Tag Archives: Bryant Young

King of the Mountain and Pawn of the Sprint

I’m tired. The good news is that it is a taper week and this 42 year-old body is going to get some rest! One thing for sure is that it didn’t get much on April 10, 2010.

It started early with my alarm going off at 5 AM. Just before 6 AM Bryant Young and I were loading up his car for the drive up to Rock Hill, South Carolina for the Rock Hill Classic Road Race. I would be racing the Category 4 race and Bryant would race in the 4/5 35+ race.

The Garmin got us there on time. We had the opportunity to leisurely get stuff together and to warm-up. Turns out Bryant had even more time as they split his field and put him at a start time more than an hour later than his original time.

My field, which also included the 50+ Masters racers, left right on time at 9:45 AM. Unfortunately, the musketeer who was supposed to fire his black powder gun to start our race misfired… twice. Finally, Chad Andrews, who was calling the race, said “BANG!!” and we rolled off.

My teammates Billy White (Cat. 4) and Randy McCreight (50+) rolled off with the field. From that point until about mid-way through the race, there isn’t much to report. The terrain was rolling and initially there weren’t that many turns we had to make. I was simply sitting in and taking it easy in anticipation of an attack by some of the 50+ Masters guys.

Then we started to approach the King of the Mountain zone. I was about 15 back at that time. When looking at Google Street View, I picked the location. Now that we were out on the road, I wasn’t so sure. Once I thought we had passed it. Ahhh, there was a 1K to go sign.

Two 50+ riders had a slight gap going up to the top. I put it in my “climbing Paris Mountain” gear and settled into a steady pace. Before long, I was at the front. Then I was going off the front. It wasn’t really an acceleration. It was just that no one was coming with me. Then I passed the two riders leading and crossed the KOM with a gap of about 20 yards. It was rather anti-climatic.

Once over the hump, I grew concerned. What if someone launched an attack while I was still recovering? Things did speed up, but not enough to cause much trouble. Before long, I was fully recovered and actually feeling better than before the KOM. Maybe I just needed to get my legs warmed up with a good climb.

We all settled in for a bit, but then Dave LeDuc went off the front and got a pretty good gap. Then Chris Calder went after him. Basically, no one wanted to go after LeDuc and we figured if Chris was man enough to go after him, he would have to be man enough to STAY with him!

I’ll hand it to Chris. The junior racer stayed up there much longer than we anticipated. I was impressed. However, we did reel him in after he dropped back from the elder pro.

I spent some time at and on the front at this time. The idea was to make sure that I was there should any break begin that I wanted to be a part of. I also wanted to be near the front as we made the final turns of the day. It did wear me down a bit and I had to back off to recover some before the final push.

It was then that we entered a section of the course where there were two quick right-left turns relatively close to each other. We had captured LeDuc by this time and field was all together. It was in the final fourth of the race and people were starting to get tired — but also antsy and faster. It is a dangerous combination.

In the first section I made the first right-hand turn and was setting up for the left when I heard people yelling. Looking into the next turn I could see a rider sitting on the asphalt with his bike. Off of the right side of the road was another rider who overshot the turn. Whew! Billy and I made it through that one okay!

Before you knew it we were back into another one. I was right on Billy’s wheel as we made the right turn. I recall thinking how synchronized it all looked as we were leaning to the right. Suddenly, the rider beside Billy got out of shape and bumped my teammate. The way he wobbled, I thought he was going to slide tackle Billy.

That would be bad enough except when Billy slowed, I came on his outside. Billy had to correct which sent him straight and I had to react as well. We straightened out together and then leaned hard right to get back in line for taking the left-hander. My heart was in my throat as we managed to make it through unscathed.

Then it was just a matter of being in the right position for the right-hand turn into the finishing straight. It is about a 2K distance from the turn to the line. I wanted to be in the first ten around that turn. Then the goal was to lead Billy and Randy to the front if possible and get as many of us in the top 10 as possible.

The turn found me about 15 or so back. I was blocked on the right side of the field. The pack was so thick, I knew I wouldn’t be able to work over to the left side for when the yellow line rule was pulled giving us the whole road. The move was going to have to happen down the white line.

Really only one rider was keeping me from making the move. As the field begin to surge to the left of me, I began to have that feeling of panic that things were getting away from me. Finally, I gave up waiting for the perfect hole and muscled my way along the sandy and rutted line to get around the blocking rider. Now, I saw an opening to move toward  front.

Problem is, it turns out I got there a little too soon. Suddenly I was on the front with about 500 meters to go. I knew I wanted to wait until around 200 meters to go. I saw a rider to my right attack and by that time we were just outside the 200 meter line.

I launched with him and we drag raced down toward the finish. Then he started inching ahead. Then he was moving in front of me. I was spinning away, but not gaining… just losing ground slowly. It hit me that I was not going to win… again after coming so close.

I sagged. Then I saw him ease. I picked up the pace, but he reacted and held the gap. Then another rider took advantage of my momentary lapse of fight and moved past me. I tried to hold him off, but it was too late. My disappointment at not getting the win led to me not getting second either. NEVER EVER QUIT ON A SPRINT AGAIN!

Photo by Eddie Helton

Bryant started after we finished our race. He rode strong for the first half of the race and then got caught out after an acceleration from a turn. After that he was left to finish the ride pretty much alone. Then he bonked. It was the first time ever for him. Two and a half hours later he rolled into the finish.

I really try to see Bryant as just a regular guy riding his bike. However, every time he does something like this, I am just amazed. It was fun and inspiring spending the day with him.

Overall, it wasn’t so bad. I won enough money to pay for the registration and some food for Bryant and me. Even the third place – with the it-doesn’t-count-for-anything KOM seems better the farther I get away from it. Besides… now it is time to start planning for the next race!

Funk does not equal flunk

Saw a Twitter entry from my friend Bryant Young. He has been training hard over the winter in preparation for the upcoming season. He has some lofty goals and has been working hard to meet them. Like me, he is a busy man – actually busier! Trying to stay on the bike and still perform in all the other areas of our lives can be a challenge.

Anyone out there ever fell into the “funk” relating to getting ready for a new season? I would be interested in knowing how you handle it?

Well, Bryant, I was hoping you could tell me! It seems like as soon as the 2010 race calendar landed on my desk I started to feel the funk. Ironically, it is that feeling that the season will never get here that seems to cause the lethargy — even though it is as close as it has ever been.

Of course, Bryant (like myself) has recently battled a sickness. I think that always has the potential to mess with your mind as I mentioned earlier this week. I think part of starting to get out of the funk in our cases is working to get back as healthy as possible. It is amazing what the feeling of strength can do to help you back to a positive attitude. You just have to recall to mind how you know you can feel and focus on that positive expectation.

How do I plan to battle the funk? Other than working to get back to full health, I plan to focus on today. For me the funk comes because I am thinking too much about the future. I start wondering how I’m going to make it all happen! In a moment’s thought the entire rest of my training season and the race schedule piles on my head. Of course, that all happens in the context of all the other facets of my life. It can be overwhelming!

I am told over and over — “Trust in the plan.” Bryant and I share the same coach and he keeps reminding me that his job is to worry about the schedule and making sure I’m where I need to be. Let him do his job and I just need to find the time TODAY to follow the plan. When I get on the bike TODAY, I need to do it with the joy that I know it can bring. I’ll do what I need to do tomorrow when it gets here.

Before I know it, the season will be here and I’ll be exactly where Jim said I would be. If I’m there, then I know it is going to be a great year! Remind yourself, Bryant, that all this will be worth it then.

Beat the funk?  Don’t worry about tomorrow. Focus on today – there is enough to think about right now!

“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Good luck, Bryant!

Remember the joy of “just riding”

I have a confession to make.  My bike sat in the basement from Monday to this Saturday morning.  Actually, I didn’t even know where it was.  Was it in the basement or was it still in the back of the Suburban?

Thankfully the beautiful redhead was watching out for me and had moved the bike out of the truck to its spot downstairs.  I crawled out of bed with just enough time to wake up a bit and then go look at the Giant that was waiting for me in the darkness of the unfinished portion of basement.

It was unchanged.  I looked at it for a bit.  Did I really want to go out there?  Unlike a dog, the bike couldn’t wag its tail and act excited.  The desire to get back on that thing had to come from within me.  I’d like to say that at that moment the desire washed over me.  Nope.  What made me get on the bike was the realization that the guys were going to be waiting for me and I would soon be late.

My Saturday morning ride

My Saturday morning ride

It was the Sunshine Cycle Shop’s Hour of Power ride that I was leaving for.  Almost immediately after getting in the group I started to feel better.  Group riding isn’t just about how “I” feel – it is really like an organism.  Sometimes you can receive strength and encouragement from those around you.  Yes, on the flip side, it can also be a drain.  However, with these guys it is always good.

There is plenty of time for socializing as we ride easy during the “neutral” sections.  However, as we neared the first sprint of the day, John talked to Luis and me about the upcoming effort.  “Let’s do this like a race.  One of us go for it and the others cover any moves that come.”  Tony was nearby and I got the impression he figured something was up with those POA kits grouping together like that.

Sure enough he went uncharacteristically early.  Luis went with him.  “Oh good,” I thought.  “I don’t have to work on this one.”  John and I sat back to let Luis go man-on-man with Tony.  Just for good measure I did a short sprint to see how the legs would do.  Hmmmmm, not bad – at less than 100% I put out 1100+ watts.

Tony held off Luis at that point.  I determined he wasn’t going to get the next one.  That one would be the quarry road.  We made the left turn out of a pace line and then headed toward the base of the climb.  Bryant had taken the lead so he could get a head start up the climb.  I drafted off of him – he just never ceases to amaze me.

As the road kicked up, Web moved to the front and I sat on his wheel.  Earlier I told John I would try to stretch out the field and let him conserve for a final sprint at the top.  However, I had enough of a lead that as I went around a right hand bend that would obscure me from their view, I attacked in hopes that I could get a lead before they realized what happened.

Sure enough as I topped the false flat and made the left hand turn toward the uphill finish, I could not see anyone behind me.  I eased up to rest.  My heart rate was knocking on 180 bpm at this point and there was no need to make things worse.

I looked back again and here they came with Tony at the lead.  I picked up the pace just slightly.  There was a full on field sprint coming behind me!  I tried to time it so that I could go as slow as I could and still make it before the group.  As I was passing the finish, John came out of nowhere to take second.

The State Park finish was fun as usual.  Tony and I had another battle on that one.  It was one of the funnest of the day for me as it was neck and neck to the finish.  Mt. Mitchell hadn’t taken the kick out of my legs and I was able to barely hold Tony off.

Nature Trail has always been a climb I hate.  However, I’m finding that it is coming to me.  I started near the end of the group today and still managed to work my way up to finish 1-2-3 with John and Luis.  I’m starting to enjoy that little stretch of road.

At the top most of the guys headed toward the shop, but John and I headed toward Paris Mountain.  He was on his way home and I was enjoying riding so much that I didn’t want to call it a day quite yet.  We talked as we climbed Altamont and then separated as we neared his home on the way to Travelers Rest.

I went on to TR and stopped at Leopard Forest Coffee Shop.  It was nice to sit for a bit with a muffin and coffee checking my Twitter and e-mail (have I mentioned that I am LOVING my new iPhone?) before heading back home.

I hopped on the Swamp Rabbit Trail right there and started home.  I wanted to see how far I could go.  The trail went quite a ways out of TR, through the back of the Furman campus, and then finally to section where they said not to enter.

At that point I wasn’t sure where I was.  I turned in the general direction of Greenville and started pedaling.  This led me to Berea.  Things seemed a little more familiar as I continued until I got to Highway 25.  This was a section of Greenville I don’t frequent every often.

At long last I came upon a sign telling me that Greenville was only 3 miles away if I would just take a turn.  Otherwise, I would end up in Easley.  I made the turn and after a solid 3 hours on the bike I arrived at home after 53 miles.  I didn’t see that coming while I was looking at the Giant in the basement this morning!

Sometimes it just pays to get on your bike and ride.  No big event.  No big goal to train for.  Just ride.

This amputee inspires and innovates on his bike

Saturday afternoon I was enjoying my first ride back on the bike since my surgery.  It was raining just a bit.  However, I was so antsy to get back on the road, I just had to get out for an hour or so.  It turned out to be a good and inspiring ride.

I headed down to Cleveland Park just to do some laps.  My finger felt great at first, but by the time I finished it was pretty sore.  The pain seemed to come more from the cold.  My altered gloves I made to help protect the pinkie seemed to work great, so there was no real stress on the finger.

Of course, I couldn’t just ride around.  The first 30 minutes were actually quite hard.  My legs felt awful.  Finally, I just decided to blow out the crud!  So on two laps I launched up the Woodland Circle climb.  I got two 10 second peaks on those laps over 1000 watts.  Shortly after my legs started feeling more supple and I made it home feeling great.

As I was finishing up, I came behind two riders.  One of them was Bryant Young.  Bryant leaves on the other side of my block.  He is a cyclist.  The only thing different is that Bryant wears a prosthesis.

That fact is never anything to hold him back. I could go into the history of what has brought Bryant to this day, but I’ll let you do that at his Web site.  What I was interested in last night was Bryant’s new crank arm.

Crank adapter for prosthesis

Crank adapter for prosthesis

The above photo shows the crank arm that he has been using.  There are certain rules about how long a crank arm can be when you are competing in paralympics, etc.  On the other hand, you don’t want the crank arm to be too long or it throws the leg around hurting balance.  No, the rider gets no assist from the prosthesis.  Go ahead, try pedaling your bike around Cleveland Park with one leg — or climbing Alamont Road! Bryant’s done it.

New crank arm by Ed Johnson

New crank arm by Ed Johnson

Enter Ed Johnson.  Ed is a machinist extraordinaire. Basically, if you can think it, he can make it.  Ed is also a cyclist.  Bryant and Ed met through Sunshine Cycle Shop. In discussions about the limitations of his old crank system, it was decided to have Ed machine Bryant a new crank arm specifically measured to stay within the guidelines and yet give Bryant the best positioning.  As you can see in the above picture, he did a beautiful job!

I followed Bryant for about half a lap before he headed home.  By the way, he was out there riding after having competed that morning in the Greenville Spring Training Series at Fork Shoals.  You should have seen the smile on his face out there in the rain!  You can tell he loves the sport!

Bryant is out there competing with all the other cyclists in the Greenville area. His goal is to move from training with these guys to participating in some disabled sports races.  Knowing Bryant, he’ll be there… along with his new crank arm.

You can read more about Bryant’s adventures at his Web site: bryantyoung.com. We’ll keep an eye on him here at Low Cadence as well. Thanks for the ride, Bryant!


Bryant Young – You may recall I mentioned Bryant’s trip across South Carolina. The man is still not back in the saddle because of the saddle rot he acquired during the ride. I saw him last night and he said we was going to try to start easing back this weekend. Wow, I hope that never happens to me!

Ride for Mike – I got an update on Mike yesterday. He is extremely week. They have continued to give him Avastin and CPT-11. With the last MRI, it appeared that the tumor might be shrinking somewhat. They are waiting for confirmation from the primary doctor. Right now are taking off the chemo in order to allow him to gather strength for another round.

Please, pray for Mike. I’ll keep giving updates as I receive them. Please consider supporting my Ride for Mike 2007.

Cycling – I’ve started a group in Facebook called, “I love cycling in Upstate SC.” If you have a Facebook account and you really do love cycling in Upstate SC, come and join us!

Here is my favorite sight in Greenville when it comes to cycling. Can you guess where this is?

Know where this is? Leave a comment.

Last night I did a ride of Paris Mountain to judge my time there and back. I made the ride in 1:20. I’m not sure what my goal will be. Probably would be best to do several rides to get an average and then set a goal for gaining on that time.


No riding since Thursday. I took my Allez into the shop for a tune-up knowing that I was going to be out of town for the weekend. It should be all fixed up today. Hope to get back in the saddle tonight.

Speaking of saddles. I talked with Bryant Young last night (he is the guy who rode across SC last week) and he was telling me that he ended up with “saddle rot” — no not just saddle sores, but saddle rot. Frankly, I don’t even want to think about it.

He made the mistake of trying some new shorts just for trip. I guess it is true what I have heard, when you go to do a long ride don’t change anything. The smallest change in routine can throw you off mentally. The smallest change in equipment can lead to a break down — or in this case — saddle rot.

Great job, Bryant! Check out this recent story about his ride. Now on to the next challenge…

Speaking of riding for a cause

I want to take a moment to mention a neighbor of mine. Bryant Young should be rolling into Charleston tomorrow after biking 325 miles from his home in Greenville. He has made it in five days. What would that be? 65 miles a day?

Oh, I forgot, he only has one leg.

You can read more about his trek here, or you can visit his Web site bryantyoung.com. I was supposed to have trained with him a little before he set out, but the last time I talked with him was the day before I ended up off the bike for more than two weeks due to sickness and schedule.

I’m glad to see he is making it!