Culture

What goes through the head of a pro cyclist in a five-hour race?

Somebody once made the mistake of asking “What do you think about out there during five hour races? It can’t all be focus, right?” You asked for it! A sampling of my really, really random inner monologue from the second stage at the Four Days of Dunkirk, starting while rolling from the camper to the start: Wow. It’s really nice today. Why are we starting in a dive strip mall parking lot? Lame. I need to pee.

By Will Frischkorn

Somebody once made the mistake of asking “What do you think about out there during five hour races? It can’t all be focus, right?”

You asked for it! A sampling of my really, really random inner monologue from the second stage at the Four Days of Dunkirk, starting while rolling from the camper to the start:

Wow. It’s really nice today. Why are we starting in a dive strip mall parking lot? Lame. I need to pee.

Is the photo-stalker over there with the camera watching me pee or taking pictures of that Milram dude? I wonder if there are security cameras on this building? Wonder if I’m giving the security guy a show? Heh. Hmm. I should probably get over there quickly, looks like it’s time to go.

What am I doing with my life? Bike racing is pretty damn strange. I wonder what I’d be doing if I weren’t bike racing? What a cool way to make a living. It’s really nice out. There can’t be that many days like this up here in northern France. Thank god it isn’t raining. That guy looks fat. Why is the valve stem open on my front wheel?

Guess it’s time to roll. Why is everybody so damn nervous today? Jeesus dude, 5k left in the neutral – relax. What a cool church. Man there are a lot of ugly people in this town. What a hole. It would suck to live here. 1k left in the neutral, better get to the front. That guys gonna attack isn’t he, guess we aren’t rolling into it easy today. He’s gonna counter, jump on the wheel, go. Ouch. My legs hurt this morning. Ouch. Ouch. Close the gap. Ah, now they’re better, just had to get going. Perfect opportunity to counter. GO GO GO. Two guys on my wheel, Cofidis might let this roll. Fu-k, why is that guy doing that? Idiot. Well, at least we get to chill for a second.

Go again. Perfect composition now … nice. Guess not. Ouch ouch ouch. Nice, right in the sweet spot here. Glad I’m not 80 guys back right now, that would suck. Cover that one, quick! Perfect, Jason jumped with it and I didn’t have to. We’re riding really well as a team today. Another counter attack. I really hope I don’t actually end up in the move today. Cofidis is only going to let a couple of guys go, and they’re definitely coming back, and I really want to just chill. I should stop covering. Eeeekkk — not yet, jump on that one. Whoah – there it goes, two guys, one more, there’s a lane up the side, I should go. Screw that, I really don’t want to be there. Help block the road at the front so nobody else can jump and those guys can get a gap. Nice, others are thinking the same. Day’s over, time to chill. I need to pee.

Man that guy has huge calves. That guy really needs to lose some weight. WOW check out that mullet. It’s really nice today. Wonder what friends are doing back home right now. It hailed last night in Boulder, I wonder if my apple tree lost all of its blossoms and I’m not going to have any apples, again, this fall? Maybe the grapes survived this year. I can’t wait to build that pizza oven this fall – I should really start looking at plans on the internet when I get home. This would be a pretty entertaining idea for a journal, maybe I should write that when I get back. Why are we going so hard all of a sudden? jeebus guys, relax. Damn I hate that team. Ah, better. That house is cool. I need to paint my house this fall. Fall is going to be busy.

I’m bored. Very. Chip-seal roads suck. That team kit is hideous this year. This part of France is a hole. The colza fields are really pretty this time of the year. It’d be cool to be flying over this area, looking down on those fields, going somewhere else. Wind sucks. I should go get some bottles. Why is our mechanic driving? Hah – our director is in the back seat taking a nap. Must be exciting back in the caravan today too. A jersey full of bottles is heavy. Can’t wait to hand these off. Where is Tom … thought I saw everybody. Damn, back to the front again. Cofidis is riding way too hard. That guy has some freaky looking arms. I’m going to get a weird tan line from these modified gloves. Meatball has a serious helmet strap tan going. Heh.

50k to go, they’re going to have to pick it up now to catch the break. Well, guess not so much, those dudes have been out there a long time and it’s only a couple of em. High Road’s helping, they’re done now. I should probably get back towards the front. It’s really nice chilling tail gunner. Grab the guys as I go by, hopefully Mike can pull something out today in the sprint. Looks like everybody’s thinking it’s time to get up to the front now, it’s on. That horse over there has the life. It needs to be brushed. I hate fighting for wheels when it’s still this far out. Man we’re hauling. This is NUTS. Hope nobody botches it right now. I hate road furniture. This is kinda fun right now, we’re flyin.

Fxcxk shjjjlkt jeeeeebus!!!! This is insane! Nothing like a tailwind run-in and fresh legs all around. This is like a video game, but with consequences. SHIIIIIIIererwoekjrojtT. That was way too close, I should back off a bit, no need to take these risks. Meatball’s lookin good. CORNER — comin’ in HOT. FkljoijK, wrong side of the roundabout. Heh … right side of the roundabout. Just gained a free 30 spots. Sweet. 1k to go. This run-in is CRAZY. We’re doing 80k an hour, glad I’m not fighting for the sprint. Man I hope the sprinters don’t crash, we’d all stack right into ‘em. Hope no gaps open in the field. Nah, too fast. There’s the line! DONE! Where’s Sophie? I’m thirsty. Ah, a cold coke — nothing like it. There’s the camper, sweet, finito. I’m hungry. Where are the sandwiches?

And that’s about it … Punctuate those random thoughts with stupid jokes that seem funny only because you’re bored, tired, and on a bike along with some time spent catching up with guys on the other teams and you have a good picture of this day. Obviously some races are a bit more focused, but on the long days spent chilling in the bunch while a team’s on the front riding tempo, well, the mind gets wandering …