Category Archives: Tues/Thurs 7:45am ride

Endless ramblings regarding the every Tuesday & Thursday-morning bike ride, leaving Olive Hill & Canada Road at 7:45am, rain or shine

Discovered a photo of Lance I took in 1997… (originally published on my Facebook page)

Trek's Team coordinator Mike M on the right, and he who must not be named, Lance, on the left.
Trek’s Team coordinator Mike M on the right, and he who must not be named, Lance Armstrong, on the left.

1997. Who knew. Mike M, Trek’s team liaison (on the right in the photo), was pretty darned sure he knew. Knew that he’d signed the next big thing in pro cycling. I recall him calling me on the phone, at home, to tell me about it. He was that excited (and at the time, I was pretty high on Trek’s dealer list). They flew me to San Diego to the training camp where I was supposed to be hugely impressed by the pro athletes on display… at the time, I was much more impressed by the bike technology. I hadn’t been totally sucked into pro cycling yet.

I was only 40 at the time and one heck of a lot faster than I am today. I could hold my own against the Trek engineers and such (some of whom raced fairly well), and not look totally foolish riding (not really long rides) with guys I should have been far more impressed with than I was. Pretty naïve in hindsight.

Two and a half years later I found myself in France, exposed to an entirely new and epic type of bike racing at my first TdF. I was quickly and thoroughly hooked. Had I any idea what the pinnacle of bike racing could be like when I started racing, I likely would have made some very different choices. In retrospect, I’m glad I didn’t, but I’ll continue to wonder, am I a has-been or a never-was.

From 2000 up through this year, I’ve been to every TdF except 2008 (the year Carlos Sastre won). It’s clearly a bit of an obsession, and from 2007-on, an obsession I’ve shared with my son. 9 years ago he was 14, 5’3 or so, and had slimmed down to about 195lbs. He’d been as high as 220. Today he’s 5’9 and 170. Cycling has transformed him, and our trips to the TdF have been a high point of each year for both of us.

Sucks that Lance turned out to be not just a doper but an *hole, which kinda takes over the narrative for a great story.

Tuesday’s Ride Update-

Just a few of us this morning;  myself, Kevin (younger Kevin, not the Pilot), JR, and, for the climb up Kings, Marcus. Kevin and Marcus are in a whole different class and just rode on ahead; I rode hard the first part of the climb but fell apart further up and got passed by JR. So nothing new to report. Same as it ever was.  🙂

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This Scotty guy, how does he ride so fast? Should that give me hope or make me depressed?

By this point on our ride, heading into the forest on West Old LaHonda, I'm finally warmed up and ready to go. Too bad it takes a good hour to get to this point!
By this point on our ride, heading into the forest on West Old LaHonda, I’m finally warmed up and ready to go. Too bad it takes a good hour to get to this point!
It’s pretty amazing when you think about it, a bunch of guys in their 60s riding without limits, or at least doing a good job of keeping denial going by continuing to do what they’ve been doing for 20, 30, 40, close to 50 years. I don’t even know when Scotty, who claims to be closer to 70 than 60, started.

Is 60 the new 40? I hope so. It helps to keep that mortality stuff at bay, not to mention thoughts of retirement. My brother and I have owned Chain Reaction for 37 years… if you’d asked me 25 years ago if I’d still be doing this when I’m 60, I would have said (and in fact recall that I did say) yes, I figured maybe 65 or so. If you’d asked me then, if a 60 year old should be happy being able to get up Kings in 28 minutes, yeah, I would have thought that would have been darned fast for someone that age. But this group of people I ride with, not all of them guys (Karen’s in her 50s, which at least makes her a lot younger than me, right?), they still seem to be able to go from the gun, while it takes me a good hour or so of riding before I’m up to full speed. Which means they’re climbing Kings, the first climb of the day, about 20 minutes after I first clip in, quite a bit faster.

But I do get there, and I know I’ll feel better as I go. By the end of the ride I’m feeling really good; back in the day I’d start out feeling really good and be dragging my butt at the end. Thought of in that context, the current version of me seems not quite so bad. Scotty can whip me good on Kings, but slows down later on. Everybody’s different. It’s interesting thinking about how I’ll be at 70. Will endurance still be my biggest strength? How will I fare against other 70 year old cyclists? And, of course, will I have a miniature motor providing a limited degree of assistance so I can keep up with younger hot shots?

Time will tell. It always does.

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