i spent so much of my life being freaked out and scared that i believe i developed a conditioned response to stimuli, that is to say: a very flat one. it’s served me well in many instances of outright terror, despair and sadness, but it’s less good for allowing me to express joy or wonder or amazement to those who are close to me, when those emotions would be, say, appreciated and human. there is such a thing as being too calm whilst one carries along.
this was my first bike, an amf. this isn’t the actual bike, but it’s the model. after learning to ride it and removing the training wheels, the handlebars snapped off the gooseneck going down a hill, a la hincapie at roubaix. lost some chin skin that day. still loved it.
that’s me and my buddy jim johnson after our second-place finish in our age class in the two-man team time trial at the maine time trial festival.
but that’s not the real story. i’ll try to be brief.
jim and i have been racing together for years. we are simpatico. throughout those many seasons, jim’s always had issues with his hip. after five years of beating himself up on the bike, he had major hip surgery last fall. i won’t pull punches (jimmy’s always wanted to be a boxer). it was hard on jim. i think the initial thought was that surgery could improve things. when the doctors got in there, so to speak, the damage was more extensive than they’d expected. jim was in for a long recovery. much longer than anticipated. he never thought he’d ride again. he couldn’t walk for months. he spent months in a body brace, first getting around by crutches, then a cane. i’m two years older than jim.
despite all of this, many months ago, jim asked me if i’d race with him at the time trial. THE COMEBACK OF JIMMY. of course i would. in the intervening months jim stopped riding many times because of the pain. we called things off at least once. but his doctors kept encouraging him, he kept riding when he could at a pace he could sustain and today we took the line.
and it was the most meaningful 26.2km i’ve ever raced on a bike.
wiggins will win le tour tomorrow, barring incident.
lots has been made on the twitzer and in the media, to a lesser extent, i think, about the strongest man in this three-week race and whether that man is wiggins or froome, what man is going to be allowed to win, and why. this argument is interesting, stretches from talent to sacrifice to teamwork and even nationalism, and is largely irrelevant.
sky built their team around wiggins from day one. years ago. many years ago, if you consider the days on the track. what’s happening with wiggins’ win - and it could only ever be wiggins’ win - is about planning, execution and return on investment. of course sky are going to ride for wiggins. that has been the plan. this is a team who know how many steps there are from hotel to bus. they don’t deviate. this was going to happen, or it wasn’t. but it was only going to happen for bradley this year. because that was the plan. this isn’t about an englishman from ghent winning the tour, or a kenyan with a charming accent coming second, girlfriend sniping all along the way. this is about return on investment. the investment in wiggins.