Wednesday, May 1, 2013

LANTERNE ROUGE Season V: Breaking the Silence in Time and Space -- Time Trial 1/3 on 27 April 13 -- DONE!

A lot of time has passed since I started this effort. It is finally time to break my silence and end my drought and continue to span each of you with words . . .

After a 2-year break from bike racing I wondered into the deep end of the pool by testing myself on the European (German) racing scene.  I had long talked about doing this.  I even dreamed about it from time to time (w/ and w/o the influence of German beer---which is VERY, VERY, VERY good).

Attempts to get this going last year were all a bust as I hard to really squeeze together serious brain juice to understand the  Bund Deutscher Radfahrer e. V. (BDR) -- the German Cycling Federation.  The Germans follow rules to the letter . . . and they have a lot of them.  One needs a PhD to understand some of this stuff.  However, I turned to my good friend Mr. Google (translate), my broken conversational German, and a few beers and all was good.  I made phone calls, I wrote emails (in English), I canvassed the net.  I increased my mental capacity and gain knowledge.

But in short, Germany does not allow individual race licenses like in the US.  One must belong to a “Club” and call me stupid for being so loyal, I was not ready to jump in w/ a German club out the gate and kick Evolution Cycling Club p/b Long & Foster to the curb.  I thought I could race w/ my USA Cycling CAT 4 license if I picked up the international fee . . . NO JOY!!!  All “Internationals” are place in the A-Klasse.  Germany has 3 Klassen, or Classes,  A - C.  The A-Klasse is CAT 1/2 and I am not there . . . YET!  In fact, some one say I am back to a CAT 5(-) but that is another story . . .

So I joined a group of Americans stationed here and formed a small team called DragonQuest Racers p/b SLACRs.  The Stuttgart Local Area biCycle Riders (SLACRs) is a group I started w/ my old cycling friend X-MANN (Adam Piceno) back in 2005.  It lasted my time in the US thanks to two great cats . . . Jenn Call and IRON MAN great Marty Smith.  The DragonQuest Racers are coached and led by Eric Cole of Dragon Quest Coaching, a former USA Cycling CAT 3.  He is our rock.

But back to the rule following Germans . . .

Germany has a number of events call “Jedermannrennen” or “everybody races”  These are unlicensed events that allow C-Klasse racers but not A or B.  SWEET!  A taste of European racing w/o having to join a club.  Just what we were after.  We are beginners, the C-Klasse are beginners, this is going to be a blast.  We are going to crush these cats . . .

Our DragonQuest Racer crew selected two series, the Zeitfahrcup (, a Time Trial Series and the German Cycling Cup (, a 15 event road series (with a TT weekend just to spice things up).

We made plans, we strategized, we researched, we set up training plans and efforts, we prepared.  I read the 7-Eleven book for inspiration and we even held a little training camp.  We practiced pace lines, we hit the gym, we rode together when we could. We were preparing for battle.  I starting paying closer attention to DIVA and CHEWIE (two Evolution teammates) . . . I started tracking my food intake, I cut weight, I was growing power numbers were coming up.  Health and life set my training back but I bounced through it.  I was going to make this happen . . .

Well, at least I thought I was . . . positive talk is a force multiplier and thanks to Hans (anther Evolution teammate) I had plenty to spare.

I recall using this before but it is most fitting here, especially given that this all takes place in Germany . . .

It was Helmuth Karl Bernhard Graf von Moltke, a 19th century Germany field Marshall that is quoted as once saying “no plan survives contact with the enemy” . . . my plan did not!

My first encounter with European racing was the Zeitfahrcup (Time Trial Series) Prolog.  I looked at the rather flat course and mentally told myself I would crush it.  It was just under 5K.  I figure out an estimate of my final time and set off to get recognized.  I had my homemade TT rig, a TT helmet, and a disk.  I looked fast . . . well as fast as a TURTLE can look.

Well . . . I think was recognized alright.  My fellow Americans and I were the only ones to shout out as our riders went off the starting block.  We took a few stares for that.  However, it is what we do.

We were immediately impressed by the precision of the event.  Registration, timing, post event food, and more.  The only thing missing was good WX.  It was cold and rainy.  It sucked big time!!!  I’ve never raced in a cold rain.  I kept telling myself to “suck it up buttercup.”  But this did not help me get warm.  I was shaking at the start and it got worse . . .

I could not get on top of my gears.  I tried to stay aero but show have gotten on the horns for the grade.  School was in session and I was not passing the grade.  This was going to be a LONG series!!!

So back to the Germans . . . we were all surprised at the hardware.  The Germans came ready for battle.  I have never seen such speed at an amateur (unlicensed) event.  These guys looked like pros from gear and they way they road!  The winning time averaged over 43 kph (~27 mph)...up a slow burn grade!  Where were the “beginners” that we thought we would crush.

We thought we would have it easy . . . our team finished 9th out of 11 teams and the others (to include The TURTLE) were even further back.  Our eyes were slapped wide open. We have work to do and lots of room to improve.

But in closing, my season in Europe is finally starting.  I have lots of room to improve and improve I will.  On 1 January 2013 at 0001 I designated 2013 the Year of the BikeROCKstar.  It is that and more!!!  This is my time to make it happen.  I supported my a great bunch of cats in the US and here in Germany.  And this include one each Claudia Bauder (  She has supported the long training rides and the 0500 spins in my pain cave basement over the winter.

I will not waste this chance . . . IT’S ON!

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