In the Spotlight: Simon Song

What’s your name? 

My name is Shi Wen Song. And when you sound out my name in Cantonese, it sounds like Simon!

How old are you?

27 Years Young.

Specialty/Interest? (Cycling?)

I have a growing passion for the competition, camaraderie and confidence that’s inherent of all sports!

When and why did you start cycling?

I guess growing up with three other kids in the house taught me a little about the competitive spirit! And being the eldest, I had to make the hard and fast decisions – invaluable to sports. I ran my first sub 7 min mile in PA class junior high. I was captain of the Freshman Squad on the track team in high school, the same year I was awarded Gatorade Rookie of the Year in ’05 and I got an award for Pommel Horse senior year of high school in Gymnastics. 

It wasn’t until two years ago when I evaluated my life that cycling became a reality. All that I was built up and made to be aligned with the niche of cycling sports. I started as a courier delivering food, odds and ends and discovered track bike racing. There’s a historic velodrome (banked asphalt track) in Kissena Park and I participated in a race. I was hooked. It was all the rush of a fixed gear bicycle and the exacting nature of a sport in a picturesque locale. 

How do you prepare for a race or a ride? Is there a routine you follow?

Routine is something that’s growing on me. I think it’s one of the rhythms of any sport as it focuses your mind and body for what’s to come. 

The night before, I ready my bicycle, kit, shoes and coffee for the morning to eliminate laziness. So, before dawn, all I need to do is already set up and I don’t need to caveman my way and wake the neighbors. If it’s a long ride I have food or go buy some along the way. If it’s a short ride I can get away nice and light. 

Race prep, though, starts a few days before. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Also, knowing what type of a cyclist you are helps with nutrition and race planning! I think I am a sprinter/time-trialist, roughly translated over from my mid-distance running days. So I have a good mix of fast and slow twitch muscles, which makes timing my attacks crucial. I take more carbs (yes, CARBS) than protein for good energy burn and reserves.

What’s the longest distance you’ve biked? What was it like? Where did you go?

It was unexpected, but, I rode about 125 miles on a track bike. Yes, no brakes. We went to the Ramapo Indian Reserve on the Saddle River Path and came back through New Jersey. Tired was an understatement. 

What must you have with you on every ride?

Courage. Because you’ll never know what you’ll have to face and go through, all while wearing a skin-tight kit.  

How many races have you done so far? Which was your favorite and why?

I’ve done about 15 or so combined road and track races so far. And my favorite is Grant’s Tomb Criterium up at 122nd St, Riverside Drive. A criterium is raced on a short, technical course that tests your handling and stamina, as riders jock for position every lap. Grant’s Tomb Criterium is also the season starter so it’s a big event with familiar faces and food trucks. You hear cheers and fast voices on speakers. Fun!

What do you like most about cycling? What do you like least?

It’s natural. It’s freedom. And like creation and art, it’s whatever you make of it. But, here and there, it’s that one person or thing that could ruin your experience. Snobbishness is one thing that ticks me off about cycling. 

I remember you’ve mentioned cycling and it being connected to God. Can you tell me about that?

I mentioned before that I felt all that I was aligned with the niche of cycling. During my self evaluation time, I prayed and asked God what He would do with me. And also at the time, there was this amazing bicycle I wanted…haha. But I kid you not He told me to buy it and it has made for good connections in the cycling world. Growing up doing track and field led the way into the sport. I’m somewhat of a rebel and my time being a bicycle courier tuned my bike handling skills. And, naturally, I was gifted physically and mentally to take on the rigors of cycling – which I feel is 30% physical and 100% mental. 

Can you remember your first race ever? What was it like? What was going on in your mind?

I was so excited to just be riding next to other people with the same passion. My riding buddies were also there so I wanted to hang with them. It’s one of those things that brings you into the moment. I remember one lap being in the front with 12 laps to go – not a good thing – but not caring. Now, I’m a little careful, because I want to win!

Describe the perfect bike.

Once you throw your leg over the bars and sit on the saddle and it makes you feel as one. 

What product(s) have you used a lot more of now ever since you started cycling?

Protein shakes, energy bars, fruits, hydration powders…coffee. yes, COFFEE. Especially GOOD espresso!

How often do you train/practice? What does training/practice consist of?

I try to ride 10-15 hours a week. Some days it’s a long ride, for recovery. Some days I hammer at the park until I can’t breathe. 

How many bikes do you own? 

Haha, my favorite question. I have 1 road, 1 Track, and 3 other sitting in pieces. 

What do you eat after a long ride? 

The most important question! Definitely take a protein/recovery drink 30mins~1hr after your effort. Your body is at its peak absorption rate at this time. Do it. Then I eat lots of fruits for simple carbs and find or cook some lean protein for further recovery!

What’s your next goal in terms of cycling?

The dream is to get on a profession/amateur team and get paid to do what I love! But, in the immediate, I want to inspire others to get out there on your bike and ride. There’s something about waking up in one place, riding, and being in another all on your own terms.

Do you have a cycling name? (If so, explain why that’s your name)

Not really! If you like you can shoot me one 🙂

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