Monday, December 21, 2009

"So you think it's cold?!" Part 1.

It's winter and many riders find it difficult to bundle up correctly for training, mountain bike, and cyclo-cross racing. This can make it hard to keep motivated and focused. To remain inspired in cold-wet weather for me is the absolute worst! If you can do this, you'd make a great European rider! (Photo: Cor Vos)

Cold and wet was the norm in Europe during winter and spring; cold to the bone. The riders who excel in the spring classics in particular have an indescribable constitution. This category of riders are a category in and amongst themselves...they do not register cold and pain like other riders do.

Australian, Phil Anderson, my boyfriend for six years, is the perfect example of one of these super-human riders. He was considered a "classics rider" and went very well in foul weather. For instance, if a two hundred man field began at Liege-Bastogne-Liege and freezing rain continued throughout the day, there might be only twenty-seven finishers. These would be great conditions for Phil!

One morning when we both on the TVM Team, it was pandemonium at the start of the Tour of Flanders. The press was swarming around our team cars. The mechanics and soigneurs had all we could do to prepare the bikes and the boys and deal with the paparazzi too. It was sub-thirty degrees Fahrenheit and sleeting. On days like this we layered the boys legs with three types of liniment; the top coat, a silicone-like product was derived from the feathers of a duck to repel the water, sleet, and snow.

As one of my riders put his start food and bottles into his pockets and moved aside, a journalist shoved his way into the coveted circle. Phil went ballistic. The journo barraged Phil all at once. Phil agreed to answer one question. "Phil, it's strontweer ( Dutch:'shitty/foul weather'), good day for you." To which Phil replied, "Why do you say this day is any better for me?" And the journo said, " The worse the weather, the better you go. Two-hundred riders are starting, less than thirty will finish in conditions like this...good day for you!"

Phil almost clocked the guy. " I don't go any better, everybody else just rides worse." "Shell, get this guy outta here!"