I guess I’m an okay climber. Certainly nowhere (remotely) near great. But not terrible, either. Barring very rare days when the moons enigmatically align, you’ll find me inconspicuously tucked somewhere in the middle of the bunch and Strava leader boards. It’s a similar story with my sprinting, descending and general bike handling.
So, it was with full acceptance of my two-wheeled averageness that I found myself tapping up a moderately challenging 4km climb earlier this week, wondering what type of handicap would be necessary to make a run-of-the-mill amateur like me competitive with the world’s best riders on this type of terrain?
Clearly a head start could help. But only if it was an almighty one. What about technology, then? For example, what if a pro was forced to ride a fixie? Perhaps that would slow them down enough to make a game of it, mano a mano? Then again, maybe it would simply deepen the embarrassment. How about putting them on a BMX in sneakers? That may well do the trick, especially if it’s a rickety old rust bucket.
It’s fun to think about just how much better the top guys really are than the average recreational lycra warrior; and would make a pretty interesting experiment to find out, don’t you think?
Now if I could just convince a pro to do it 😉
If, like me, you’re interested in these kind of hypothetical but largely useless comparisons, it’s well worth reading the following piece by Ken Taylor, a Research Scientist with the CSIRO, published after the 2013 Tour Down Under.