A Glutton for Punishment

Pulling into Lee’s Summit, MO, I inevitably got lost. Not that the town is confusing, the roads are tricky, or the signs are hidden; it’s just me. Good thing Greg, a friend of a friend of my family’s and my host for the next two nights, knew exactly where I was and met me on his own bike. His first words:

“You’re biking in this heat? You must be a glutton for punishment.”

We pulled into his garage, he handed me a Gatorade Recover (“This little drink packs 16 grams of protein!”), and led me into his oh-so-amazing air-conditioned home. He and his girlfriend Allison live with their two dogs in a nice community in Lee’s Summit, just outside Kansas City. Greg is an avid biker himself, but in a whole other class than I – he races. He led me into his office where his racing numbers are pinned to the wall, each with notes describing his time, place, and racing conditions. His team trains several times a week, doing time trials, hill workouts, and sprints, all the while averaging about 25 miles per hour. Hearing this, Moose’s measly 10 mph average felt like a snail’s pace, though my bike does weigh about 60 pounds more. And with the Tour de France happening, I couldn’t have picked a better time to see Greg in his element.

“You see the guy in the lead? That’s [I forget his name]. He won yesterday’s race. And that guy on his tail, that’s [forget him too], he’s got to make his move soon. Did you know if you’re drafting right behind the leader, you’re using a third less energy? And the guy behind him is using about half. That’s why races have teams of bikers. You see, each member has a specialization – climbers grind away on hard inclines, sprinters save their energy for sprints for points and position, and time trialists keep up their speed over long distances. But the real bull dogs of the group are domestiques. They do everything in their power to make sure the guy on their team that is most likely to win wins. That means guarding them from rivals, carrying food and drink for the team, and taking the brunt of the headwind until their legs give out.”

I can’t help but compare these team specializations to…

Gimli’s a climber, Legolas a sprinter, Aragorn a time trialist, and Sam definitely the domestique. Pretty sure J. R. R. Tolkien was a huge Tour de France fan.

Whew, glad I got that out of my system. Also, hearing Greg’s music from his ear buds after a recent training, I asked what gets him pumped.

“I usually have Pandora set to Deadmau5 [shout out to you, Jeremy]. I also like Band of Horses. Definitely a different kind of music, but they’re my jam.”

Having children of her own around my age, Allison took on the motherly role. She made sure I was contacting my own mother, made delicious meals of which I was unabashedly having thirds (tacooo salad!), and came up with a plan to get me on the road early enough to avoid some of the heat.

Thank you, Greg and Allison, for the wonderful hospitality, meals, and bike knowledge!

P.S. Because they’re early risers and at work before I’m up, I regrettably forgot to get their picture the night before…but here’s a pretty accurate representation:

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4 responses to this post.

  1. comparing the tour to lord of the rings. i have one thing to say about that:

    l337

    Reply

  2. “I usually have Pandora set to Deadmau5”

    I think it’d be pretty unsafe to bike while swinging glowsticks around your head.

    Reply

    • Posted by bcline909 on July 30, 2011 at 4:25 pm

      I don’t know, could make night riding much safer. I think bike head/tail lights should have a rave option.

      Reply

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