20 April 2010

Gone for a Badger

"Riding for one, two, three hours plus is the same old incremental story every time. I admit, during big days (or nights) in the saddle my mind can start to wonder, and it was during such an occasion when the cyclist’s way of tracking time came to the fore. Of course, 6.78 billion people are happy with the standard numerical system, which is probably why I am not.

The Cyclist’s System (according to me)

1 hour: Known as a Boardman or Boardy for short after Chris Boardman’s phenomenal hour record in 2000.

2 hours: Is a Jan. After looking like being the king of the Tour for a decade, der Kaiser managed no fewer than four 2nd places.

3 hours: Or as I call it, a Roche. To remember the Triple Crown of ’87 when Roche won the Giro, Tour and World Championships.

4 hours: Can only be a Kelly. Probably the hardest bike rider ever and four time winner of the green jersey at the Tour.

5 hours: This one has a couple of names, both after members in the exclusive “I’ve won the Tour Five Times” club. A Badger if it’s likely to be littered with snarls, hand gestures and foul language should any car (or team mate) come within six feet of you, or an Indurain if ridden tranquilo.

6 hours: Another double namer. Either a Super (in recognition of the bike I dreamt all this up on, the SuperSix) or a Ghent (for obvious reasons).

7 hours: Can only be a Lance. No body else can boast seven Tour wins to their name.

8 hours: Is a Pirate, the nickname of one of the most gifted climbers we’re ever likely to have seen, Marco Pantani. Marco’s eight grand tour victories is why a Pirate slots in here.

9 hours: Simply a Zabel, named after Mr Consistency in the Tour with nine green jersey victories to his name.

10+ hours: Fondly referred to as a Merckx. Riding from 10 to 24 hours takes a certain mindset, some would say a cannibalistic pleasure in eating yourself up on the bike. No further explanation needed, a Merckx it is.

Of course, this scale blatantly has no real relevance to anything, except that it always makes me smile when I look back over the week and remind myself that I’ve got a couple of Boardy’s, a Jan, two Roche’s and a Badger in the legs. And if it makes me smile, well that’s a good thing in my book."

via Mike Cotty

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