Thursday, February 28, 2008

Editorial Post...sorta cycling related

Mood: Decent
Fitness: Mentally good, physically...who knows (15 miles ridden so far this week)
Weight: 185 (finally in a good place)

Terrible Cyclist got me thinking about running...I know, why the heck would you want to do that?!. Anyway here's what he wrote:

In running you don't need teammates. You don't need help during a race, and the fastest guy almost ALWAYS wins. This makes it entirely possible to win every race you enter. In cycling it doesn't matter how good you are, you're not going to win them all...

I ran track at Virginia Tech back in the day and at my peak may have been referred to as an "average at best" collegiate runner (I ran the 800).

So what do they do with the average runners in college? We were used as "bait" and training tools for the elite guys on the team to help them improve. I remember having to rabbit 800s in practice one second over my PR through the 400 just so our star half-miler could train on his second 400 (going through fast and holding on..while I passed out on the infield).

I also remember toeing the line against our top 400 meter guy (who had never ran an 800 in his life) on the last day of spring training down at Florida St before my Sophomore year. I had been running phenomenally (relative to what I had done in the past). I had run a PR already during a local meet down in Florida and was feeling all kinds of confidence. The 800 and miler guys were getting ready to run our final inter-squad "race" when this cocky SOB 400 guy (who actually could run sub 46, so he had every right to be cocky) decided he'd like to "try" an 800. Of course all the "smack" talk started about how he was going to make us look bad and show us up and stuff, but we were confident that the extra distance would break down his speed and give us a chance. The hope was to take him through fast through the first 400 and hope that his endurance (or hopefully lack of) would result in not having kick at the end. Anyway, the short of the race was that we came through in 53.5 through the 400 and back in 59.6 for the second... 1:53.1 was a great time for me (personal best), but for Mr. 400, it was a walk in the park. 53.5 for someone capable of running sub 46 is close to walking. My PR through 400 would be a comfortable jog for him. This is what didn't click at the time. One cannot beat someone in one-on-one competition if they are at such a more elite level than you are. I'm very happy not to be running anymore...especially against skinny dudes that mock you as you PR through the 800, but one step behind them.

TC is right, the fastest guy usually does win in running...especially when they're running against someone slower (my example). Cycling is kinda like that too though. Take the cat 3 races last year. If you're name wasn't Esmonde, Escobar, or probably didn't see your name towards the top of the results sheet very often. Did these guys have the strongest teams? Not really (but some would argue that Esmonde's team was the best looking...more so on the 4's though). Those dudes were just flat out fast...

It's kinda like being given the opportunity to sprint against Boonen, both with fresh legs and perfect leadouts: I'd say I'd win 0 out of 100 attempts...maybe 1 if we decided to go into oncoming traffic.

The cool part about cycling though is that if you have some phenom in a race that "should" win based on speed, there is a chance that with teamwork, timing, and a bit of luck they won't and you can beat them (or set up your teammate to beat them).



Kyle Jones said...

I think you are right. But those guys were not stupid with their strength also. There was a purpose to what they did. But I was amazed at how many times these guys Pulled the field. I do not remember Escobar doing it as much as Custer and Esmonde. I just remember Esmonde at leonardtown last year just made the race so god dang hard by applying pressure on the front, I had a great time.

On a complete side note: Bob Roll pointed out on a tour day france broadcast was peoples perception that Super Mario can not climb and they can out climb him. Bob Roll quickly pointed out that Super Mario could beat most local club superstars climbing but not the super climbers like pantani.

TerribleTerry said...

great post.. I often went to that Florida State meet after our spring training camp. So it's funny to hear you mention that race. It's the "tradezone" of the collegiate Track & Field season. Sometime's I'd run steeple or (gasp) the 800 or something silly just for strength. We had about the same speed (1:52- 1:55), but those folks who run 1:47's and whatnot made me feel like I was carrying a refrigerator the last stretch and somehow coming off the last turn always felt like it was about 160meters instead of 100.

Anyways, good post from someone surely with a little more cycling experience.