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By Karen Kefauver – Sentinel correspondent
August 19, 2010
Link to Sentinel article

Triathletes trainingTriathletes are well known for devising all kinds of workouts to prepare themselves for the rigors of their competitions, which combine swim, bike and run races back-to-back-to-back in one big test of endurance.

Local athlete Dave Reid, 33, has seen a few odd training tactics in his time. He has been a fixture on the triathlon circuit for 15 years and won the Santa Cruz Triathlon [formerly the Santa Cruz Sentinel Triathlon] in 2004.

Now as he prepares for two upcoming Santa Cruz County triathlons — the Big Kahuna Triathlon, which features a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike and 13.1-mile run Sept. 12, and the Santa Cruz Triathlon, which features a 1.5­kilometer swim, 40k bike and 10k run on Sept. 26. — Reid has found his own unique way to supplement his strength training. He hooks a trailer full of vegetables to his bike and pedals up and down Highway 1 and throughout the county as a volunteer delivery person for Freewheelin’ Farm.

“I really wanted to support what they are doing — it’s so cool! And for me, it’s a great workout,” said Reid, who works full time as a project manager for the Santa Cruz County Redevelopment Agency.

Located five miles north of downtown Santa Cruz, Freewheelin’ Farm is a cooperatively run eight­acre organic farm overlooking the MontereyBay. Launched in 2002 by farmer Amy Courtney, it may be best known for being the only farm in the area that uses bicycle transportation [a bike with a trailer attached] to deliver loads of fruit and vegetables to members of its Community Supported Agriculture.

“A CSA is generally the best way to get the freshest produce to customers and you know where it comes from,” explained Courtney. “It supports your local farmer and cuts out the middle man. It also gives you the freshest harvest we have that day.”

Even though Reid and his wife, Damara Ganley, have a big garden on their property near Scotts Valley and don’t need the food, Reid wanted to support the environmental mission of the farm.

“I found the Freewheelin’ website while looking for CSAs,” said Reid.

“I fell in love with their biking and their produce.”

Last year, when he first contacted the Freewheelin’ farmer partners Darryl Wong, Kirstin Yogg and Courtney, he said, “They all thought I was kinda crazy to volunteer to ride stuff in. They had been used to doing it themselves, doing the harvest in morning, then riding the produce into town on their own. They were super excited that I was willing to do that. I just wanted to help out and I love to ride.”

Others heard about Reid’s volunteering and stepped forward to pitch in as well.

As for the workout, Reid said, “I ride my bike uphill out to the farm in afternoon, facing the headwind as I go north on Highway 1. Then, I hitch a couple hundred pounds of veggies to my bike and haul it back into town.”

He started volunteering last summer and continued through November. This summer, Reid is riding for Freewheelin’ once or twice a month. The bicycle delivery routes range from six miles one-way to 25 miles roundtrip.

Reid said the fall veggies may provide the best strength training.

Most of his triathlon training is still focused on the traditional run, bike and swim routines, however, especially since his longer term goal is to qualify for the Hawaii Ironman World Championships in Kona in October 2011.

When it comes to delivering produce on a bike, it’s not a race, but it is a win-win for both the farmer and the athlete. Still, Courtney said there is a downside.

“We get more flat tires than you would if we delivered food in a truck,” she said. “But if we used a truck, nobody would volunteer to make deliveries. And that’s a pretty big upshot. Just being on the bike is a quiet time to decompress. It’s just you and the wind and the view. You are moving and it’s good exercise.”

And even if you aren’t training for a triathlon like Reid, it’s a great workout.

For more information on Freewheelin’ Farm, visit www.freewheelinfarm.com. For race details, visit www.firstwave-events.com/kahuna and www.santacruztriathlon.org.

Karen Kefauver, www.karenkefauver.com, is a freelance sports and travel journalist based in Santa Cruz and an avid cyclist. Assuming she survives, Karen will post her Downieville race report here: www.santacruzlive.com/blogs/outside

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