disappoint. I remember riding in a cotton t-shirt, untucked and in black non-descript shorts, flying by at 25mph in the last position during one of the mini-races, just hanging on............but having fun and wanting more.  I have made Waterford Track a regular happening each Summer in my training regimen.

We are always looking for new riders, whether you are new to the area, new to cycling, a returning masters rider or an up and coming youngster/junior rider............we welcome you!! I believe that road riding/racing is the core of a cyclist. I think if you can master riding a bike, and do it well, it will parley into improving your skills for mountain, cross or bmx, as well as road racing.

As a cyclist athlete, I have felt it important to have a total year round commitment to health and fitness. Diet, nutrition and physical activity are important throughout the yearly cycle. Both indoor and outdoor riding, cross training in an activity you like,  gym work, a stretching program, and incorporating T'ai Chi and/ or Yoga are all necessary for the well rounded cyclist.

I have for many years used my road season to prepare me for cyclo-cross, so the season and the demands are great. The winter months from December until mid-March are spent in the gym and then throwing in the weekly KENSINGTON METRO PARK TRAINING RIDE on Sunday's at 9:30am. One of the motivating factors for this ride, as well as getting off the trainer and the camaraderie of group riding, is to prepare for the annual trip to TUCSON, AZ. I have helped run and organize this trip now for 11 years as of 2011. It is meant as a fun week of riding/ training in the greater Tucson and University of Arizona area with other riders/ racers from throughout the country in warm weather. It is a must for any cyclist as a jump start on the cycling season.

Upon returning from Tucson the month of March and April mark the beginning of the road and cycling season. The FLYING RHINO'S host the WATERFORD TRAINING SERIES on 3 consecutive Saturdays at Waterford Hills Racewayin Waterford associated with the Waterford Sportsman's Club. On each of the following Sunday's the Ann Arbor Velo Club sponsors the ANN ARBOR TRAINING SERIES. Both series have been up and running for over 20+ years and are a great learning/ training tool for any cyclist of any skill level. Both are highly recommended weather you ride road, mountain or cross.

The race schedule for Michigan is set forth on the MBRA websiteand is a link on the top part of this page. I think you will find many races that will suit your liking from road races, time trials, and criteriums throughout the State of Michigan. Our own TUESDAY NIGHT WATERFORD TRACK, only available for use to club members, but non-members can come 2 times to check us out and see if they would like to join our club, is great for training and riding and honing your riding skills. All levels of riders welcome. Also at Waterford Track is the Summer race Series, WATERFORD WORLDS, now on WEDNESDAYS throughout the Summer, see website for specific dates and times.

As a cyclist/ racer I think every Rhino should participate and set their goal of doing one of, or all of, the state Championships. That would include the STATE TIME TRIAL, STATE ROAD RACE, and STATE CRITERIUM CHAMPIONSHIPS. Again all available to view on MBRA.

As a loftier goal, several of us have participated over the past years, in doing NATIONALS. This location varies from year to year depending on which state will host the event. The disciplines are the same but the competition is ramped up and many will compete against retired ex-pro racers at the masters level. Information here is obtained off the usacycling.org website. We are well traveled, racing in past in places like:

New Mexico, Tour De Gila

Montreal, Mt Sutton, Master North American Championships

Vermont, Green Mountain Stage Race

Arizona, Superior Road Race and others

Ohio, state road championships

Nationals, Indiana, California, Washington, Utah, Kentucky, Pennsylvania to name just a few.

As the road season winds down in September, then the second season starts, namely cyclo-cross with more local Tailwind races as well as mid-west USGP and national races.

I think the club has a lot to offer if you are willing to participate and make the commitment. There are a variety of training rides through out the week through out the YEAR. Whether you are a recreational riders, a touring rider interested in putting on miles, an occasional rider just out for fun on the Saturday ride or a seasoned veteran interested in racing at the highest level the Rhino's are for you. I hope to see you on one of the many rides or races this year. As long as it is not minus 10 degrees, you'll see me out there.

There is no excuse.......it should be priority number 1 on your daily planner........

GET OUT AND RIDE!!

Respectfully Submitted

FRCC ROAD CAPTAIN

Mark Wolowiec