Leschyshyn enjoying ride

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:31 AM ET

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- With no rush to get to training camp, veteran defenceman Curtis Leschyshyn decided to try his hand at cycling.

Leschyshyn, a 35-year-old bike enthusiast who has ridden part of the course where the Tour de France is held, had never raced competitively until this past Saturday in Golden, Colo.

"It's something I've always thought about, but I've never gotten the chance to do it," Leschyshyn said from his home near Denver yesterday.

"It was fun, a lot of fun. It was a tough challenge, but I felt pretty good about my performance."

Pretty good?

How about great.

Making his racing-circuit debut on a course that features a dead-straight climb 7.2 km up Lookout Mountain, Leschyshyn placed fifth among 20 racers with a time of 22 minutes, 27 seconds.

It should be noted he nearly finished fourth, but it was determined the other racer beat him by a hair. Not bad for a guy who was quick to note he started out the gate "dead last."

"I was wondering what I had gotten myself into, but I was able to get my big butt in gear," said Leschyshyn, with a laugh. "Let's face it, I'm never going to be able to get as small as some of those racers who are 140 lbs.

"I just thought I'd give this a try. The race I was in was supposed to be held in May and I wouldn't have had the opportunity to do it then. Unfortunately, this was the last race on the schedule so I'm not going to be able to use that to fill my time either. I'll just have to keep biking in the basement."

Like most other NHLers, Leschyshyn is adjusting to life without hockey. The father of three -- including an 11-month old -- and his wife Laura stay busy by taking his children to school and making sure their son is at hockey practice on time.

An unrestricted free agent, Leschyshyn has held contract talks with the Senators about returning should there be a season.

Leschyshyn, the team's assistant captain last season, was told by GM John Muckler the club wanted to hold off any serious talks until there's a new CBA in place.

TASTE OF RETIREMENT

"You get to a point where you wonder if you'll ever play again. I don't know. Maybe this is a precursor to retirement for me," said Leschyshyn.

"This lockout might give me a chance to prepare for what's ahead for me."

Leschyshyn has skated a few times this summer, but hasn't hit the ice all that often.

He'll try going three times a week with the likes of Joe Sakic, Adam Foote, Steve Konowalchuk and Ken Klee starting today.

"It's tough to get motivated to go skating because you don't know what's going to happen," said Leschyshyn.

"You sort of feel like you're skating without a purpose."


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