Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Super Freaks

So I'm perusing the latest VeloNews the other night and came across a reference to John Frey's U.S. national record for a 40K TT. It was 47:35 set in Moriarty NM, where most of the national marks have been achieved. I wondered if the record still stands and was thinking that it had to be a venerable mark if it did--Frey and his buddy Kent Bostick were TT terrors back in the 80's.

Several people I asked were sure that someone else must have eclipsed Frey's mark by now, and most thought maybe Dave Zabriskie had it since he so dominated the last national championship and has gone on to demonstrate his TT prowess at the next level across the big pond. But Butthead found the numbers and, sure enough, Frey is still the U.S. TT king, although he set the standing mark late in his career in 1990, which gives him both the overall elite men's record and the record for masters men 30+. And while obviously this is gonna be a tough standard to overcome, in my opinion it pales by comparison to some of the others.

Frey's accomplishment speaks for itself, having stood for almost 16 years. But when he clocked the fastest 40K TT ever turned on American soil, he obviously was in his early 30's. A glance a little deeper down the well and you'll read that in '99 a dude named Scott Hennessy turned in a 40K time of 50:35--for his age group of 50+. In 1997, Scott Tucker rode a 51:56 in the 55+ age group, then two years later, Tucker slowed just slightly to do a 52:42 setting the new standard for men aged 60 and over. Oddly, and almost unbelievably, as at least it seems to me, these marks are way more obtainable than is the one at the bottom of the list. In 2003, the man whose physiology should be studied by scientists the world over, a dude named Jack Pardee pedaled a bicycle 40 kilometers in 57 minutes and six seconds, to set the U.S. national mark for men who are at least 85 years of age.

Talk to me about how fast you are. Why are vitamin companies not beating down the doors of these dudes? And a better question is, how the hell does an 85-year-old dude go that fast for that long? If and when I'm able to make 85, I hope I'll know my name and be able to feed myself. Going three minutes under the hour for 40K? Hell, I know some pretty salty cat two's who would be happy with that.

Another glance at the list give a clue as to the future racing plans of one of the fastest bike racing baby boomers ever--Mr. Kent Bostick. I've raced against Bostick a couple times and let's just say that oddsmakers heavily favored him and that he definetly covered the line, by, like, a lot. Bostick owns every age mark but Frey's (30+), at 35+, 40+, and 45+, that he has attained, and all his times go under 50 minutes, the last being 49:57. So, it'll be interesting if he can continue to go under 50 minutes to take over Hennessy's 50+ mark, which I'm guessing he'll be shooting for very soon. And as for me and my national TT-record aspirations, they stand somewhere between hoping to still be riding a bike and just being alive if ol' Kent is lucky enough to go after the mark set by the true king of all U.S. national time trial riders: Mr. Jack Pardee. Maybe for once I have better odds than Kent Bostick. Later.


Blogger Jef_1_f said...

My name is Jef.

I was John Frey's friend, training partner and for lack of a better word 'soigneur' the day of his record setting. A couple of amazing factors about that ride.

1. It was a less than perfect day. It was a little hotter than it should have been and there were some irregular winds.

2. Kent Bostick was, if I recall correctly, John's 2 or 3 minute rabbit. There were a couple of slower rabbits in between that help 'feed' the hungry time trialist.

3. Kent crossed the line with a 47:49 (could be wrong on that number) so for a few minutes he held the record.

4. John rode a fixed gear (53x13) Columbus max bike outfitted with my Modolo kronos brake that day. When John went to make the turnaround he later joked that he hit the brake and "nothing happened" and that my lightweight aero brake has probably cost him 3-5 seconds. I suspect he's right.

5. After crossing the line I rode even with John grabbing him to prevent a collapse and crashing. He almost did anyway. About five minutes afterwards John had no problem moving around at all. It took him longer to convince him that he had the new record.

5. Both Kent and John were amazing that day. I could be wrong again but I think Kent rode from Abq to the course, rode the course, rode the TT and then rode home that day. To sum up Kent rode 100 miles then rode the 2nd fastest 25 miles ever and then rode 70+ miles. He was and always has been an ANIMAL.

John drove to the course, rode the course, set the record and did a short cool off and then we all went and had "Rally Sliders" ( a cheap greasy Albuquerque fast food hamburger. )

The next day John and I went out for a short recovery ride of 30-40 miles but instead John turned it into an all dayer as we around the mountain which any normal ABQ rider will tell you is a tough ride.

The most amazing thing about John's ride was that when you did the basic math, John had just 'won' the previous 10 years national pursuit titles back to back to back... etc.

As a TTr I looked up to the 10 speed drive boys (Frey, Bostick, Paulin, Shaefor, Resh, etc) way before I rode with them but I could never understand why they would ride a 1:58 and then our coaches would select a group that would turn in a 2:04 or 2:06 after 2-3 months of specialization.

I give myself some credit (not sure if Kent does) for the dozen or so conversations on why don't you guys take up pursuiting because the coaches HAVE to take the fastest guy and there can be no more favortism and bias as the 10 speed and Shaklee guys had used against them.

Some combination of Bostick, Frey and two others would have given the US a World Championship medal in the 100k anytime from 1987 to 1993 and beyond.

Kent eventually pursuited for the US.

I have two more great memories of John and the difference between good and great.

I was a good cyclist, a 52 minute tt'r and a 4:48 putsuiter. With a few more years work I could have been sub 50 and low 4:40s. (I never doped) I had the second highest V0 (not VO2) behind Andy Paulin of all athletes in any discipline ever tested at the OTC (at that time).
I tt'd at 194 bpm and maintained lactic acid at 17mml and higher. I scored the highest on an all OTC USCF long team max output test 2 weeks before the 1988 trials putting out 575 watts for 17 seconds before failure. But I'm not a great cyclist. Not like Frey. Here's why...

It's 1990 NM state championships and I'm doing support for John. The goal today is to get Rod Bush to win the states and some hot national team guy has come down from the springs to what he thinks is "grab some free gold".

It comes down to the last lap and there's a massive steep climb and three guys in the break, John, Rod and the 'hotshot' whoever he is.

It's been 100 miles of hot dry winding riding and it's just these three. People have been dropping out like flies.

As they head up this massive hill for the 4th or 5th time I am watching Rod and hotshot stand and pull on the bars, throwing their weight and force into each pedal stroke, again and again, just to maintain their speed up the hill.

And I'll never forget it...

John is in the back and I notice that he is somehow 'soft pedalling'. He's pointing his toes at the bottom of the stroke and stretching as the other two struggle to make it up the hill. As he rides from the back John looks up in the sky and watches a bird fly from right to left and crooks his neck to take in the entire flight of the bird. I am laughing at this point. If I recall right John's girlfriend and Paul Sery are with me in the car and they're laughing too.

Once over the hill it was pure textbook because John does the rope-a-dope better than Ali. John feigns an attack and hotshot follows so John and Rod have a good idea how much hotshot has left.

At about 300-400 out John does another attack which hotshot grabs with Rod in tow. About 200 to go John feigns exhaustion and leaves hotshot to pull Rod to the line. With 50-70 to go Rod eases around a blown hotshot and being way too cool, John let's hotshot have second because John could have easily picked a line 20 ft to the left that let Rod win and let John take 2nd.

But when you have a box full of national gold medals, a silver or bronze in the state doesn't really matter.

There was this other time that we went up the paved side of the mountain and were now descending and a small rain broke out (you know just wet enough to make the streets really slick)

The pack starts slowing down to prevent crashing and John seperates himself from the crowd by putting it in the big ring and pedalling off at about 1120 rpm.

The rest of us braking the whole way down and soft pedaling. It wasn't 2 180's before John had disappeared and a dozen cat 1 and 2s were left feeling like pussys.

I won't name names but there were a lot of nat class, nat team guys on that ride and John made everyone of us look bad.

John was amazing then and still is 16 years later.

(Don't forget, John also holds every amateur velodrome record on the books over 5k and always will since I think they no longer track these.)

1:06 PM  
Blogger James said...

Hey Jef, this is JimmyMc. I just read your comment, and it was interesting as hell. Thanks.

4:18 PM  

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