A matter of perspective

In a couple of days I’ll be looking at the results from the UCI (road) World Championship. I’ll look at the time trial results and comment on the amazing speed of guys like Fabian Cancellara.

As fast as they are, I can still understand and fathom their performance being within the realm of possibility. It’s way over my capability, but not *that far*.

I mean, let’s say I won some contest and they let me do the time trial. I would be dead last, but I don’t think my time would be so embarrassingly bad that someone would think I got off the bike and walked.

In contrast, I read about Galen Rupp setting the American 10k (running) record, with a time of 26:48. He ran the last 1600m (about a mile) in 4:11.

I do a little running in the off-season, and am “respectably” fast for someone who’s a. old, b. not a full-time runner. But I simply cannot fathom running that fast for 10k. It just doesn’t seem to be humanly possible. I can’t imagine what it takes to run sub-5:00 for even one mile.

The curious thing about this is that I do just enough running to be completely awed by this performance, while on the other hand look at Cancellara and am certainly impressed but not completely awed. Perspective changes everything.

***

As a side-note, I was talking with someone from Denmark this week. He knew I was a cyclist, and we were talking about how he’s seen so few people on bikes in the U.S. versus Denmark.

Yet … he was completely unaware that the World Championships would be starting in Copenhagen in just a couple of days. Shocking!

Or perhaps not. When we see cyclists in the U.S., they are mostly lycra-clad enthusiasts. Whereas in Denmark, it’s like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FXw_t172BKY

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2 Comments

Filed under cycling, racing, running

2 responses to “A matter of perspective

  1. Jim

    Having been a runner in HS and college, I think I have some perspective on this.
    When I was in college I did a 4:29 indoors and finished LAST in a heat with six guys. I realized how wide the gap was between me and the “best” guys. I was the fifth guy in our area to go under 10 minutes for two miles yet I lost that race (to the fourth guy to do it).
    I compare my likely times with a Cancellara and he might beat me by 3 or 4 miles in a 40K event (maybe more, who knows?) BUT the event is much longer in terms of time and distance. I have no where close to your ability in a TT but I am pretty realistic.
    Guys like this are the best and that is why we look “up” to them. Besides, we are OLD!!! They will get here too and then we can see how they run or ride. Time does that to all of is..

    • Brian

      It was also a revelation (to me) how “big” seconds are in running. Rupp was only 5 seconds behind the winner in that 10k … 1/2 second per km. But it’s a huge gap. If I lost a TT by 5 seconds, I’d say, man that was close. I could make up that time by pacing better, etc.

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