Friday, February 20, 2009

Team Two Wheel

As February in Spokane drags on, and on, and on, and on, cycling is limited to a few cold outdoor rides, trainer time as it can be born, and mostly dreaming of warmer weather and longer days. This leads to 1) time to contemplate cycling instead of actually cycling and 2) not enough cycling to cover in a blog that purports to be about cycling.

So today, I was contemplating Team Two Wheel. This is very similar to gazing upon one's own navel, but at least in my case, substantially less hairy. I ride with a lot of different people and I enjoy almost all of them. I ride road bikes and mountain bikes and I commute to work on my bike. These different types of rides lead to time with different types of riders. Also, in the many years that I have been riding, I have gained and lost many riding partners due to moving cities, moving neighborhoods, various marriages and divorces, the births of children or children leaving the nest, gaining or losing jobs that change ride habits, joining or leaving racing teams and all the other things that cause people to ride more or less or on different schedules or just with me or not with me. So, why do I ride with the other guys on Team Two Wheel?

There are clear differences in our riding experiences and styles. Rider 1 has managed national-level racing teams and worked with and for major bike companies and suppliers. Rider 2 has raced much more than I have. Both are faster and fitter than I am. One is younger and one is older. So why do we ride together? Let me count the whys.

1 - We share cycling philosophy about training. We believe that training rides are about training. Simple, but not well understood. There are different types of training, but a lot of training should mean a relatively steady pace, the guy in front should know to move back before exploding and you should know and understand the value of both sitting in and taking your turn.
2 - We enjoy and respect the traditions and history of riding and racing.
3 - We share a belief that racing is when you pin on a number and sign a release form. All the other stuff is riding or training or something that is not the same as racing.
4 - We all agree that actual racing is very humbling. Rider 2 said recently that 97% of racing is suffering and 3% is joy that non-racers simply can't understand. Yup.
5 - We agree that in a race chasing down a rider with a different team jersey is a good idea. Chasing down one in the same team jersey is never acceptable. Can you tell this has happened to each of us? Okay, this is a particular pet peeve of mine and Rider 1 and Rider 2 at least tolerate my oft-stated views on this topic.
6 - We each have bike shorts that we have had longer than we have had our wives, even though in my case that is 20 years. That says something about our ability to commit, to cycling.

If I go on, I will be accused of having a bromance, but I am comfortable enough in my manhood to tolerate that. The bottom line is, these guys know cycling, we never run out of stuff to talk about when we ride and they wait for me at the top of every hill. What more could you ask for?
Rider 3

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