Friday, March 26, 2010


I am fascinated by physics. I know next to nothing about physics, but I am no less fascinated by it for that.

One aspect of physics I do understand, particularly as it pertains to bicycle racing, is that the same force applied to a lower mass will result in faster acceleration. That’s why lightweight guys can climb better.

So yesterday when I was on a mellow lunch ride with Daren, he tells me that Tanner (his son) has been in the lab getting his power output tested. Tanner’s threshold power output is a little more than mine. And he weighs 20 pounds less. But I already knew that Tanner was a way faster climber than I am.

What I was afraid to admit was that this similar power applied to less mass principle was relevant for crit racing. This afternoon’s criterium made me painfully aware of just how relevant this principle is. The course had lots of turns, which meant lots of slowing down and speeding up.

I was right behind Tanner for most of the race. He patiently sat in until about three laps to go. That’s when I felt the full effect of my extra 20 pounds. Tanner attacked the lead group, and I couldn’t match the acceleration. Neither could anyone else.

Racing in the snow sucks.

By the last lap, I could see Tanner coming into the final turn while I had three turns to go. He was so far off the front that I thought it was someone in similar kit who had been lapped. Apparently so did the chief commissaire, because she whistled and tried to pull him from the course. He kept going for the win.

Tanner is a high school kid. Literally speaking, he was a boy among men at this race. It felt the other way around. He put the hurt on some very good crit racers and won in the most manly way possible—a solo breakaway. Strong work, my friend.


  1. It's always seems weird when I'm in a race pack and suddenly I realize everyone else in the pack is like 20 years younger than me. I feel like a chaperone at a high school dance.

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  3. My best friend's 15 yo is putting the hurt on guys just like you in Louisville. Big motor, little mass.