Tough stuff Cyclist: John Call trains long and hard on his mountain bike, and he has a medal to show for it.

Fitness Profile

August 16, 1998|By Rasmi Simhan | Rasmi Simhan,Contributing Writer

Think about biking 20 kilometers. Add in a two-kilometer stretch of granite boulders. Now add in 100-degree temperatures.

John Call did it, and won a bronze medal.

After eight years of bicycle road-racing and two years of mountain biking, the 33-year-old Belair engineering technician finished in third place in the Beginner class last month at the Grundig/UCI World Cup Cross Country mountain-bike race in Conyers, Ga. His next race is today, at Susquehanna State Park in Harford County - more hills, more rocks, more challenge.

His motivation? "It's frustrating to miss out by seconds," so he "pushes harder and harder" to reach higher speeds and tackle greater obstacles.

Call races about three times a month during the March-October season, but he invests hours for each second spent in competition. He rides daily during his lunch hour outside his workplace, the Edgewood Arsenal at Aberdeen Proving Ground. Weekends, he trains two to three hours on the paths around Loch Raven Reservoir in Baltimore County or Susquehanna State Park.

His fuel for the body: a low-fat diet high in carbohydrates and proteins. His fuel for the mind: the national magazine Vell News, which covers news, workouts, diets and races.

Call caught the road-racing bug 10 years ago at a competition. "Seeing everyone exerting themselves, working to get up front, was very exciting," he said. A couple of years ago, a friend suggested mountain biking as a new challenge.

Racers licensed by the National Off-Road Mountain Biking Association compete nationwide to achieve higher ranking, from Beginner to Professional. After the racer places in the top five in five races, he or she steps up a level. Call's teammates have encouraged him to apply for Sport status, but he is determined to place first before he leaves Beginner level.

If you're thinking about getting into biking, check out a race, Call suggests. Mountain biking, more strenuous than road-racing, challenges the athlete to conquer obstacles as an individual and make good time for the team.

Call races with DeGroen's, a team named for a pilsner beer produced by its sponsor, the Baltimore Brewing Co. The team welcomes new members at its meetings, the fourth Monday of each month at the brewery, 104 Albemarle St. Call team president David Scharff at 410-685-7003 for more information.

Pub Date: 8/16/98

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