Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Wesley Wheelers’ First CyberCycle Competition

By Dan Chang, resident at Wesley Palms Retirement Community

A few weeks before a national CyberCycle competition took place among senior communities, Wesley Palms Retirement Community had a chance to get acquainted with this stationary smart bike. Equipped with virtual reality screens, CyberCycle connects riders from all over the world and allows them to compete with each other.

The goal of the national competition was for a team to ride as many miles as possible during a week. Since many of our team members had only ridden the bike a couple of times before the competition began our goal was simple: the Wesley Wheelers were determined to stay out of last place! However, by the third day of the competition, we learned that we were in sixth place nationwide, out of a total of 85 teams. This generated a wave of enthusiasm and a desire to hang on to that position! By the fifth day of the competition we learned that we were only about 10 miles behind a team from Alaska that was in fifth place. That night we managed to pass the Alaskans to take over fifth place and were determined not to let them recapture the lead.

We needed to build up an insurmountable lead, about 20 miles, by midnight during the last
day of the competition. However, at dinner hour the day before, we learned that we were only a few miles behind the fourth place team in New Jersey. This ignited another wave of enthusiasm and adrenaline. That night and the next morning we rode a few extra miles allowing us to pass the New Jersey team by breakfast on Saturday morning. Knowing that the race would end for us that night, the team decided to keep the bike as “busy” as possible all day Saturday to try to stay in fourth place. The lead for fourth place changed during the day and we were passed by New Jersey during the lunch hour. Two of our grittier teammates, Barbara and Phyllis, determined that they were not going to let that happen again during our dinner hour. They kept the bike busy through dinner. Well, needless to say, we passed the New Jersey team when they stopped to have their dinner. We kept riding until 9 pm PDT (12 midnight EDT). They never caught up and by then, we had built a 40-mile lead over the Alaskans so we stopped to party!

We learned a lot about ourselves, teamwork and sportsmanship during the event. Especially from the first place team from Santa Barbara. It turned out that our top rider, Dan,
was in fourth place in the individual rider’s competition, and only a few miles ahead of two of the Santa Barbara riders during the last hours of the competition. He was also only a few miles behind the third place rider (also from Santa Barbara). So our strategy was to continue to ride intermittently in order to keep the third place competitor riding, thereby preventing the fifth and sixth place riders from catching up (since Santa Barbara only had one CyberCycle). Unbeknownst to Dan, the lead riders for the Santa Barbara team had stopped riding in order to allow as many of the entire team’s riders to achieve 10 miles in order to get their “badges” and “T-shirt” for the competition. Their lead riders sacrificed their potential third and fourth-place individual rider finishes and Dan wound up in third place even though any one of those three riders could have easily passed him. What a great lesson in teamwork and sportsmanship!

Learn more about CyberCycle from our sister community, Fredericka Manor HERE.

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