Waiting for the Man

You have three questions going through your mind:
How far to go?
How hard am I trying?
Is the pace sustainable for that distance?
If the answer is “yes”, that means you’re not trying hard enough. If it’s no, it’s too late to do anything about it. You’re looking for the answer “maybe”.

Chris Boardman, on The Hour Record, Rouleur

Cyclists, whether on the start line of a race or at the café before a group ride, are a chatty bunch. How’s your training going? The legs feeling alright? How do you like Di2? I could never go electronic, need to feel the cable, you know – need to be connected to my bike. 

I wouldn’t go so far as to call it “substantive conversation”; we are more leg than brain, after all. But no matter how good the form has been, we are always worried that it has somehow left us, and worry tends to make the mouth go. Chatter distracts the mind from the doubts that should have been nagging us the last month about our training, but who only turned up about ten minutes before we arrived to the start, long after there was anything we could do about it.

The Contre la Montre, on the other hand, always shows a different rider. No matter how dominant the rider, they are always deep in thought, never chuckling, never grinning. There is no one to lighten the mood, no distracting the mind from the pain and inherent uncertainty of the body’s ability to cope with the suffering that is to come. There is an appointment with the Man with the Hammer somewhere on the road you are about to travel down; he is as unpredictable as he is ruthless.

The rider who waits on the start line of a time trial is a rider who is squaring up with the reality that no matter the state of their training, they are waiting for the man.

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68 Replies to “Waiting for the Man”

  1. @chris

    @ChrisO

    We are looking to move the annual hill climb to the Waitrose multistory car park. It longer, steeper, flood lit and has a huge range of cake.

    Cycling is becoming more middle class after all.

    If you moved it to the Iceland carpark you could practically have a closed course.

  2. @chris

    @wiscot

    End of the TT season. It would be nice if it could go on longer but in this age of H & S, the finishing time is constrained by light (and we lose it earlier than you did back in the day in Scotland). Starting time is constrained by the time people can get away from work.

    Angus wanted to ride home from the event last night but he didn’t have any lights on and there are a few sections of woods where it would have been too dark.

    My apologies. I should clarify. The only TT’s I remember still being held in early October (I used to go on vacation the last two weeks of Sept, before Uni started the 2nd week of October) were the Tour of the Trossachs hilly TT, and a couple of Gentleman’s TTs (one in Bearsden, the other in East Kilbride). All were held on the weekend when light wasn’t an issue.

    Gentlemen’s Races were fun. Basically one rider had to be a “veteran” (ie, over 45; that would be me now – yikes!) and would pair up with a younger rider. Theoretically the younger rider paced the older one, but such was the longstanding rivalry between some of the vets, that they were highly competitive races. I rode a few with a fast vet from Dundee, Dave McCallum, and we shared the pacing. Unfortunately he was relatively “young” and so we got a low handicap allowance., so while we did well on actual time, we lost out on the handicap which favored the older riders.

  3. @KogaLover

    @verytallguy

    The correct machine for timetrialling in the Waitrose car park

    https://www.facebook.com/overheardinwaitrose/photos/a.381735128634532.1073741828.375139409294104/560537307420979/?type=1&theater

    Pity, fails Rule #52 but if you can bring it down to a smaller bottle of max 500ml, sure, why not?

    It would seem that one of the benefits of Brexit will be the reintroduction of imperial pints of champagne. Perfect for the gentleman racer.

    Maybe, they’ll also carry on producing Land Rover Defenders…

  4. @chris

    It would seem that one of the benefits of Brexit will be the reintroduction of imperial pints of champagne. Perfect for the gentleman racer.

    Maybe, they’ll also carry on producing Land Rover Defenders…

    I doubt the Keepers will consider to change Rule #24 (no Imperial measurements) nor #52 (max 500ml).

    And an imperial pint of champagne is a bit of an oxymoron, isn’t it?

  5. @KogaLover

    @chris

    It would seem that one of the benefits of Brexit will be the reintroduction of imperial pints of champagne. Perfect for the gentleman racer.

    Maybe, they’ll also carry on producing Land Rover Defenders…

    I doubt the Keepers will consider to change Rule #24 (no Imperial measurements) nor #52 (max 500ml).

    And an imperial pint of champagne is a bit of an oxymoron, isn’t it?

    It’s a tautology.

    You couldn’t have a metric pint. That’d be an oxymoron.

  6. @KogaLover@RobSandy, Tautology, whatever. It’s a thing to use the modern parlance. They just haven’t been around for a while.

    As far as I’m concerned, there are somethings that can’t be governed by rule 24.

    The club 10 is not a 16.09344 km event. The same goes for it’s 25, 50 and 100 mile counterparts.

    Centuries are imperial.

    And if I’m to carry a bottle of fizz around on my bike, a pint is perfect. Rule 24 covers liquids and Rule 52 states bidons are to be 500 – 610 so a pint would be within that range. Not that one would put champagne in ones bidons. We’re not savages after all.

     

  7. @RobSandy

    Being pedantic – but this is vital stuff – Imperial just distinguishes it from a US pint. 568ml vs 473ml.

    So a standard bottle of champagne is just shy of 4/3rds of a proper pint, but 8/5ths of a US pint.

    Apparently we upgraded our weights & measures after they left the Empire…

  8. @BenH

    @RobSandy

    Being pedantic – but this is vital stuff – Imperial just distinguishes it from a US pint. 568ml vs 473ml.

    So a standard bottle of champagne is just shy of 4/3rds of a proper pint, but 8/5ths of a US pint.

    Apparently we upgraded our weights & measures after they left the Empire…

    Being pedantic, I think you mean 20 fl oz vs 16 fl oz

  9. @chris

     

    And if I’m to carry a bottle of fizz around on my bike, a pint is perfect. Rule #24 covers liquids and Rule 52 states bidons are to be 500 – 610 so a pint would be within that range. Not that one would put champagne in ones bidons. We’re not savages after all.

    If you’re drinking champagne while cycling, it’s because you’ve been handed a glass by your DS from the team car because you’re about to ride into Paris wearing yellow.

     

  10. Wow, there’s a 90 year old entered into my last TT of the season on Sunday. Makes the two 74 year olds look positively youthful.

    It’s a Veterans TT Association event (Vets = Over 40) so it lists the ages and our Standard target times for 25 miles. His is 1:36:06, but frankly who cares – wonder if I’ll still be doing it in 40 years.

  11. @ChrisO

    Wow, there’s a 90 year old entered into my last TT of the season on Sunday. Makes the two 74 year olds look positively youthful.

    It’s a Veterans TT Association event (Vets = Over 40) so it lists the ages and our Standard target times for 25 miles. His is 1:36:06, but frankly who cares – wonder if I’ll still be doing it in 40 years.

    Let us know if this individual shows up on a C bike with Di2 shifters and disc brakes… Cheers

  12. @RobSandy

    @KogaLover

    @chris

    It would seem that one of the benefits of Brexit will be the reintroduction of imperial pints of champagne. Perfect for the gentleman racer.

    Maybe, they’ll also carry on producing Land Rover Defenders…

    I doubt the Keepers will consider to change Rule #24 (no Imperial measurements) nor #52 (max 500ml).

    And an imperial pint of champagne is a bit of an oxymoron, isn’t it?

    It’s a tautology.

    You couldn’t have a metric pint. That’d be an oxymoron.

    Tautology: imperial pint

    Oxymoron: pint of champagne

    Oxymoron: metric pint

    Capisci?

  13. @KogaLover

    @RobSandy

    @KogaLover

    @chris

    It would seem that one of the benefits of Brexit will be the reintroduction of imperial pints of champagne. Perfect for the gentleman racer.

    Maybe, they’ll also carry on producing Land Rover Defenders…

    I doubt the Keepers will consider to change Rule #24 (no Imperial measurements) nor #52 (max 500ml).

    And an imperial pint of champagne is a bit of an oxymoron, isn’t it?

    It’s a tautology.

    You couldn’t have a metric pint. That’d be an oxymoron.

    Tautology: imperial pint

    Oxymoron: pint of champagne

    Oxymoron: metric pint

    Capisci?

    100% agree old bean.

  14. Well bloody hell, the old chap won on handicap.

    He did a 1:20 something which put him 15 minutes below his Standard time and in first place.

    He was off 8 minutes ahead of me and I didn’t pass him until about 10 miles in.

    I just managed to squeeze under the hour with 59.45. Was hoping for a little more but a 58 was probably my aspirational target so it’s not far off. It’s a course where pacing is very difficult.

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