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Bicycle racer gearing up for Fitchburg four-day ‘Classic’

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ASHBY — Nick Normandin’s exercise regimen before a major event is impressive. “I train 15 to 25 hours a week,” he said. “Swim, bike, run, Pilates and weight resistance.”

A native of Ashby, Normandin will be competing in his first four-day Fitchburg Longsjo Classic bicycle race on July 3-6.

Throughout the year, Normandin trains and competes as a triathlete. A triathlon has three events: swim, bike and run. He’s raced in everything from a sprint triathlon — 0.5-mile swim, 15-mile bike and 3.1-mile run — to a half iron man, 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike and 13.1-mile run.

Cycling is a special love for Normandin.

“The best feeling I ever had racing was in a Cat. 5 criterium,” he said. A criterium is a race ridden in laps around a short course. This year, Fitchburg’s criterium is July 6. Normandin’s field will be starting at 1 p.m. for a 20-mile race.

Amateur bicycle racers work their way up through five categories or ‘cats.’ Last year Normandin rode as a Cat. 5, this year as a Cat. 4. Racers accumulate points based on how many races they compete in and what their finishes. A specific number of points are required to move on to the next category. Normandin said he’d like to be a Cat. 3 by next spring.

He races for the Fitchburg Cycling Club and credits his involvement in cycling to Patrick Lyden, another member. Normandin and Lyden are both personal trainers at the FitCamp Studio in Leominster.

Normandin holds a bachelor’s degree in exercise and sport science from Fitchburg State College. He also earned an American Council on Exercise (ACE) personal trainer certification while at school.

When he isn’t training, Normandin said he enjoys working with athletes of different levels and abilities in group classes.

“I love it,” he said. “In the group training at the studio, we’re getting people stronger to meet their needs.”

Normandin is a versatile athlete. He played baseball throughout high school and into college. He has trained with the North Medford Triathlon group and this year trained a group for the Boston Marathon. He finished with a time of 3:14 even though he had knee injury.

But riding a bike is what Normandin enjoys most right now. Bicycles were always around his family; his parents rode cross-country in the ’70s. The family attended the yearly Longsjo race regularly.

“It’s so nice to be on a bike for two hours. I can get a lot of ‘me time’ on a bike. I even saw two quiet little foxes once.”

Not only is Normandin bringing Ashby to the Longsjo, the Longsjo will be coming to Ashby. The time trial race on Thursday, July 3, goes up Rindge Road, passing through a section of Ashby. Normandin’s start time will be between 8 and 9 a.m. that day. For more information on the Fitchburg Longsjo Classic, visit www.longsjo.com.

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