Can’t catch a brake

In the 2003 Tour de France, on the Alpe d’Huez stage, Lance Armstrong blamed his less-than-stellar performance in part on his rear brake rubbing for the first 200km. I remember a lot of people making fun of him over that. Hold that thought.

I’m riding in this week’s Westlake training race, and I’m thinking, “damn, this seems really hard.” We’re going fast, but not insane-fast. Every turn I notice that I’m having to close a gap. As the race is winding down, I’m literally struggling to hang on. I’m thinking, this is really a bad sign: can I really be in that much of a training hole that I can’t hang on here?

I pull off to get water by the baseball fields, and realize my bike isn’t coasting well. I get off and see that my rear brake is jammed against the rim. I try to spin the wheel. It won’t even go around once before the brake stops it.

So I’m wondering how many extra watts I had to put out just to overcome the brake.

And I’m sorry for making fun of Lance 7 years ago.



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2 responses to “Can’t catch a brake

  1. Dave

    I know how you feel. I had the same problem in Gladden’s 200 mile challenge a couple of years back. Assembled the bike in the dark at 5:30 in the morning. Felt terrible for the first 40 miles as a bounced between zones 4 and 5. I thought the pace was pretty quick until the sun came up and I read the computer. We weren’t going that fast! I was ready to bail at the first stop and on a whim I spun the wheels. As soon as I let go of the wheel, it stopped dead! Felt like a new bike once it was adjusted, but by then the damage was done, by the 170 mile mark my legs were gone. The last 30 miles were agony.

  2. Lance

    Please don’t mock me, instead express your support at

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