Sunday, June 18, 2006

The Zach Attack


The Strategy
In this weekend's pre race training, Zach Putt, who is mild tempered and speaks only when necessary concluded our strategy as this: "If there's a break we go otherwise we save our energy to attack in the last lap"

Like me, you may be muttering to yourself, DUH?! But the beauty of Zach's simplicity is that he means what his says and says what he means. This simplicity happens to be the beauty of bike racing as well. As Floyd and Lance have so often stated, find the strongest man and train harder. That's it. That's bike racing. Well, sort of...

Did I mention that Zach is 15? That's right, FIFTEEN. As numers go, he's weighs in a lean, mean 155 and carries a max HR of 220. I found this out when climbing with him and noticed his HR was the exact same as mine. I felt like a rock star until he told me his max. That put him one full training zone below me and put me one zone below depression.

Race Day
Arriving exactly at the same time, ZP (pronounced ZIP) and I warmed up on the course. While doing so, I dreamingly stated to Zach that should we get lucky enough to break, we needed to adhere to 30 second pulls for each other. He whole heartedly agreed. Of course this was coming from a v12 aerobic engine who could hold up his end of the deal. (you might be getting a sense of where this is going)

It was a 4/5 race with the same cast of characters from the last. 64 to start and 59 to finish. The course was just about as good as it gets. Quick descent from the start with rollers through wooded valleys until the short, snotty 500 footer smacked you like a jilted lover which rounded out the 6.5mi lap.

ZIP and I hammered the first lap to find ourselves leading on the backside. With the wisdom of a Cat 1 he leaned over and imparted: "let's back it off" Concur I did and allowed the peloton to swallow us. In doing so we maintained top 15-20 the balance of the next 2 laps...

With the final lap approaching I actually found myself doing something that I will never do again: Questioning if ZIP could pull up from behind me to start to close on the leaders. What happened next is what I call....

The Defining Moment
With the grace of a dolphin and the agression of a hammerhead shark, ZIP slid up the right side of the peloton to the top five within a minute or 400 heartbeats as it seemed then. It was then that he pounded out his pistons on the final climb to actually control the field and set up the final sprint. Only seconds later did he find himself vying for top five to actually pull in a 3rd place finish. Truly incredible, truly defining.

Yours truly? 34th. I would never claim a proud moment with 34th but I will say this: Each race gets better and each race teaches me one thing. It's that one thing that forces me to come back each time. Just to see. Just to try. And maybe, just maybe get that break that ZIP and I have been training for.

The Future
ZIP and I have a few more races together this season but that isn't the real story here. The real story is that I am but a temporary stop for the up and coming star. While I'm no Jimmy the Greek (thank God), I have been known to make a couple of solid predictions.

Mine for ZIP is that with proper coaching, guidance and keeping the cool head he currently possesses, we'll be hearing more about Zach Putt over the next 7-10 years. I know, I know. It's a long road from good 4/5 races to Nike endorsements but I know this: When you witness talent like this, you can't help but to wonder and have a hint of excitement.

Until then, I'll be the fatherly domestique. I am 17 years older after all and I had the oh, so flattering fortune of another racer asking if we were a father and son team. Am I becoming one of the old dogs??? OY VEY!!!

Go American Soccer and Cycling.

Cheers.

4 comments:

Ride on Rider said...

awesome pic 53rd!!

and great to hear the inside scoop on actual racing

53rd Tooth said...

Thanks Rider.

Just got word this morning that Zach finished 7th yesterday in a 4/5 race with a field of 71.

Apparently he stayed safe amidst two really bad crashes requiring EMT's and guys getting hauled off to the ER. That, unfortunately, is the bad inside scoop of amateur racing.

If you can stay upright, there's nothing else like it.

Donn Putt said...

I'm Zach's uncle and a former (and I use the term loosely) racer. I obviously get a great deal of pleasure seeing this kid perform like he has at his age. I know his mom and dad are as proud as can be. I'm real curious to see how he does at cross-county this fall. Oh to be 15 again.

Tour of '03 said...

Nice picture!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

The Zach Attack


The Strategy
In this weekend's pre race training, Zach Putt, who is mild tempered and speaks only when necessary concluded our strategy as this: "If there's a break we go otherwise we save our energy to attack in the last lap"

Like me, you may be muttering to yourself, DUH?! But the beauty of Zach's simplicity is that he means what his says and says what he means. This simplicity happens to be the beauty of bike racing as well. As Floyd and Lance have so often stated, find the strongest man and train harder. That's it. That's bike racing. Well, sort of...

Did I mention that Zach is 15? That's right, FIFTEEN. As numers go, he's weighs in a lean, mean 155 and carries a max HR of 220. I found this out when climbing with him and noticed his HR was the exact same as mine. I felt like a rock star until he told me his max. That put him one full training zone below me and put me one zone below depression.

Race Day
Arriving exactly at the same time, ZP (pronounced ZIP) and I warmed up on the course. While doing so, I dreamingly stated to Zach that should we get lucky enough to break, we needed to adhere to 30 second pulls for each other. He whole heartedly agreed. Of course this was coming from a v12 aerobic engine who could hold up his end of the deal. (you might be getting a sense of where this is going)

It was a 4/5 race with the same cast of characters from the last. 64 to start and 59 to finish. The course was just about as good as it gets. Quick descent from the start with rollers through wooded valleys until the short, snotty 500 footer smacked you like a jilted lover which rounded out the 6.5mi lap.

ZIP and I hammered the first lap to find ourselves leading on the backside. With the wisdom of a Cat 1 he leaned over and imparted: "let's back it off" Concur I did and allowed the peloton to swallow us. In doing so we maintained top 15-20 the balance of the next 2 laps...

With the final lap approaching I actually found myself doing something that I will never do again: Questioning if ZIP could pull up from behind me to start to close on the leaders. What happened next is what I call....

The Defining Moment
With the grace of a dolphin and the agression of a hammerhead shark, ZIP slid up the right side of the peloton to the top five within a minute or 400 heartbeats as it seemed then. It was then that he pounded out his pistons on the final climb to actually control the field and set up the final sprint. Only seconds later did he find himself vying for top five to actually pull in a 3rd place finish. Truly incredible, truly defining.

Yours truly? 34th. I would never claim a proud moment with 34th but I will say this: Each race gets better and each race teaches me one thing. It's that one thing that forces me to come back each time. Just to see. Just to try. And maybe, just maybe get that break that ZIP and I have been training for.

The Future
ZIP and I have a few more races together this season but that isn't the real story here. The real story is that I am but a temporary stop for the up and coming star. While I'm no Jimmy the Greek (thank God), I have been known to make a couple of solid predictions.

Mine for ZIP is that with proper coaching, guidance and keeping the cool head he currently possesses, we'll be hearing more about Zach Putt over the next 7-10 years. I know, I know. It's a long road from good 4/5 races to Nike endorsements but I know this: When you witness talent like this, you can't help but to wonder and have a hint of excitement.

Until then, I'll be the fatherly domestique. I am 17 years older after all and I had the oh, so flattering fortune of another racer asking if we were a father and son team. Am I becoming one of the old dogs??? OY VEY!!!

Go American Soccer and Cycling.

Cheers.

4 comments:

Ride on Rider said...

awesome pic 53rd!!

and great to hear the inside scoop on actual racing

53rd Tooth said...

Thanks Rider.

Just got word this morning that Zach finished 7th yesterday in a 4/5 race with a field of 71.

Apparently he stayed safe amidst two really bad crashes requiring EMT's and guys getting hauled off to the ER. That, unfortunately, is the bad inside scoop of amateur racing.

If you can stay upright, there's nothing else like it.

Donn Putt said...

I'm Zach's uncle and a former (and I use the term loosely) racer. I obviously get a great deal of pleasure seeing this kid perform like he has at his age. I know his mom and dad are as proud as can be. I'm real curious to see how he does at cross-county this fall. Oh to be 15 again.

Tour of '03 said...

Nice picture!