Then I remembered: The day before
Greg had made a commitment to do a long ride on the Computrainer
with me. I am training for the upcoming Ironman New Zealand
and doing my best to build up saddle time. Even on the Computrainer
a four-hour ride feels like about sixteen hours, so it is
invaluable to have another guy on the Computrainer next to
you to draft off of. For those of you unfamiliar with a Computrainer,
it’s a computerized stationary trainer thingy you put
your bike in and ride. A load generator simulates riding on
the road, including drafting and hills. It’s pretty
I park my car after my eight block
commute and see Greg walking in the store. I tell myself I
have to drive to work, all eight blocks from home, because
I have errands to run. Sometimes it’s even true. Most
times its just laziness.
“Greg, what’s with
the bus?” He tossed is backpack with his riding clothes
on the floor in the office to prepare for our ride.
“Oh, I said I’d ride
with you today. I’m here to ride.”
Now I don’t know how this
strikes you, but I was impressed. Pretty damn impressed. How
many 20-year-old guys would spend their day off on a bus going
up to the place they work, outside of working a 60+-hour workweek,
to train indoors for four hours on their bike?
A few days ago I would have answered
“None”. Today I know one.
I told Greg how impressed I was
that he was determined enough to get on the bus and come up
to the store to ride the Computrainer. Most people, especially
this time of year, can find a million excuses to not train.
I know I can. But Greg apparently found more reasons to train,
despite the hassle of arranging his schedule around the bus
schedule, waiting outside in the damp cold, spending four
hours on an indoor trainer bored out of his wits and then
riding back home on the bus without a shower first.
As luck would have it the store
was swamped and I was so busy I had to delay our ride until
it became a greatly abbreviated version of four hours. We
managed a pretty good hour; Greg did another hour on his own.
But before he got on the bike he helped out around the store.
Later on that day I was soaking
in the hot tub at the pool thinking about what Greg did.
The guy rode the bus up to the
store to ride the trainer for four hours.
Would I have done that? Man, I’d
like to answer yes…. I hope I would. But I don’t
But he did.
In doing so Greg demonstrated more
about himself than perhaps any cycling result he is likely
to produce over the next few years. There was no finish line
on the Computrainer, no results published online. No fanfare.
No one to watch his performance. He isn’t training for
anything big. He just wants to be better at the sport.
Last year when Greg started coming
in the store he had an ill-fitting road bike he bought somewhere
else and his position was awful, saddle way too low and reach
way too long. We took pity on the guy after he showed up for
a few rides and fixed his position. Then, we sold his old
bike on E-Bay and got him a new carbon fiber frame with Campagnolo
components. Greg still only has one change of cycling clothes,
and he washes them every night so he can ride the next day.
Pretty soon he started asking if we needed any part time help.
On top of his 40-hour a week job.
Would you do that? Are you that
focused, driven, determined?
Honestly, I doubt if I am. Sure,
I’ll put in the work if I know I am jetting off to Thailand,
Curacao, and New Zealand all in the space of four months to
race, train and kill time in the winter. But Greg is just
riding to be a better rider. He’s riding because he
loves the sport. He’s riding because he wants to be
And he is better. A lot better.
Last year Mike Aderhold and I were
on a ride to Grosse Ile with a few of our friends, we had
to sit up a couple times to wait for Greg. Today Greg routinely
pummels me on the Computrainer. He went up an 8% grade at
24 mph on the Computrainer for well over 2 minutes in his
53/15 gear. When he got to the top of the climb he shifted
down to the 12. Without any time to recover, he made my little
Nintendo man on the screen go backwards as the numbers that
count his lead built up like Bill Gates’ bank account
on a good day in the NASDAQ. His little Nintendo man disappeared
over the virtual horizon on the computer screen in front of
me. Interesting thing about the Computrainer, you ride right
next to the guy who just dropped you on a climb and put 1,000
feet on you in about two minutes. That’s about a fifth
of a mile, and I was trying.
If it weren’t for Greg I
know my preparation for New Zealand would not be as good.
He and I have already done a number of long, tough, hilly
rides that took hours and hours on that thing, staring at
the computer screen as all those little numbers- speed, average
speed, watts of power output, average watts, heart rate- just
tick along. The distance number seems to tick the slowest
on those long rides. On Christmas Day Greg and I rode the
Computrainer four and a half hours. We turned up the music,
covered a table next to us with drinks and food, and got on
the bikes. At the end of the ride I told him, “Greg
buddy, we get extra points for this ride because nobody else
is on their trainer four hours on Christmas Day.”
On New Years Eve we rode again.
Same story. Hours and hours.
Greg has lost a lot of weight,
gotten stronger, learned about the sport. He’s becoming
I’m glad this guy walked
through the door last summer. If he hadn’t, I doubt
I would be as dedicated to training right now. He has really
been an inspiration and also a healthy guilt trip coordinator
when I don’t train.
Greg is a determined guy, and I’m
glad. He has so much determination he really doesn’t
recognize obstacles, inconveniences or reasons why he shouldn’t
ride. He just finds more ways to ride.
No doubt, he has a lot of determination.
And lucky for me, sometimes he has enough for two guys.