What's Cool In Road Cycling

Heidelberg Homie: Training For Training Camp

An early winter dispatch from our Heidelberg Homeboy finds Jered in his final prep before winter training camp, and fully enjoying the local riding in Deutschland, including some climbs of wheelie-defying steepness…

Training For Training Camp
Life is proceeding along now at a very nice clip, a nice rest week has been completed, as well as my first real ergometer test, good fun it was. Don’t get me wrong, it hurt a bit, but it’s really not all that bad, I’d say about 5 minutes really hurt. As far as tests go, I’d say it went pretty decently (I passed, whew), especially considering it’s the end of November, I definitely covered my first goals, so that’s a positive. Now I’m back into the big weeks again, but that’s ok!

It’s all good fun, I’ve got about 4 weeks till the first big camps, so I’d call my next three week block a training camp for the real training camp. My normal weeks of training usually consist of a lot of base work, as well as some tempo and threshold intervals. I also do a lot of different drills like fast pedal, on the bike strength training, etc. — lots of fun things to keep me awake.

The weather has been more than cooperative of late, allowing me to ride very comfortably (ie: with constant feeling in the fingers) in the mountains to the north, something I am very grateful for, as the flat regions to the south are quite dull sometimes.

Size Does Matter
I really cannot say enough about the mountains in this area though, they are fantastic. They might lack a little bit in the length department, but still, the average climb here is probably 3-5 km with about a 7-10 percent grade (with some MUCH steeper than that), plenty enough for training, especially when you put 5-10 of them together.

Today Rolf (my amazing training partner and great friend, who will be introduced at length next time) and I drove to Heilbronn, which is about 100 km southeast of Heidelberg. From there we met a few other people and set out on an amazing 4 hour ride into the mountains. The climbs were much different than I am now accustomed to, these ones were a bit shorter, but steeper as a whole.

Just Like Zabel
One climb had a lovely 2 km section of around 18 percent, ouch. And Rolf, the trooper that he is, did this climb in his 21, he’s a veritable tank on wheels. A perfect day, great legs, great company, can’t get much better than that. Well, Rolf and I were doing lots of little sprints for the town signs having a grand old time like always. On one of the sprints though, we were sprinting up a steep little pitch, I was going “voll gas” as Rolf likes to say, covering the first gap from me being a sorry excuse for a sprinter, when suddenly my left foot unclips, and then milliseconds later the right as well. I know you’ve all seen poor Erik Zabel straddling his bike mid-sprint Stage 7 of the 1999 Tour, yup, that was me. I always watched that sprint and wondered how (a) he stayed upright and (b) how he didn’t burst into tears and writhe on the ground in utter agony. I now have the answers. First, for some reason my bike stayed miraculously straight as I plummeted toward that terrible piece of top tube, and second, somehow I landed on my inner thigh and not the sensitive, important section of my anatomy. Wow. Unfortunately, my booties did not make it out of this little incident very well, I think I left most of the booties on the ground in the mountains near Heilbronn from dragging my feet trying to steady my steed when I hit.

Evil Kneivel Wheelie-Matic: Not!
This comes though just days after another brilliantly executed move. This weekend I was once again riding in the mountains, having a grand old time like always, because I swear, the mountains are for me, as Jack Daniels is for some people. I love riding in the mountains, it’s the best riding on the planet, I feel good, happy, euphoric, etc, all signs of a healthy addiction I’d say. Anyways, so I was goofing around a bit on a 10% grade, trying to pop a wheelie. Note on this topic: I have never in my life, not once, attempted a wheelie. I was having a great time, as I found that it is pretty easy to pop a wheelie on a climb. Just as I thought I was figuring it out, I went that little bit too far, and suddenly gravity reached out, grabbed me from behind and next thing I know I’m looking up at the sky through the branches of the trees, flat on my back. Rolf had quite a laugh over that one, as did I. I only wish someone could have taken a picture of that. As you can see, my training is anything but mundane here; I seem to find numerous ways to stay awake, be it going cyclocross down an embankment into a field because I was playing with my camera, or the more ignoble method of wrecking. Miraculously though I am staying together in one solid piece of bubbling exuberance.

And Then Life As A Student
Ahh sadly life is definitely not all just training, sometimes I attempt to make it that way, but suddenly I find myself in class and the real world slaps me around violently. My classes are a bit, er, on the dry side here. I’m taking a classes in Europeanization, America and Europe in Comparison (politically, socially, etc), and the Political System of Germany. They don’t sound all that bad when I write the names down, but the suffering! It’s so different here, for example: the actual class set-ups. Almost 90% of the class time is taken up by students giving their oral “Referats,” which are about 20% of our grades.

What this leads to though, is a highly qualified teacher sitting to the side trying to appear interested, as poor university students either mumble, speed read, or stutter incoherently (or a combination of all three — all of this is in German, mind you) their way through presentations, leaving me, the audience, drooling and following the second hand round and round and round again. It’s really frustrating though to sit in class and know that my professor has written like 30 books on the topic and all I hear of him is a small cough or a clearing of the throat. It really is ridiculous. I only have classes Tuesday 6-8 pm, and Wednesday/Thursday 9-11 am, that’s all! And yet, these 6 hours of class feel like the last 30 seconds of my ergo test from this weekend. Oh well, I’m learning a bit, especially considering everything we seem to read here is in English, another point of departure for me. I find that really depressing, to put it bluntly. I almost feel bad to read English here, as I am in Germany, and I feel even worse for the students here who are all forced to read English, what of the native tongue? Is there no respect for their own language? It’s even worse though that they have to read these terribly dry English papers, written for the only purpose it seems to cause immense suffering by way of the most complicated, ridiculously written English that I have ever read, and yes, I do read. 🙂 Let’s put this in perspective though, if I was taking a Political Science class in America, about the 2000 General Election, I know I’d be mad if everything I read in that class was in French.

JERED GRUBER


Feel free to email me with any comments or questions, I’d love to hear from you.
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If you are interested in seeing some more of my pictures, go here: https://www.imagestation.com/members/jered311

Gratuitous Sponsor Plug
Thanks to:
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Matt Russ, my most excellent coach, if you’re ever looking for an excellent coach in the Atlanta area or around the world, send him an email:[email protected], or take a look at the website: www.thesportfactory.com.

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