Thursday, 22 September 2016

The Protégé and ramblings

People come and go, in all walks of life. Friends, Family, colleagues. Especially Colleagues.

My Cycle club at work seems to have its groups ie. its Fast, medium and slow riders. We're not a 'club' so to speak, only a handful of us ride together but we all post our rides into a 'club' on Strava.

You've got your newbies that flirt with the idea of cycling when the sun shines never to be seen again as soon as there is a cloud in the sky. There tend to be quite a few of these as the office headcount changes fairly frequently. You offer advice, which is barely listened too and they end up back down the gym because its what they know and its dry. Possibly slightly less terrifying than cycling through Staines in rush hour traffic for the first time. Stick with what you know.

Actually, forget that, there isn't fast, medium and slow groups at all, there is 'the committed' and the 'not so committed'. Everyone has the potential to be fast, whether its on the flat or in the hills, its what you put into it and your build and maybe your diet (or lack there of ).

I seem to be decent at climbing, sometimes. I like it, no doubt and I appear to be faster than my group at it. Ok I'm light but I have no real finesse about me, no technique to speak of. For me, no one actually likes hills. It's just about how long you want the pain to last and I want the pain to last for as little an amount of time as possible. It's that simple. Ride hard, it's over sooner. Nothing more to it.

Only a couple of the riders to pass through have come close. So, a couple of the guys I ride with can smash me on the flat, to the point I am literally holding on (not dropped, I never said dropped). We had an age group British champion with us for a while, thankfully, I never had the chance to ride with him (cough) and he rarely posts his data to Strava for obvious reason (phew). I'm fairly confident he'd have kicked my ass up any chosen rise, so as this never happened, my pride is still in tack, partially.

I say partially because there is always someone just around the corner waiting to ride away from you at that very point when there is nothing left in the tank. That exact point where the usual suspects are no where to be seen and you allow yourself to back off. Which brings me on to the Protégé. Now this isn't a term I used, I heard it as a reference point for a buddy I work and cycle with. One of those guys that actually enjoys cycling, to the point where I can see him becoming stronger than me. (over my dead body). Someone who takes the advice and actually listens. Becoming all the better for it.

It's great to see someones progress over time, from an occasional cyclist, to the second strongest rider you know ;)

Also seeing others acknowledge it too, is pretty cool. Not that i'm taking any credit for it but it is nice to think that maybe just a little bit of what you do has rubbed off.

We ride a similar route, so it's good company and add's an element of competitiveness to the ride's. Now this chap started riding a couple of days here and there, so I thought i'd take him under my wing, riding the same direction from work, it seemed rude not too. No real mileage in the last couple of years, with the exception of a few summer sportives meant initially we'd just ride and chat to manage the pace. You add a little, you get a response, you add a little more. And this is where it all starts. 4-5 months later, I lead him out on flat segments (3 KOM's to date) and he'll lead me out on climbs (again, 3 KOM's to date).

So far, So good. Until a recent recce of a certain hill. I rode my best time up this hill about 2 years ago and haven't touched it since, can't really remember why, possibly because it was a b**ch. Now I have a lead out man, we can smash this right. hmmm. We attempt the lead out and I can't even hold his wheel! Ok so he has a great kick but I'm fairly sure I can outpace him on any climb, so we try it again, the same thing happens. Now, he is clearly faster than me on these given days on this particular climb but isn't close to my PB.

So it must be me, right? I've built this climb up now, so much so, I avoid it. Haha. need to grow a pair and get back up there. Or the order has changed, we shall see......

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