Sunday, March 15, 2009

rode with Bob Roll today

or rather I chased Bob Roll for ~29 miles.

I consider myself a cyclist, which on a certain level means that I think that I am a pretty strong cyclist. I was able to hold an almost 20 mph average during my rather hilly Olympic triathlon course last September. On the other hand, Bob Roll is an ex professional bike racer who raced in the Tour de France and Giro d`Italia. His level of riding is something that I have only seen on TV. In person, I can't accurately describe what kind of level of a rider he is. He freaking blew us away from the start of the ride and never let down. At the end of the ride he remarked, "Yeah, I rode kinda slow today." WHAAAT! There is NO comparison between his level of riding and mine. I am considered a "recreational" rider who has a triathlon hobby.

I got to be part of today's ride because one of my coworker's used to work for Versus and freelances occasionally for the show "Cyclism Sundays". He rides and the producer of the show rides as well, and of course Bob Roll rides. So today worked out that we could all ride together.

Right from the start when they showed up we were off. Bob didn't stop, say hey and introduce himself or anything like that. He just WENT! So we took off after him, thinking he might slow down or stop @ a red light up the road, since we were in the middle of a city. Well he likes to run red lights and weave in and out of traffic like a person with a deathwish!

I was booking it and finally sorta caught up with him and he knew I was sorta behind him because he was pointing out potholes. Well the next red light came up and he ran it but it looked too dangerous for me to shoot through. After the red light was a slight hill that he stood up on and booked it. Even had I made it through the light with him, he woulda dropped me like a ton of bricks. So not knowing where I was, I slowed up and waited for my other two companions. We never saw Bob again for another 45 mins.

Finally at the top of this short but steep hill he is stopped and waiting for us. We see this and start going up it hard to catch him, but he immediately goes and again just flies away. I had had enough of this and went hard to catch him. Again, I get within maybe 15-20 feet of him at this intersection until he goes hard again but this time I freaking hit the gas and was sprinting all out to catch him. I looked down at my wattage meter and if I can't catch him at 560 watts, there is no way that its EVER going to happen. Well with this effort, I know I am gonna get his wheel until this SUV pulls out right in front of him! Bob goes to the side of it and then hits the gas and starts drafting off it! Bye bye Bob! He is gone and I am spent.

I went into a more threshold pace to at least keep him in my sights. He must have let off because I FINALLY catch him. By this point we all regroup for the first time during the ride and start coming into some town. He doesn't say anything and is pretty focused on this ride.

Coming out of this town he starts going again and this time I am determined to stay on his wheel. I am able to match some of this accelerations of these short but steep hills (he probably is just riding normal while I am riding as hard as I can) until we come to this longer steep hill. He takes off and I try to match but my legs just give out and I end up weaving slightly up the road just to regain my composure. Again Bob is gone.

I regroup with the other two and we ride together until Bob comes from behind us, passes us while saying "You guys are so F&*$ing slow!" and then he is gone again for a bit. He slows up a bit and I go after him to try to catch him one last time. I was able to and I drafted off of him for maybe a minute until we come to a red light. Fortunately he doesn't run it but by the time traffic clears and we are able to go through it he freaking accelerates and there was NO WAY I was gonna match that. He was gone for good this time until the ride ends.

To ride with an ex pro cyclist was just freaking awesome and it was VERY humbling to ride with someone of such a high caliber of strength. It really puts into perspective the different levels of riding ability and just shows how much work it takes to get to that level.

Even though I suffered for the entire ride, it was a great workout and it got me doing some speed work that you just can't simulate on your own.


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