I lost, but I won... And thanks Vo2 :)


New Member
Jul 21, 2003
I've posted for a few months now, some of you may have read some of the posts of stories, requests for advice, comments and opinions... I'm still a newbie road cyclist and will consider myself one until my first formal race. I ride for the pure fun of it, and the satisfaction... I ride with a goal of improving in mind... When it hurts, it feels good, it feels healthy and positive...

I ride when I am angry, and when I am feeling good... When I'm at home and fidgety I go into the garage and work on my bike wether it needs it or not... I watch about 1/50th the amount of TV as I used to since I began road cycling, and of that 1/50th almost all of it is cycling related (OLN) or the History Channel.

My wife regularly stares at me in disbelief in the kitchen now and at the dinner table because I am making a conscious effort after years and years to eat more vegetables and fruit and less fatty foods, soda and other junk food, and all of this because I want those extra seconds in my 5 mile interval, and I want to make it to the top of that long climb without panting and falling over at the top...

I think I hit a milestone just last weekend... I picked up Chris Carmichaels book "The Ultimate Ride" and wether you like or hate Chris Carmichael and the whole CTS training phenomena, I'm looking at it more as picking up information and tips and advice everywhere I can... Quite alot is said at the beginning of the book about mental toughness and being strong in the mind and confident... I remember how it said that he had met many cyclists who were steeped in physical talent and yet failed because they were weak in the mind and didn't risk in order to achieve.

Just this last weekend I was on the Ironhorse bicycle route in the afternoon as I always am, and I was riding along at about 18-21mph which is stretching it for me, but I was pushing hard against a pretty decent headwind because I was nearing the point where I was ready to turn for home and I wanted to cap off the mark with a sustained effort.

About 2 minutes into the effort another cyclist in the jersey of a local bike club pulled up along side me and gave me a flat palmed wave and a nod...

It didn't look like he was struggling at all to stay next to me and maybe out of fear of embarassment or even a subtle revelation that I might be better than I thought I was, I relaxed my shoulders... made a supreme effort to stay solid and steady in the saddle with no rocking, and dropped a little lower into my aero position.

He did the same and began to accelerate...

Before his rear wheel got 2 yards from mine I pedalled out of the saddle for 10 seconds until my rear wheel was almost overlapping his on the left.

The whole time I saw the paragraph of words from the book in my mind almost floating in front of my face "To gain confidence you have to risk failure, you have to push or you will never know how good you are or where you need to improve... You might fail often, but you will always learn something, you have to believe you can beat everyone else on the road"

I realized how "cornball" the whole thing I was doing seemed... It was like I was a two bit extra acting out a bad movie script...

He pulled farther in front of me, and I noticed that there was a slight rocking developing in his upper body, and for a moment, he raised up from the aero position as if to stretch something that was hurting him.

At that point I pedalled out of the saddle again and pulled up about even with him...

He looked back every 5 seconds or so, sometimes more frequently... looking ahead their was a high post of some sort next to the trail... maybe about an 1/8th of a mile away...

He shouted out "to the post!"

I responded "yeah"

He REALLY mashed down hard and it surprised me how big an accceleration he made...

As hard as I tried I couldn't seem to generate enough force to keep up with him and he slowly began to pull away...

I got out of the saddle once again while still hanging on to the drops and an image started to build focus in my mind... It was that little animated picture that Vo2 uses in his signature... I'm not sure who the rider in the piture is but all I could see in my mind was that animation, pounding over and over again on the pedals never getting tired and tried to will myself to be that...

As he pulled a little farther out I swung in directly behind him, and momentarily drifting to his right, I noticed that the sound of the wind suddenly dropped off significantly... At that point I pushed as hard as I could and was able to maintain my distance...

I moved slightly farther to the right and the wind noise returned with a rush of sound and he pulled a bit farther ahead...

The post was only about 100 yards away now and I madly tried to get back into the area of dead air just to his right and behind... He was looking back every 2 or 3 seconds now But I was pushing so hard all I could do was stare at the ground...

He started pulling away even more and I started to really let loose with a kind of barbarian yell looking for anything more I could dig up.

When he passed the post I was about 10-15 yards behind... and I drove another few yards past the post before I think I let up...

He was already coasting and looking back and I caught up to him quickly as I began to coast as well...

He held out his hand and I shook it... He seemed almost as destroyed by the effort as I was and he just said "good.... good..."

We rode on liesurely for another hour or so before we went our seperate ways... We talked about a lot of things, training, how we got into cycling, wives, bike clubs in the area etc etc...

But to be honest... I remember very little of that...

I just keep seeing that little man pumping away on his bike in that animation, never tiring, and how it felt to not get left completely in the dust by someone who I would have imagined 6 months ago was many times better than me...

I think I reached a milestone of some sort... I'm not certain what it is, but it feels good...

Thanks for listening to me rant...



New Member
Aug 6, 2003
Good post,

Good story,

Good encouragement for the rest of us newbies!!



New Member
Sep 29, 2003
that was one great post, Feanor.

my day was just lousy. I went for a ride after work and it was just ok. a hard week ended with a hard day and I just didn't really have it on the bike like I wanted to.

but that post.... tomorrow's ride is gonna be awesome!


Aug 11, 2001
Nice post mate.
The important thing is to be able to sacrifice what we are for what we could become.

The rider in the avatar is Chris Boardman. One of the greats.


New Member
Aug 25, 2003
You know the better I get at cycling, and I'm actually still very average, the less I feel the need to get into a race with a total stranger. BUT

I used to see it a lot in the pool when I trained for triathlon. Some punter would hop in the lane next to me, wait till I approached the wall then thrash themselves stupid to race me. If I was doing an aerobic set, and I had assessed from their technique and rating, they were a generally slower swimmer, I would cruise along observing them suffer, and occasionally put on a surge to see how they would respond.

Sometimes all this would become irritating if they were in my lane and sat on my feet, but I often would wonder why people feel compelled to race a total stranger???

Anyway, the whole point of this reply is to say that I like how the guy you bumped into named a spot on the road to which you were going to race. There's something cool about that compared to racing a stranger either until you blow the other guy to pieces, or struggle and die and make a turn in another direction to wallow in the misery and embarrasment of defeat.

I once saw this guy built like a Terminator riding his bike to work along the route I was taking. He had a loose flapping shirt and hairy legs, and I thought - Ah I'll have to show this ****** a thing or two. I surged up and tried to smash him quickly, all purely in the interest of my own ego of course. I made a good gap quickly then settled back into a steady pace.

Sure enough a few mintues later I felt that feeling of someone close behind. Here he was, his massive legs pumping away, shirt flapping, and face grimacing.

Hmmm, he's back again.......I surged.... and this went on and on for about 30mins. I couldnt believe he had hung on all that way - my surges getting longer and more sustained in an effort to assert my dominance on the situation.

Anyway, I really wish I had rode next to the guy and said gday, just like the original poster. Thats a much more COOL approach, I'll try it next time we should all take a leaf out of that guys book!!