Wayne Joseph’s Blog

Running with the Big Dog

Top Cyclist, Ryan Mason, helps BIIM event

Ryan Mason with daughter Rylie

Ryan Mason with daughter Rylie

     The Big Island International Marathon is offering an “Early Bird” entry for all three races in which they host.  Participants can receive 50 percent off the full marathon (26.2-miles), half-marathon (13.1-miles) or the 5K (3.1-mile) run/walk if mailed in by November 1.

   The “Early Bird” acts as an incentive in getting people to sign up well in advance for the March 21, 2010 event and allows them enough preparation time to successfully complete the respective distances.

   During the marathon and half-marathon races a volunteer, Ryan Mason, will follow the last runner on his bicycle. Mason informs the aid stations and police officers alone the route that the last runner has passed. This allows these sections of the course to be reopened to the general public.

  Mason does a service for the BIIM event as it is no easy task for someone who is a competitive cyclist. To accomplish this task he needs to spend nearly five hours as the trail bike sweep.  

  Growing up in Long Beach, California, Mason got into traditional team sports at an early age as he played baseball from the time he could hit a ball off a tee, up through high school.

   “I enjoyed playing baseball and the camaraderie with other players, however I grew to feel awkward and out of place in the game,” Mason said.

   Mason was a pretty good pitcher on the local baseball teams and he even tried his hand at football and golf, before discovering his love for surfing while in junior high.

  “I really enjoyed surfing as it was much different than the other activities I was involved in earlier and it brought a strong connection between me and nature,” he said.

  In high school Mason broadened his athletic experiences by running cross-country and track and finally cycling.

  “During my junior year in high school I started my first job at Jax Bicycle Center (Long Beach) as a cashier.  I developed a good relationship with the other employees including the manager of the store who knew of my running experience and helped in the procurement of my first road bike,” Mason said.

    In 2003, at the young age of 22, Mason moved to the Big Island in his quest to expand his life experiences.

   Six years ago he landed a job with Chris Seymour at the Hilo Bike Hub as a mechanic while he continues to pursue a degree in Philosophy and in Linguistics at the University of Hawaii Hilo.

   “The completion of two degrees will hopefully come to fruition this spring,” he said.

   Since age 16 Mason’s life has been filled with cycling which has now become his primary form of exercise.

   “I’ve become immersed in not only a new sport, but a new culture.  That is one thing about cycling that is so amazing and which continues to renew my love for the sport.

   Cycling is used as a means for multiple purposes, which is one thing that many sports cannot claim.  Some use bicycles primarily for transportation, others for recreational use and fitness, while others integrate it within their lives as a competitive activity,” Mason said.

   Mason will get out and ride for about two hours, and sometimes up to four or five hours, three to five times per week, depending on his school schedule. 

   “During the summer I was lucky to be able to ride much more than during the academic season.  There are five formal rides in Hilo which go on early in the morning where riders meet up and cycle together for about two to three hours,” he said.

    What helps Mason is that during the school year he will write out a riding schedule every three weeks in advance.  “Having a written schedule seems to be one of the best ways of keeping myself accountable.

   September to January is the off season in cycling and so mountain bikes come out as well as the crazy, brakeless, fixed gears.  This provides for a break from the training regimen and a little fun with a different rig,” he said.

Mason and family
Mason and family

At 28 years of age Mason has a busy life, working a part time job, attending school full time and raising a two year old daughter, Rylie.

   “It is great to be living in Hawaii where you can be outdoors year round.  I have never understood the craze over using aerobic gym equipment when the weather is nice.  It s too bad there is no indoor rock climbing gym in Hilo, which is an indoor exercise that I do enjoy,” he said.

   And Mason offers the following advice for those who would like to get into competitive cycling.  “Cycling specifically, can be a very taxing sport physically, mentally, and emotionally.  I know many people who tried it, got very engaged in the sport, and then just up and quit a year or two later because of the time involvement and the unpredictability of strength gains.

   The classic mistake in cycling is to shift to a very hard gear and pedal at a slow cadence (RPM) and feel like one is getting a good workout, especially aerobically.  This is actually a bad way to train your body. 

   Maintaining a cadence of 70 to 90 RPM during the ride will help build the body and heart’s strength, the muscle growth will follow,” he said.

    So if you’re looking to expand your exercise routine and thinking of giving cycling a try you can drop by Hilo Bike Hub in Hilo and ask for Ryan Mason.

    And if you ever see a bike rider bringing up the rear of a marathon event remember to say thank you for someone who is truly giving of their time to help an event run more efficiently.

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September 28, 2009 Posted by | Cyclist, Profiles | , , , , | 1 Comment