Watch a Grand Tour like the Tour de France and you will see different types of riders based on their body sizes. Of course there are exceptions to all of these but the “sprinters” tend to be bigger guys with big thighs. And they’re the most daring of all riders. If they can stay together with a stage at the end, one of them will come out of the pack to take it at the line.
The “time trialists” are great at riding at their own pace and this often favors some of the heavier riders who aren’t knocked around by the winds. Riding by oneself you have no protection from the wind.
The “climbers” tend to be smaller riders who always have the best power to weight ratios.
The rider who will win a Grand Tour is someone who can do all these fairly well, but usually the Tour de France is set up to favor climbers. Fabian Cancellara recently won the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix and may be the best cyclist in the world right now but won’t even be in the discussion to win the tour. Climbers like Alberto Contador, Andy and Frank Schleck, and, of course, Lance Armstrong, get everyone’s attention.
I have a perfect body to excel at nothing. I’m too big to be a climber although the satisfaction is like none other. I wonder if, in my 20s, my sprinting ability off the bike would have translated to being on the bike? I will never know. I do know that two foot surgeries, one knee surgery, and age have robbed me of any sprinting ability I once had.
If I could pretend for a second, I guess my best discipline would be domestique – hanging back and carrying water to my team leader. And my dream would be not to win the Tour de France but to be the Lanterne Rouge.
Last week, Scott Scudamore posted a ride I called the Scud TT (time trial). He described it as only having 30 minutes so he went out hard and hammered home and tried to beat 18+ mph.
Since Scott and I ride together occasionally and he tells me that I am a much stronger rider than he is, I thought I could go do the same ride and smash his time. So on Thursday I rode to his house, stopped my bike, and then took off on his route. My time was better — 19.3 vs. 18.5, but I was hoping for 20+.
I rode about as hard as I could for 25 minutes or so. 8.5 miles. For all his talk about being a stronger rider I think it’s a bunch of hooey.
My legs were shot after this effort.
I stayed off the bike on Friday but did referee a high school varsity soccer match at night. And then, Saturday…
Our group ride was canceled so we did our own group ride. Except David Vito and his friend, Vince, showed up on time trial bikes. These bikes are fast. They’re equipped with aero bars for leaning out over the bike although they don’t handle quite as well as a regular road bike. And thus David and Vince suggested we ride the W&OD instead of our normal road route.
There were strong head winds, 20-30 mph, and I did my best to hand on behind as we headed from Reston to Leesburg. Although Daniel Kalbacher took a pull, I had no pop in my legs on this day. We ultimately did 32 miles at a hard pace and I did one pull on the way back, with a tail wind, and was gone after that.
When I got home I jumped in the shower which eventually became slumping into a hot bath. And fell asleep. Then I moved to the bed where I slept. Then to the sofa. I ended up sleeping most of the time from 4:30 p.m. on Saturday until 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. Different locations, but still sleeping. I had a fever and headache along with an upset stomach.
Two days later the pop hasn’t returned. I am still sleepy. And this is eerily reminiscent of one year ago when I had those fevers which I thought would clear up on their own. They didn’t. Ultimately, in diagnosing an e.Coli infection they discovered cancer. And now I am left to wonder, what is it this time?