With Master’s Nationals over, I confess to being a little concerned I’d lose my training partners.
I know how tough it is to fit in consistent workouts with a 9-5, and while some of the guys I train with are teachers or have flexible schedules, most of them have wives and kids who really like to see them when their goal has been met for the season.
(Thanks, btw, wives and kids for letting your men come to the track. I feel very fortunate to train with them.)
Imagine my relief when I got this text from Affinity‘s Jon Chambers:
JC: U available to train Sunday?
We’ve had storms hovering, plus I raced Friday and training gets shuffled for these reasons. And while Sunday’s usually a rest day, (can I get an Amen!?), it’s also a day when guys like Jon can sneak away for a morning track session.
ME: What do you have going on?
JC: Not sure yet depends on what you have.
ME: This weather may shift things around, so maybe flying 200’s or rolling 500’s.
JC: Works for me.
There was a little more to it. But that’s the gist. We’ve trained together quite a bit the past few years and can speak in shorthand. Our schedules haven’t meshed lately, so I was glad to hear from him.
Did I mention Jon’s racing like a champ? Just killing it every Tuesday and Saturday in the Cat 2/3’s and Master’s Men’s field. He’s a powerhouse who stepped it up a notch this winter. I hardly recognized him when I got back from Los Angeles in May.
It’s not uncommon in competitive sport to see elite women training with men of equal or greater ability. In track cycling, you often see top women racing with cat 2/3 or Master’s men to simulate the kind of speeds and action you’ll get in international competition.
Basically, you have to train as fast as you want to race. So if you’re trying to step it up; training with the guys, a motorcycle or exceptionally fast women are, in theory anyways, your best ways to go about it.
Today it was Jon, myself, Jon’s teammate, Cam; Bike Line Dale and Paul; Greg, the new Manager at Performance Bicycles and his buddy Ken. All great guys. I did flying 200’s behind the motor on Thursday, so I had 4 handicapped rolling 500m efforts, full throttle, two in race gear +4, two in race gear +6.
Three words: Big muscular effort.
We split into two groups: sprinters & enduros. Each of us (Jon, Dale & myself) took a turn at the front.
The speed difference between leading and chasing was remarkable: 6kph faster in the chase. I know I hit some of my best top speeds today. I also know the guys put the hammer down ’cause (and they’ll tell you this) no one likes getting beat by a girl.
Today’s training session was mint. Each effort high quality. For most of these guys, track time is a priority and they make the most of it.
And Jon is like a locomotive once he’s on top of a gear. Lucky for me, he doesn’t mind it if I sit a few bike lengths back and turn myself inside out trying to catch him.
There’s always some good-natured ribbing that comes with the territory. The guys like to tease me about being a girl (which, I am). I grew up with an older brother who used to pummel me for sport, so these guys are lightweights in comparison.
Gentlemen, in fact. Am I allowed to say we have a good time? And I certainly get more out of each effort than I would on my own.
This is something I’ve been thinking about because it’s new to me. I trained by myself a lot last year because it’s what I needed to do at the time.
I started the summer working with Andrew Harris on starts & OTB strength and did flying efforts with Chip Berezny and his crew on Wednesdays. Each session has been good in so many ways, this year better than last.
Then I found this newspaper clipping when I was home and thought, “Hah! This must be my destiny!”