I was on my TT bike the other day, just going out for a fun tempo ride on my TT loop… I have this terrific loop set up in my town: straight bomb down a wide county road, right at a light (that’s always green), then a right without a light, straight bomb down a wide empty road to a very long right turn that leads seamlessly back onto the main road again… Fast, steady training. If you’re a time trialist, finding your trusty training course is a MUST…
At any rate, I decided to get out there. Man am I slow!!! Lol… I remember burning these loops up, 16, 17 minutes at 29 mph… Well, here I was going 25 and hurting! Hello!!! Eh, memories… I remember doing loops on this course prior to the Somerset and State TTs, and I’d say once a week I’d see riders (clumps of them) from numerous teams, and I’d see these guys in my sights, sometimes pacelining, sometimes not, and I’d light it up and pass them like a rocket, 34 mph in full TT mode… 🙂
Sometimes the guys would chase, and I remember one time I sat up, then rode with two other riders (from a rival team, names withdrawn here out of respect!), both on their TT bikes, and when it was my pull, I just kept it pinned, 450w 450w 450w 450w. I looked down between my legs and could see the guy getting gapped, and I just put the hammer down. Sigh. We have a masochist in all of us… Pain, especially the type you inflict upon others, is your friend.
I digress. I was meandering around the loop today when I saw an old friend from high school on the sidewalk, bike upside down. He was looking mega pissed. This kid is 6’3″, full gym rat, biceps thicker than my quads, so I was careful not to make a wise remark!!! He had grime all over his hands, all over his shirt, shorts. Eh, to be a beginner again… He said some truck cut him off at the intersection and he smashed the brakes and toppled to the curb. Now, it appeared, the chain was stuck between the cassette and the frame.
This kid was, it seemed, one nanosecond from winging his 1999 Trek 1000, decked out with clip-ons (he’s in training for a triathlon) into the woods, a la Riis, but I pulled the wheel from the dropout, put it back in. He thought I was a genius, thought it was some “magical trick.” I told him to wear a damn helmet!!! He said he was training for a triathlon, knew I was a “hard-core” racer :), and wanted to ride for a bit. I declined, he wanted to ride, I declined, he wanted to ride.
Push came to shove and off we went, pacelining down the road. Eh, deja vu. He was physically very strong, I could see him powering a low cadence — we were going 27 mph no problems. But he’s a big dude, I suspect his aerobic engine is not up to snuff… I pulled through 28, hold it, 28, 28, 29, 29. Just turn that screw. I swung off and he started to come, but that was it. I kept it steady… 29, 29, 30, 30, 30, 31… Eh, some things never change!!!
Friends from school say one of two things to me: that I’m crazy to put in sicko time and mileage on the bike week in and week out (less as I focused on TT Cup and GSC and coaching) OR they say, “Oh, I can do that. If I trained like you, I could ride fast, too.” And I don’t doubt them. Get out, train smart, and see what you can do. But Ben rode up to me at the end, put one of his enormous paws on my shoulder, and said, “That… was… fast…” I went on to tell him that someone with his talent (he was star football player, wrestler, baseball player) could really become a good rider. Just find what you’re good at, maximize it — it’s that simple. “No dude, that was nuts. You’re… not right in the head…”
I took that as a compliment. I suppose we cyclists are all a bit deranged… It takes an outsider to point that out… But, coming from arguably our school’s finest athlete, I took it as a huge compliment. I didn’t dare tell him I’m 20 pounds over race weight and horribly out of shape!!! 🙂 Mean on the bike, nice guy off it!!!
I’m awaiting to hear the results from the guys regarding this weekend’s races… Season’s winding down, but I’m working with a slew of guys prepping for some mean ‘cross campaigns. Let’s see if we can come up with some “magical tricks” this autumn…
Thanks for reading.