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Jens did it! Good thing, to, since Kevin and I shortened our ride yesterday to watch.


Pretty cool watching Jens go up against the hour record, and win! 43 years old and he’s still got it. What does he have? I think what sets him apart is a different way of looking at pain. To Jens, pain is feedback that tells him it’s game-on.

The day didn’t start out quite so pleasantly though; the weather forecast rain between 7am & 10am, right when we ride, so Wednesday night Kevin and I had to see if our “rain bikes” were in shape to be ridden (they hadn’t seen duty in… 6 months maybe?). Good enough. They’re just not much fun to ride, after being spoiled by the new bikes each of us have (his new Madone 7, my new Emonda SLR). When we got up Thursday morning and looked outside, the ground was dry! That was 7am. Thought maybe we’d miss the rain. Nope. It started coming down at 7:05.

Nobody but us on the ride, probably because it was going to get pretty nice right after we get back, so why ride in the rain? Maybe a good thing because we weren’t feeling too lively, taking about 36 minutes to get up Kings, after which we immediately turned around so we could get to the shop in time to watch the live streaming video of Jens’ amazing ride.

coyote_close_upMost-interesting thing on the ride was coming across some deer in the meadow off Manuella, looking a bit apprehensive. Found out why a few seconds later, as we spotted a pretty well-groomed & fed coyote walking across the field.

10am Pacific Time, Thursday, 09/18/14 is JENS HOUR!

10am Pacific Time Thursday 9/18

Watch Jens Voigt, probably the most-popular professional cyclist in years, attempt one of cycling’s most-prestigious accomplishments- The Hour Record

Sorry for the late notice, but it wasn’t until Wednesday night that we confirmed a live video feed that can be viewed in the US. Just click on the image above. Programming starts at 9:30am, the main event from 10am-11am, and probably another half hour post-ride show.

The hour record has been a big deal in cycling since the beginning of time. How many miles/kilometers can you ride, on a track, in an hour. It’s supposed to be the toughest thing imaginable, because there are no hills, no headwinds, no tailwinds, no chance to take a rest or change your rhythm. It’s just you telling your body to endure a bit more than it should have to, for a full hour.

It’s probably fun for the first couple of minutes, as you watch the kilometers click on by, but I’m guessing around 10 minutes in it ceases to be fun and becomes a mentally-deathly contest to keep on pace, to not get too excited, to be so sure of yourself that what you’re putting out right now, at any given moment, is what you’ll be able to put out 40 minutes from now. And what if it hurts, really really bad, right now? How does that make you feel about another 40 or 50 minutes of that “right now” effort?

Velonews provided an excellent piece that explains what’s involved and puts Jens’ ride in historical perspective. It’s been years since anyone’s attempted it, but you’re still thinking, what’s so hard about riding for an hour, on an oval, perfectly-smooth track? Eddy Merckx, perhaps the most-accomplished cyclist of all time, described his 1972 hour record this way-

“Here it’s not possible to ease up, to change gears or the rhythm. The hour record demands a total effort, permanent and intense, one that’s not possible to compare to any other. I will never try it again.”

What chance does a 43 year old recently-retired professional cyclist have at beating the current record of 49.7 kilometers (about 30 miles)? With improved equipment and Jens well-known ability to suffer (famous for his saying “Shut up, legs!”), his chances are very good! It’s not likely any record he might set will last though, as many see this ride as opening the flood gates for others who specialize in such things. Jens is not a specialist in what are called “time trials” (one rider against the clock) but an all-rounder.

Please consider tuning in and following the action. Join tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands, could be a million people watching this ride.
Mike Jacoubowsky, Partner, Chain Reaction Bicycles
And yes, I have a “Jens story. As many know, my son has had kidney issues since birth, leading to a few operations and time off the bike. I saw Jens a few months ago at the Tour of California, and he wrote “Shut up, Kidneys!” on a cycling hat for him. It’s pretty cool. 🙂

OK, so why do we care that on Thursday, September 18th, a 43 year old guy is going to ride a bike in circles around a track in Switzerland? Because it’s Jens Voigt, that’s why. The ultimate “tough guy” cyclist, the one who coined the term “Shut up, legs!” when his body was trying to tell him enough is enough. The Jens Voigt who officially retired from cycling last month, but is coming back for one last big thing.