no one line

Ask No One Line #1
January 25, 2010, 7:23 pm
Filed under: ask no one line, training

I recently received the first letter for what will no doubt become a ground-breaking series of blog posts: Ask No One Line. That’s right.

Dear No One Line,
Why do pros train without gloves in the winter?  Well, not exactly the winter (cause it doesn’t exist in Majorca) but I swear that every time I see some photo set of “Protour Team Training Camp” in some warm Mediterranean winter getaway, the pros are completely bundled up except for their hands?  What gives? They’re wearing hats and mufflers, but no gloves?!? -missing in millbrook

Dear Missing In Millbrook,
Pros don’t have winters. They retreat to the perpetual laziness of temperate climes, where they bundle themselves up to make the readers of cycling news websites think that they are being hardcore – with their thirty-hour weeks in cold, thin air – but alas! The ruse is up: they forget about the gloves. Articles and photosets about “winter training camps” are just plain old misleading. Overdressing is PRO, white shoes are PRO, and wearing no gloves is PRO; actual winters, however, are not PRO.

Except for kids like the studly young Edvald Boasson Hagen, who, despite Team Sky’s training camp in Valencia (one giant orange, or so I’m told), is still in Norway, where his training probably consists of launching sprints after passing dogsled teams, descending fjords, and, in race simulations, imagining himself in a solo breakaway, throwing a quick glance up at the fiamme rouge while desperately trying to hold off the charging… glacier.

Here, in the winter wonderland of the NorthEastern United States, we ride on trying to hold off minor frostbite in our extremities, trying to hold off the creeping ‘winter weight.’ In twenty degree (that’s Fahrenheit, mind you!) weather, training means riding until you think you’re going to die, and then trying to make it home before you do.

With no races for another two months, we haven’t passed underneath the fiamme rouge yet, in our drive toward springtime. We’re still in that lonely no-man’s land, miles and miles away from the line, wondering if we can stay ahead of the pack or if we’ll tire ourselves out, get swallowed up and regurgitated behind, fatigued and weaving like a holiday drunk.

No One Line

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