By: Matthew Karre Jun 13

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I own a time trial bike. And an aero helmet. There I said it. These two items make me feel funny about myself in a few different ways. Firstly, the social stigma of riding a TT bike while not in competition is severe. At that point you are either a triathlete or a rec-triathlete or one of those fools who thinks aero bars are for comfort. Secondly, there is the personal shame of knowing that because I own a TT bike I must ride it, and the only reason to ride it would be to prepare for a race involving a TT bike. Those are known as time trials. Stay with me. Purposefully preparing for a race is also known as training. Outwardly, I’m fully against training. I believe in riding, riding hard, riding with purpose and for a reason, but not training. The word training has been so bastardized and watered down that has lost all meaning. “What type of bike are you looking for, sir?” “Well, something I can ride on training rides, that kind of thing.” “Oh, nice. What are you training for?” “Nothing. I just want to get back in shape.”
About that:

1) To get back in shape implies that you once were in shape
2) It’s not a training ride if you are not training for something. It’s a ride. Rides are great and wonderful and infinitely better than training by all definitions.

“I was out on a training ride yesterday and I found someone’s arm warmer.” Is this a point of pride for folks? Why not just say I was on a ride? If you were truly training you likely wouldn’t have stopped to pick up an arm warmer. Picking up the arm warmer implies a lack of focus and commitment to your training so not only were you probably not training you definitely weren’t training well. You just lost Tuesday Night World’s again. See what your kindness did? Foolish.

But alas, I own a TT bike and for the last several weeks I’ve been riding it at least once a week. Last weekend I raced the TT bike, while wearing the aero helmet, at the Mt. Hood Cycling Classic Stage race. The first race was for seven whole minutes (sadly nearly a minute slower than the winner) and then two days later for 24 minutes (more like two and a half minutes slower this time). Was all the time riding the TT bike prior to the race for naught? Definitely but no. After all, look at the view from the Prologue finish.

In the end, I make no conclusion. I’ll probably always feel funny about myself when out riding the TT bike. My disdain for the word training is probably just a self-fulfilling justification for mediocre results. I’ll always cringe a little when someone says ‘training ride’ or ‘just gettin’ ready for ‘cross.’ I’m a hypersensitive judgmental elitist. Always have been.

Speaking of hypersensitive: imagine having this song in your head for an 84 mile road stage where the pace is too hard to just chat.

The promoters had it playing right before the start of stage one. Phenomenal race. Tortuous song. Pure garbage. Try chasing Ian Boswell up an 8km climb with that swill bouncing around in your thoughts. I shudder to recall the lyrics.



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