May 9, 2008
A long time ago in a country far, far away...
There is unrest amongst the American peloton,
six young apprentices have made their way over
thousands of miles in search for the Masters of The Fast
in hope to learn all they have to teach and
become Masters themselves...
To all those about to read my latest story beware, Team Type 1 has learned the ways of The Fast and if necessary will use it!
We ventured forth over thousands of miles to the A2 Wind Tunnel LLC in Moorseville North Carolina (the home of NASCAR), where Fast Master Mike Giraud was awaiting our arrival. As we entered the building with our steeds by our sides, we had know idea what we were going to achieve here today.
"A Rider's strength flows from The Fast. But beware of the Drag Side."
Mike, Chris and Eric (our two mechanics) loaded my steed on to the testing platform in front of the giant meshed wall from which the winds were to come. I jumped on and started to warm up and then began my crusade to become aero. It's hard to not get a smirk on your face the first time you feel the breeze hit your body. I noticed throughout the day everyone had a smile or gave a thumbs up to the initial blast of wind.
"If once start down the path, forever it will dominate your destiny..."
After eight runs we had perfected a really good aero position that I felt comfortable with. So now we had to test it six more times with different wind angles and other add ons, each effort lasted roughly one minute and required me to hold 300 watts for that duration. Needless to say I was a bit worn out after. Towards the end of it Chris started bringing in refreshments, thanks mate.
This time in the tunnel was one of the best experiences I've had on the bike, it was amazing to do! You might think that, 'sure it would be good to do but it would cost a small fortune'. But you could also look at it as you've just spent a heap of coin on a fancy time trial bike, some fast wheels and a nice aero helmet and your position is completely wrong.
We found that everyone was different in certain ways. So what worked for some lads didn't necessarily work for others (arm widths, extending arms, etc.). But that still won't make me give up any of my secrets.
"The Fast is what gives a rider his power. It's an energy field created by all living things; it surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together."
All in all a damn good day in the tunnel, from what we have learned we are no longer apprentices we have all taken the path to becoming Masters. It will be still a long road to harness the full potential of our new positions but we're willing to take up the challenge!
The A2 Wind Tunnel also has another tunnel specifically for testing NASCARS. That tunnel is booked solid for the next two years, 24 hours a day, five days a week at 1600 bucks an hour! So if you were thinking of driving down to get your car a little more aero forget it for now. We popped in for a quick look as there was a team willing to let us have a look, but its so top secret there between teams.
Our destinies await!
Fear is the path to the Drag Side!
Fear leads to anger
Anger leads to lactate
And lactate leads to ..suf-fer-ring!
Next up on the calendar was the Air Force Cycling Classic in Arlington Virginia. Pretty much Washington, DC. From our hotel room just across the river we could see the Lincoln monument and the war memorial. Also just down the road was the Pentagon which was actually on the race course.
The Classic was a circuit race which took in 12 laps totaling up to 150 km. The legs were still a bit fried from their first bit of racing in over two months in Georgia. Even though that finished a week ago I had gone pretty deep and didn't listen to my screaming pins which left them a little worn out and in need of a good recovery.
Unfortunately this circuit wasn't one you could just sit and hide, most of the teams here didn't run the tour the previous week and were keen to smash it. The course was pretty much flat and a sprinters smorgasbord, lots of corners, all flat except a small hill on the back end of the circuit which you could rocket over with a little bit of horse power. Towards the end or even the beginning that's where a lot of guys lost contact (yes, I did say even the beginning). One of the main things that made the circuit tough was the wind, a nasty stiff breeze blew its ass off all day.
The race was full-on from start to finish, attack after attack, breaks coming back just as fast as they went out! We were in the mix a lot but soon realized that a sprint was inevitable. So that left us trying to keep Emile up the front and out of danger.
A Symetrics rider was solo for the last couple of laps and riding really strong, The Kelly Benefits team took up the chase but nearly left it too late, a couple of our lads moved up to help them but were told to go away as they didn't need any help? Who says that? The more the merrier I reckon!
Well their cockiness didn't pay off as the Colavita boys took it to 'em in the end, running first and second. Emile ended up 10th on the line, he was a bit disappointed but we had a good, strong day riding as a team and we are all still riding each race with different and new guys learning everyone's strengths.
Next up we're off to Arkansas for nearly two weeks doing two four day tours; Joe Martin Stage Race and the Tour of Arkansas.
Sneaking in between the two tours is my third wedding anniversary with wife Belle. Cycling is a tough sport to be able to celebrate anniversaries, birthdays and other special occasions with loved ones - that's for sure - and they're sorely missed!
Happy anniversary honey. Semper aeternumque te amabo. XX
All the best