16 January 2010

Come on, Fabian!

For whatever reason, the Hour Record holds a very, very special place in my heart. The current women's record is held by the Dutch phenom Leontien van Moorsel, who fought fiercely with Jeannie Longo for essentially the duration of her cycling career. Van Moorsel set the record at 46.065 km/h in October of 2003, just in time for Longo's 45th birthday, to beat Longo's second record of 45.094 km/h, set just three years prior. Van Moorsel led an undeniably impressive campaign as a pro cyclist, but Longo competed in the '08 summer Olympic games for France, and finished in the top-25 in the road race, just 33 seconds behind the lead. At 50-years-old. She makes Lance look like a spring chicken. To me, this is what the Hour Record embodies. It takes the variables out of the equation, and truly puts the rider against the clock; if the equipment was good enough for Eddy, then it's good enough for you. Yes, Lance, it's really not about the bike. It's incredible. To me, it's the truest measure of what you are as a cyclist, and conjures up the deepest of emotions as a result. For me, it reaches the same level of purity as the final run through the tunnel in Rudy. For those who know me, that is a mighty stout declaration.

I have this secret dream of travelling to Bordeaux, after having trained for this ride and this ride only, where I set the Hour Record at 46.565km/h, and Jeannie is there coaching and cheering me on, and Connie Carpenter meets me at the finish line - because after all, she is who taught me to ride in the first place. In my head, it looks something like the victory scene in The Flying Scotsman.

It is a travesty that none of today's "greats" have even attempted the record. Graeme Obree announced last May that he would attempt the record again by the end of '09, but then backed out in November. The Hour Record used to be the standard; it was the title. Fabian Cancellara told Cyclingnews: ""It's lost its importance and some of its honour. Before every big champion did it. Guys like Rominger, Hinault, Indurain, Merckx, they all did it and now the current champion is Ondrej Sosenka and nobody talks about it." He wants the record; he respects it; he gets it. I believe he will set the record, but there is no concrete plan to do so as of yet.

His next statement is probably quite honest: "The hour record is a goal but there's no time set for that. It's a big project. It's not just a ride on the track and then you're done. It's more than that. You have to find the training, the bike, the track and I think that if I'm honest there are not that many riders who can do all of that." Where have we come in cycling that there is "no time" for our great riders to go for the Hour Record, leaving it behind to wither in the dust of decades past?

I say let's go, Fabian!

09 January 2010

2010 Is Shaping Up Nicely

This morning I slept in much later than usual, and it was awesome. I looked out the window to find my car under a blanket of fresh snow, which to my northern-minded eyes was bliss. I only wished that AMH and I had buckled down last year and bought XC Skis. I then made the rookie mistake of asking Aaron what he wanted for breakfast, which implied that I would be making it. But, even that turned out to be an okay thing because I'd been wanting to try to the egg "recipe"(with turkey bacon...) that I had almost perfected on Cook or Be Cooked. Placing the eggs, directly from the pan, over a small bed of spinach made for a nice steamed effect. I also got to break out the French press for a bit of espresso, which I hadn't enjoyed in awhile. All-in-all, I was pretty pleased with how it all turned out:I could get down to all 2010 Saturdays beginning this way; though that might be a bit of a stretch. Nonetheless, I'd say I'm in a much better place this January than I was for the last. I'm riding my bike - mostly inside - but I am getting out in the snow a bit. I love, love, love my new Salsa Mamasita, and I am pretty excited that my new winter gear is allowing for 2+ hour sessions in sub 25 climates. We visited Springs Valley Trail in Paoli, IN last Sunday, which is an 8 mi. loop around Springs Valley Lake that is reminiscent of old, narrowed FS roads and features about 1100ft of climbing. Total ride from the parking lot is about 10 mi. My Gaerne Eskimo boots kept my feet totally dry, even through the five ice cold creek crossings. I was quite impressed. I was less than impressed with my Camelbak bladder though, which leaked all over my leg all day long. Fortunately my Craft Storm tights kept the barrier, but I definitely had a collection of icicles on my quad at the ride's end. I will soon be upgrading to the Hydrapak Reversible Reservoir System, which features a non-leaky bite valve and the ability to turn the bladder inside out for cleaning and drying.

The only down side to the whole ride was that, in a section under very heavy leaf cover, I caught a small branch in my spokes, and its many tentacles wreaked destruction anywhere they could reach. My hanger snapped in half, and my derailleur exploded. I always ride with a spare hanger (thanks to advice from Zed), so that part was no problem, but getting the warped derailleur together enough to not hit the spokes and still semi-function as at least a tensioner was a little tricky. I guess it's time for that Redwing SRAM X.0... I'll probably be riding my 'cross bike for a little while.

At any rate, I'm loving my bike; I'm riding my bike; I'm hitting the gym (Thanks, Mom!); I'm eating better; my HR is under better control. And there's snow. Things are looking up.