My friend and East Bay Velo Club teammate Mark and I rode the Sierra Century last week. In years past this ride has featured a brutal course with long, steep climbs. This year they had a new, tamer course. It started at a high school in a subdivision near Rocklin, CA. I’m describing it in this blog mainly to give you a flavor for what these rides are like, and also to introduce my readers (if any) to a unique literary genre: the East Bay Velo Club race report.
The EBVC Race Report GenreBike racing seems to be a very verbose sport. I’m not sure why this is the case. Perhaps it’s because it’s a sport you can do while chatting. In fact, if you’re going to ride 100 miles, you almost have to make conversation or you’ll generally get bored. I suppose I’m one of the chattier riders out there; my teammates know that if I’m working too hard to talk, I’m pretty much redlined and they have a great opportunity to attack and drop me. (I call this the Peak Conversational Threshold, related to the Anaerobic Threshold beyond which you cannot sustain the effort.)
The East Bay cycling community is a really great batch of conversationalists. We discuss the usual topics—politics, cars, movies, music, weather—but also some wilder stuff. (For example, I once had a fascinating discussion, over a twenty-mile period, with my friend Takumi about public key data encryption and computer piracy.) We also have a fair number of dads on the club, so I can compare parenting strategies, stories, and arcane theories (such as the notion that cyclists cannot sire male offspring). But whatever else we talk about, old race stories—Big Ring Tales, they’re often called—are a staple.
Of course in the Internet age these tales aren’t only passed down orally. I’m sure we’re not the only club that has e-mail group lists send around race reports. But our reports are different, I think. I can’t remember who first reported on what he ate after a race, but I remember that he ate goat , and I was delighted to read about it. So the next time I filed a race report (which was months later—I almost never race), I made food the focus of my report, and I’ve encouraged others to do the same, and they have. So a new canon has emerged: race/food reports.
A Disclaimer You shouldn’t eat like this at home! For that matter, you shouldn’t eat like this at a restaurant. I had a little fun here, folks, eating two dinners and getting enough second-hand calories from my kids to comprise a whole extra meal, but I’m not advocating such gluttonous behavior, at least not for the common man. It is an established fact that cyclists need, deserve, and consume more food than any other athlete (or non-athlete, for that matter). A Tour de France rider, it is estimated, burns about 8,000 calories per day throughout the three weeks of the race.