Stephen Roche the retired great Irish champion has made some comments about how he wants to improve racing. Since he is on the body that sets up the sports rules his comments actually matter. He wants to ban race radio, ban unzipped jerseys, and ban drafting through the race caravan after a ride has a crash or mechanical.
When I read this I was sure it was some kind of joke, then I looked at my calender and saw April 1st was long gone. The race radio ban has been around awhile and even though I don’t agree with it I can at least see some points in its favor. I think the jersey rule is just jealousy since they hadn’t invented full length zip jerseys in Roche’s day. The drafting thing is just nuts, the caravan following the race course can be very long, if you weren’t allowed to follow along in a car’s draft to catch back on I think once you got behind the caravan you’d just have to quit even if you were strong enough to ride through it would be impossible without at least some drafting.
When the best teams in the world can’t find sponsors and riders are talking about creating a breakout league for professional cycling I think you have bigger things to worry about than zippers and drafting.
I do have an idea for Roche, he could join up with the Randoneurs, he sounds perfect for it at least his rules do. Randoneurs aren’t allowed to accept outside help even in the form of someone encouraging them and offering directions on the radio plus their strict dress code requires a polo shirt to be worn at all times with the collar firmly starched and folded down, just kidding about that last part.
I’ve got an even better idea, he could start his own breakout league. Racers have a 200-400 km course and are not allowed to accept outside help. They must wrap extra tires around their bodies, and are only allowed to carry two water bottles. Heck even require them to wear goggles and leather helmets. He could call it the Legends series. It would probably be more interesting than a bunch of riders in a pack for 200 miles then a field sprint.
In pretend racing news I went out for a ride Wednesday night and decided to attempt an Old 13 TT. The course is about 17 miles West to East out and back mostly flat with a few rollers and one longer climb at the end. Last time I did the route wind was a major factor but this time it was out of the South, so even though it was 9 mph I didn’t think it would have much impact.
I started the timer on my Garmin from my driveway and rode to the course at a leisurely warm up pace, then I hit the lap button on my computer, got in my tuck and began grinding out a pace. My goal was to get an average speed of 20 mph, that’s pretty much my benchmark, if I’m in shape I can do it.
About a quarter of the way through I checked my average which is on my second screen. It was 19 mph and I hadn’t even hit the hills yet. After the hills it was 18.6. The return seemed harder, the wind might have been slightly helping me on the way out or maybe I just rode harder. I was putting everything I had into the bike and my average speed was slowly going up. When I finished despite my best efforts I had only hit 19.5 mph. Then I hit the lap button again and the screen flashed up then I had just ridden 16.6 mph with an average speed of 20.1
I had been looking at the overall average and not the lap average. Opps, well at least it motivated me to work harder.