Team Time Trial
I'm sitting here watching the Tour de France and just thinking how cool this race is shaping up to be. Yesterday was a stage that everyone thought was going to be a field sprint, and the leaders were caught napping while a break with practically the whole Columbia team and Lance Armstrong rode away from the field! As I sit here I wonder if we could actually see Lance Armstrong take the yellow jersey at the end of the day. It would be such an amazing feat if he was in yellow again.
Bike racing is like a soap opera. There is so much in the press about the rivalries and then we watch scenarios play out during the races and read so much into them. People love to analyze and guess. It makes us all feel closer to the sport we love.
Back to today's race... The Team Time Trial is something that we don't see as often in normal races, and races where the team time counts to the general classification are even fewer. For those of you who don't know, Team Time Trials are some of the most painful races around. It is an amazing thing to be riding with your team, but, you are only as strong as your weakest person, and the pace is always 110% at the front and recovery in the slipstream. The time is taken off the 5th man, so you can theoretically lose a few people and still have a good time. The problem is that if you lose riders too early, the others have to work even harder. You want to have the team ride together as long as possible so the speed stays high and everyone gets some recovery. It is amazingly technical, but also beautiful to see the organization and effort.
It's been a few years since I have felt so interested in the Tour. I have to admit I am one of the fans who are so impressed with Lance's comeback. It is a comeback that is only as astonishing as his comeback from cancer. I raced in the same years as the younger Lance, and to hear him say that he thinks it is the time off the bike that is his biggest problem, not his age, is something that I think is important for us all to hear. It just confirms that healthy living and training can really make a difference as you age. I don't know if you all know this, but Jeannie Longo just won the French national Championships and she is 50 years old!
So, use this as inspiration! Go out and ride!