Then & Now

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Someone sent me a link to the tweet below from Lawson Craddock. It got me thinking about racing now and 30 years ago and if there was a way to race myself of old, who would win. And I came to the conclusion that I’m better now than I was then.

I’m not sure I’m physically better. Probably not. I’m fairly beat up. But, considering the whole package, I’m a better bike rider. Experience in this sport is key. Learning from observation. Learning from mistakes. Learning in general. And retaining that information. Then applying that knowledge to different circumstances later, to have a better result. That is one thing that attracts me so much to the sport.

I still find the mental aspect of the sport interesting. After riding Redlands, I’m thinking about just using stage races later on in the season as training. I find the racing pretty boring. Free for all bike racing is much more interesting to me.

Like the end of Tour of Flanders last Sunday. I’m still thinking about that last 15 kms. I don’t understand it. Boonen launching Cancellara off the front. Then, Cancellara loosing a 45 second lead on one hill only to split the field right when the field reconnected. And Sylvain Chavanel pulling during the last 2 km, when he has Tom Boonen so close behind. There was a kind of weird hand shake between Chavanel and Cancellara in there somewhere that I didn’t quite understand. Pretty great bike race in general.

Anyway, I don’t remember racing against Lawson’s dad. But he must be a pretty good athlete because his son obviously has pretty good genes.

12 thoughts on “Then & Now

  1. Hudson Luce

    Steve – you *could* write the book about bike racing – you *should* write a book about bike racing…

  2. Marc

    I used to race on the same mtb team as Lawson’s dad, and yes, he used to beat the snot out of people. Good luck Lawson, and thank you Steve for posting, keep up the good work.

  3. VC Slim

    I too found the handshake a bit confounding. Perhaps tacit agreement by Fabio to pull Sylvain to the finish. A win win for both of them over Boonen.

    Lawson’s dad was more than just a very good crit and track racer. He once soloed the last nine miles around Lake Bryan to win a state championship master road race.

    Keep up the good writing and racing Steve.

  4. timmer

    i agree.. odd finale and the cancellara/chavenel deal was confusing.. as i look at it it seemed like a deal gone bad; they made a deal, shook on it, cancellara to lead out, mistook Nuyens for chavenel, chopped chavenel thinking it was Nuyens.. oops.

  5. Ettore

    Steve I started racing when I was 16 exactly 40 years ago! in fact I used to hang on to John Howard’s wheel at the Cross Florida Races. I had to quit under family pressure after racing a whole season in Belgium for the Libertas Team. Today in spite of being 58 I think I am a better rider because of the technology available. I did not have access to a power meter, or a virtual indoor trainer in those days but I do now. I am fortunate I can monitor my progress on a weekly basis or lack of it. I am not racing yet but I have been tempted to get back with the “masters”.

  6. Nick

    Cancellara didn’t want to have to drag Chavenel to the line, so he let the field reconnect in an attempt to reshuffle the break. It didn’t quite reshuffle like he wanted.

    I don’t think it was a handshake, Chavenel was just pulling Cancellara through to do some work.

  7. Neil Kopitsky

    This is the first place I have seen mention of the puzzling tactics/behavior by Chavanel in the last few K’s. I have watched the DVR a few times and I still can’t figure it out. Chavanel pulled for a total of 24 seconds. If he sits on, is there any doubt that he wins that sprint or, more likely, that Boonen wins the race?

    What was he thinking? Timmer might have the answer.

  8. Mark

    i think chavanel was just slinging cancellara to close the gap he opened a bit? tis just what it looked like to me..?

  9. Jeff

    I think it was an acknowledgement between Chavenal and Cancellara that they both had given each other their best shot(s) and neither cracked. Sort of a “great job–now may the best man win”. Unfortunately Nuyens spoiled the party.

  10. DavidR

    yeah, the handshake just seemed weird and Cancellara’s last 2okm just didn’t make sense to me at all. maybe he wasn’t as good as last year and the cramping played a big factor. His disrespect of Nuyens for actually winning seemed bad form, too. But Boonen’s dumb-ass riding was just unreal. Chavanel was the man-of-the-day, but he was outfoxed by a fresher Nuyens – and that’s bike racing.

  11. Bryan McVey

    some people have it right in that it definitely was not a handshake, rather a handsling. Chavanel opened a small gap and he gave Cancellara a small sling to keep the momentum of the break going.

    As for Chavanel’s other tactics in the last K’s. I think he had a quote saying his legs were on fire (in a good way), and he probably thought he could help keep the break away, and still win the sprint. He was close.


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