Results on a stick

For years I’ve driven by the Vrooman Road exit off I-90. I always thought it sounded as if there should be a drag strip off that exit. You know, Vroom-man Road.

Actually there is sort of a drag strip off that exit.

Thursdays at 6:30PM during the summer months, Jim Behrens hosts a low-key time trial starting at the Leroy Township fire station. Jim shows up at around 6:20, and if there are guys there, the race is on. Otherwise he drives home.

Most people ride to the race. Some show up with full-on time trial bikes and aero gear (that would be me). There are some with clip-on aero bars or triathlon bikes. And there are some who show up and ride Eddy Merckx-style on their normal road bikes.

Depending on who shows, Jim may decide on the start order. It’s training, and there’s no sense in ruining someone’s morale by getting passed. (But then again, sometimes the fear of getting passed is a good motivator). Or he may have you draw for a starting place by picking from the bunch of popsicle sticks he holds out.

Jim holds your bike while you clip into the pedals, and then lets you go at 1 minute after the previous rider. After everyone has started, he walks to the other side of the road and waits to record the finishing times.

The course is just under 4 miles out to a turnaround marked by an ‘x’ in the road, and then back again to the fire station. No marshals. You have to watch for cars behind you when you make the turn.

There is no prize money. No medals. But no entry fee either. Just bragging rights. And your time recorded on the popsicle stick that you drew for your start time. Everyone who’s heard about the results-on-a-stick thinks it’s a pretty cool idea.

I think it’s cool, period, that Jim puts this race on. These little grass-roots events, like our local Tuesday night training race, are what keep bike racing living and breathing. Without them, many of us would just be doing the club ride to the coffee shop.

The conditions were perfect on July 10: 82 degrees, not too humid, only a light breeze. I brought out the disc wheel, shoe covers, aero helmet, skinsuit. I thought I had a chance to at least get close to the course record, if I was willing to suffer a bit. I suffered enough:

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15 Comments

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15 responses to “Results on a stick

  1. Awesome Job! After hearing about your and Ray’s success, as well as results from TLE, I know now that I’ve got to give TT a try. I’ll be racing in circles out at Lorain tonight, but I’ll plan on Leroy next Thurs. Is it rain or shine?

    -gb

  2. ray

    I hadnt made it to Matt Weeks 16:45 last year and now youve dropped it to 16;30…oh my oh my will I have to dig deep now.

    Great job as always ole team mate of mine.

  3. ray

    OH, just fyi here are the 5 fastest times as best as I know. but dont let this discourage anyone from coming out. Its not about beating someone elses times always. Its about training and testing yourself. Tom Humphrey (Team Spin) has a beautiful way of describing TT’s. I’ll have to ask him to post it.

    16:30 Batke
    16:45 Weeks
    16:52 Huang
    16:53 Sroka
    16:57 Batke

  4. Brian

    I’m not sure if it’s always rain or shine. I’d have to ask Jim. I think he’ll show up to see if someone’s there. A few weeks ago, I think it did rain and people were there (though I think it was off & on rain, not a big soaker)

  5. Nice job Brian! Thats an awesome time and you got it by :15sec over my man Weeks!

  6. The last time I saw such impressive results on a stick was a little less than nine months before my younger daughter’s birth.

    – JN

  7. Brian

    to Rudy&Robert: I managed to shave off another 3 seconds last Thursday, so tell Matt he’s got a target to shoot at!

    to jimmynick: well, in the scheme of things, your results on a stick are way more important.

  8. Jim

    Brian,
    I found the blog and enjoyed reading about the grass-roots racing out here.
    Just so everyone knows, Brian went 16:13 tonight so the course record is moving everytime he shows up.
    For those that are interested (and asked about it), the TT is every week on Thursday at 6:30 sharp. Show up in plenty of time if you like long warm-ups. BTW, it is rain or shine. On the rare occasions that I have a scheduling conflict, I always get someone to take my place.

  9. Brian

    Jim,
    I think I’ll have a hard time topping last night’s time. That’s what racing 5 days straight at Superweek will do for you.

    Thanks again for putting the race on!

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  12. Jim

    Glad we can help! That IS the idea.

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