Training with the Pros
Training with the Pros, it sounds like fun but it can’t be. Pros are genetic freaks; they put more kilometers on their bikes than any of us civilians do on our cars each year, they ride around whole countries at an average speed greater than 40km/hour and they can dish out such Rule V style day-after-day-after-day. We all dream about it but we don’t have it.
In an earlier life I came close to landing my dream job in Monaco with the IAEA. Serious people counseled me not to take the job, they said it was a bad career move. How could I explain to them I didn’t give a shiet if it was a bad career move, the chance to live, and more importantly to be a cyclist near San Remo and La Madone was all I cared about? Yet I knew if I even saw Tom Boonen or one of the many Aussies who call Monaco their home out on a training ride, I would only be seeing their lycra-clad asses disappearing up the road. Could I at least catch up to Stuart O’Grady to chat him up for a minute before my inability to talk and breathe would force me to lie and say I was turning right HERE? Maybe I could drink beers with the Aussies, I could keep that professional pace, actually no, I would get dropped there too.
Oh that job fell through and my dreams of commuting into work on Merlin on the Cote d’Azure disappeared like those watery mirages on a hot highway, but I digress. I have some good and funny direct video evidence why training with the Pros would be a cruel lesson in our mortal failings. One such Pro is Ted King, an American racer living the dream; he is based in Lucca, riding for Liquigas, riding in support of Ivan Basso and Peter Sagan. He is tough, he has finished every Giro d’Italia he has started. He broke his collarbone this summer racing in Philadelphia when his front wheel dropped into an inexcusably lame drain grate (thank you very much, oh third-world infrastructure that defines the USA).
To bring his training back up to speed he did the 200 on 100 with fellow Pro Tim Johnson and amateur racer Ryan Kelly. The 200 on 100 means 200 miles on Route 100, riding North to South from the top to the bottom of the state of Vermont, the Green Mountain State. Unless you are Marcus, 333 km seems like an impossibly long ride to do at once, I would be in broom wagon long before the end of such madness.
And by madness I refer to the 338 km at 34.1 km/hr average speed with 3,197 meters of climbing thrown in for good measure.
Video credit to Chandler Delinks