Monday, April 13, 2009

Eh! Get Your Knees In

Photo courtesy of Jeffery Jakucyk Photography

“Eh.  Joe.  Git yer knees in,” OB would say.  “What the F is he saying,” I would think as the Wednesday night racer ride was rolling down Benning Road at north of 27mph.  “Huh?”  “You’re knees are stickin’ out.  Get ‘em in.  Like this,” he gestured as his knees grazed his top tube. I’d do it for a few pedal strokes but would lose form as soon as the next attack went up the road.

OB, arguably the most accomplished masters aged pro in Cincinnati, would drive people nuts on group rides.  At the time, OB raced for Torelli.  Atop his latest Landshark bike, he’d point out my knees.  He’d point out if someone else’s bar drops weren’t level with the ground.  He’d scold riders for attacking in dumb places.  He would annoyingly start his tips off with a nasal sounding, “eh.”  He got under some peoples skin.  Those guys would brush him off.  Those guys didn’t know better.

The thing about OB was that he genuinely wanted to help people race better.  He didn’t waste his breath on most people.  When OB gave you a pointer, it meant he saw some promise in you.  He was saying eh, welcome to the front, eh now it’s time to look like you should be here, and eh here’s a tip to get even faster.

He went so far as to email me a picture of European U-23 pro’s in a perfect echelon with their knees a hairs width from their top tubes.  A note read something like, “in Europe they learn at an early age.” 

On the trainer, on group rides, at cyclocross practice, in the trails, for the last 2-3 years his voice permeated my brain, “eh, git yer knees in.”  After about a year, I had my knees in, but they would drift wide like an old man riding on the bike path when I got too waxed and lost focus on form. 

Today, OB, the above photo is for you.  It’s me (pictured in middle) at Saturday’s race.  As you can see I am totally on the rivet.  My mouth is open taking in air like a hood scoop on a Camaro.  I can barely see straight.  My hands are in the drops.  My back is relatively flat.  My knees are in.  I made all the pack splits.  Thanks OB.

1 comment:

James Billiter said...

Did OB every say anything about smiling? What if that's my poker face?

My knees look okay, but the abs could use some work.