I was finally able to get the guys together for a ride today. Really it wasn't me, it was Chris who got everything started. He invited me to a ride with him and Matt, I just took it a step further and invited the rest of the guys. The weather was just too good for any of them to miss. My only mistake was to say that it was going to be an easy ride. I guess it wasn't so much a mistake as misdirection, if I said we were going to ride hard up the hills I don't think some of the guys would have come. It is early season and not everyone has been able to train as much as others. But I think this was good for everyone, it gets all the guys to know where they are at and what they need to do for the coming year. Everyone that showed up was on the 708 Racing Cat 3 team, and that made it an even better barometer for seeing where your fitness is at right now. If there were higher levels and they smoked you, you could blow it off as "they have to go faster they are better" or if you smoked them, or even hung with them it could give you a false sense of your fitness.
I felt great on the ride, and I really didn't expect to be as good as I was. I had done two days of intervals before it so I thought I would be hurting more. I think it was mostly because I was so excited to be riding with the new team, and outside. Everyone looked REALLY STRONG. Mark French finally took off his personal torture devices he calls Power Cranks (the cranks move independently of each other so you are riding single legged the whole time) so he was riding like an engine on high octane. (corny I know) I have known Mark for a few years and I knew he was going to be riding strong. Mike is also looking as strong as ever, he had done two hard days before today so on the penultimate climb of the day Mark got away from him. Mike is like a billy goat and a camel put together. The man climbs faster than anyone his size, 5'10" 165lbs, should be able to and can run almost all day long on no food or water. I think that is because he is old school, and did some hard, hard miles back when he was in his early twenties. I don't think he even drank a whole bottle of water today! The rest of the guys I had never ridden with, one teammate Keith, I had only met once but talked to a few times, and this was my first time meeting Drew. Chris is a salesman down at Mesa and is a really cool guy to shoot the shit with when he isn't selling some bangin bikes from Specialized . Man that dude is a diesel engine! He is going to put the hurt on some people this year. He is another big man who goes uphill faster than it seams he should be able to. Matt, Keith and Drew were also some great riders, I could see that Matt is a really good mountain biker just by his pedal stroke, guy could spin at like 500 rpms. Keith was very good up the hills and could keep a great clip on the flats. Drew seamed a little beat at the moment, he had just come off a long CX season and you have to have some down time somewhere. From what I hear he is another very good off road racer, and doesn't do a who lot of time on the road.
I think I could really go all day about how much fun I had on our ride but I have had this other thought on my mind that I wanted to put down.
I don't really know why this stuff bugs me so much, maybe because I just came into this sport just a few years ago and I feel like this stuff bashes on the things I love about the sport.I guess the stuff that bugs me is these people talking about how the old stuff is better than the new. I guess it is the "how it was" mantra that just about everyone talks about at some point in their life. I have not gotten to that point yet. Maybe it is because I come from a time of fast improvement, instant gratification, real time reporting. But what is wrong with now? Why are carbon frames built by extremely smart men and women at the cost of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars, ugly? Why are the made in the USA, lighter, less expensive, just as precise as any other, not as prestigious or desirable as Campagnolo? Shit I don't even think Campy shifters make any sense, how the hell do you shift in the middle of a sprint? If I wanted to not be able to shift to a better gear when I am doing almost 40 mph I would have stuck with the down tube shifters. If these guys who think that the old stuff is better than the new stuff why do they have the 10 gear cassette, the clip-less pedals, the STI shifters? I don't know why this bothers me so much, just does I guess.
We had to take two pictures because we couldn't find someone to take the whole team's but this is the 708 Racing C3 crew. I'll post our pics again when we get the new kit.