Wind is a cruel mistress

One of the really great horrible things about cycling here in the South Bay is that there are so many opportunities to get on your bicycle and go have a wonderful miserable ride. One of the best most terrible rides is the Telo World Championships, held every Tuesday at 6:00 PM after the switch to daylight-saving-but-sanity-losing time.

Telo is often referred to as a training crit but no one is sure what it really trains you for except perhaps to make poor choices and suffer unpleasant consequences. I’m not sure that by age 52 I need any more of those opportunities, having already elected marriage, children, law, and a host of other fantastic awful choices.

Still, the hallmark of truly stupid people is that they apply poor judgment skills across a wide spectrum of experience, and Telo is no exception. As a beneficially destructive training crit, the mythology goes like this.

KK: What do you think about me doing Telo?

Wanky: You crashed in the Cat 4 race and said you were going to quit racing for a while.

KK: But I was told Telo is a great training crit by really experienced people.

Wanky: Are these the same people who encouraged you to race your bike?

KK: Yes.

Wanky: Well okay then.

KK: But do you think I should so it?

Wanky: My coaching services have been suspended by the state so we’ll pretend this is Scrabble and all I have is a “q” and an “x.” I’ll pass.

KK: But my thinking is that since I’m really freaked out by Cat 4 races that maybe I can get acclimated to racing better by doing Telo.

Wanky: That’s possible. I’m just not aware of any 27-second crits being promoted by Lotts. Or anyone else.

KK: What do you mean? I thought Telo was a hour long.

Wanky: It is for some people.

KK: What’s that supposed to mean?

Wanky: Unlike sanctioned crits, Telo lumps everyone together. So the leaky prostate profamateurs like me and the boot-shaking Cat 4’s like you have to race with the young, the strong, the fast, the quick, the savvy, the relentless, and basically everyone who has a 30-second recovery whereas we have like, 3 minutes. Plus we have to race with Smasher who specializes in attacking the shit out of everyone all the time, especially his breakaway mates with a lap to go so the breakaway can fail and get caught by the swarm and all our efforts can result in 38nd place.

KK: But why 27 seconds?

Wanky: That’s the average time that a newcomer lasts at Telo.

KK: So it’s harder than my Cat 4 race?

Wanky: The first 27 seconds will be. After that you can leisurely pedal around the office park and memorize the lessees of all the offices.

KK: So why do you always do it then?

Wanky: I don’t. I didn’t do it at all last year, and only a handful of times the year before. It’s a really fun unhappy race with lots of very safe deadly opportunities to get hit head-on by traffic in the chicane, plus it has a 25-mph headwind for half a mile every lap that feels really good fucking awful beyond belief.

KK: So I shouldn’t do it?

Wanky: Still nothing here but x’s and q’s.

Shortly thereafter, KK and I lined up and did Telo. KK’s race lasted a lot longer than 27 seconds but it was nonetheless very helpful in a tearing-down, lonely, and defeating kind of way. We chatted afterwards.

Wanky: So, how was it?

KK: I loved it! It was awesome! This is just what I need! I can’t wait ’til next week!

Wanky: Oh, brother.



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6 thoughts on “Wind is a cruel mistress”

  1. A couple of years ago my oldest, bestest, wisest friend and riding buddy decided to ride The Cadillac Challenge – a 100 mile ride around Mt Desert Island in Maine which culminates in about a 7 mile climb from Jordan pond to the top of Cadillac Mt.- the last 3.5 miles of the climb being the hardest. I live in Florida, out in the country. The road I live on branches off exactly in the middle of a 7 mile, dead ass flat, straightaway. The closest thing to a hill is a highway overpass 12.5 miles from my house to the top. the first opportunity to turn out of the wind is 10 miles in either direction. So it was not without some apprehension of my ability to climb that I agreed to the ride. I trained my ass off, which for me meant riding 200 to 250 miles a week for the whole summer. (Hey, I’m a tourist. I’ve always been a tourist and I’m always going to be one)

    Here in southwest Florida where I live we don’t have hills but we do have nearly constant wind, and for me the choice is either ride east or west once I get to the end of the road I live on. Grinding into a headwind often feels like running on a hamster wheel and after riding for 30+ years (I’m 61) I’m still chagrined at how easily my form falls apart when trying to maintain some forward motion into a 20mph wind. Still I persevered. Then a most amazing thing happened. We did the ride, albeit only 50 miles because it was 50 degrees and pouring rain…I know epic, right? And I had NO PROBLEM climbing. I reasoned that it must be because I was having to make a sustained effort for at least 10 miles every day while training whereas hills offer an opportunity to recover once over the top, even if only briefly.

    So while wind can be a soul crushing taskmistress, you use the tools you have to get stronger.

  2. If I’m not mistaken 27 seconds is also exactly how long newcomers last on the Flog. And we are well aware how well that turned.

    1. 27 seconds is a magic number, proven by tea leaves and astrologists and homeopaths.

  3. Forgot to take your front light off, or left it there to blind those in front when they do the “look back”?

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