My dad is full of great stories, stories about the PROs, stories about the local cyclists and of course stories about the people who were his customers for over 30 years. One of my favorite stories centers on the old school technique that defines my father's 60+ years of cycling.
When my dad was in his mid-sixties, he was a strong rider; riding just shy of 300 miles a week. One summer he and a group of his buddies/customers got together for a spin. Out and back, 70 miles, nothing too crazy, just a few friends on a gentlemanly cruise. At least that is how it began. As the ride rolled north and out of town the pace began to pick up. There were a number of hard efforts and the wind was blowing in, strong and consistently. Some of the greenhorns were tuned-up for the early season races and were lifting the pace above the agreed gentlemanly level, turning the screws in an effort to demonstrate their prowess.
As the group hit the half way, the greenhorns decided to stop for a quick bite and a refill of the bottles. The plan for a quick stop turned into a plan for lunch and then a table for six. There were still 35 miles to ride and a full meal at this point would be too much. As the group began to order, my dad and his best mate looked to each other and both knew there was only one way to play this.
The waiter took everyone’s orders: milkshakes, an omelette, a double cheeseburger, pancakes, and as the orders rounded the table they came to my father. Ham on white bread, a slice of Swiss, nothing else. No bacon, no lettuce, no sausage links, no strawberry milkshake. Nothing. And a water. His best mate replied with a devious smile, "I will have the same." Once the group had finished eating it was time to head back. A slow rollout as the legs began to divert the blood from the stomach and the group began to get back into the homeward effort. The group began to get playful and the efforts began to increase.
My dad sat in right behind his mate, as the tempo increased. Almost as quickly as the heavy breakfast went down, it began to come up. The riders who had eaten the breakfast fit for a king were beginning to take on a pale, greenish color in their faces. Once the green began to show, my father and his mate lifted the pace. As the pace lifted, the greenish color began to fade into a ghostly white color. One more attack was all it took for the breakfast club to scatter in search of some privacy. The greenhorns had proven they were strong; they had proven they could bring the pain. But bringing the pain is about more than steady, hard efforts. The pain is brought with brains as well as brawn.