Three Decades of Cycling and Running - (Ultra) Dot Helling
I am so honored to be a Muscles Not Motors "spoke" and ambassador. Onion River Sports (ORS) has been supporting me for decades and I am so thankful and appreciative. Back in the 1980's when now-owner Andrew Brewer was an ORS "shop guy," or about to be, I was running a lot of marathons. I ventured into triathlons after my husband bought me my first bike. In 1986 I qualified for the Hawaii Ironman at a now-defunct Vermont “tinman” competition. It was August and Hawaii was in October, just two months later. I wandered into ORS and asked then-owners Jack Nash and Warren Kitzmiller how I could make my 27-pound bike faster. Jack immediately exclaimed, "get rid of it!" So they set me up with a swanky Italian Cilo and I fell in love with cycling. I still have that Cilo on some training wheels in the guest room.
I completed Hawaii in good form, and a few more triathlons, before moving on to ultrarunning. The simplicity I love about running was just not there for me in the triathlon world. I continued to cycle, and still ride thousands of miles each year on my bike from ORS, including weekly Stowe Bike Club time trials, "lunch runs," and long weekend rides with friends. My favorite ride each year is the Onion River Century. Not only does it boast beautiful scenery, great camaraderie and delicious food, but it raises needed funds for the Kellogg Hubbard Library here in Montpelier, one of our most important citywide resources. That’s ORS, always supporting the local communities and their athletes!
The bike has been an awesome tool for my health and well-being, except when I crash. I’ve had some serious crashes but so far have been lucky to recover physically and mentally and get back on the bike. Cycling is a terrific cross-training exercise, especially for runners like myself who need to monitor the pounding but just can’t get enough of running. Running is my favorite thing to do, particularly adventure trail runs. But I also dearly love cycling the Vermont countryside on a beautiful day with the wind whizzing through the cracks of my helmet, up Route 12 to Elmore, then over to do the Tour de Hump, we start over App Gap. However, we also had a regular "4 Gap Ride" which went App Gap then Lincoln then Brandon then Middlebury, or vice versa as to the latter two, depending on the winds.
There are oh so many more delicious rides just outside my door, without a motor!