2011 Turkey Roll Bike Rally Review

I really wanted to call this review, “2 Minutes”, because when I look back at the 3 hours of the overall ride, there was one, single, two-minute segment that made the ride. It reminds me that with all the riding and training we experience and enjoy, that it’s frequently one moment, be it 8 seconds here, or half a minute there, which defines the rally or ride or race for yourself, and everyone else involved.

The 2011 Turkey Roll was held on a mild but windy day, and I guess it had been two years since I had last participated, because the venue had changed from the Fair Grounds to a Catholic Church parking lot, making departure to the traditional 100K route a little more neutral and controlled. Once we hit FM 428, however, we were working on a broad, smooth shoulder with a 20mph tailwind. Several of the better riders were in attendance, and we took longer, but equal pulls for the first 8 miles. However, it was right after the turnoff at mile 8, on to FM 2153, that the defining moments of the rally were established and set in my memory.

The turn North meant that what had been our helpful tailwind was now a brutal, steady, left-front crosswind. The road, which had been wide and with a shoulder, was now narrow, pitted from heavy use, heavy with chip-seal, and had zero shoulder. This is where experience, knowledge of the course, position, and honestly, wheel selection, made a huge difference.

I immediately went in to the red zone when I came to the front and put in what must have been a 450-watt effort for one-minute, riding perfectly in the left wheel-well. There was space for about four riders to ride off my right hip, but anyone else would be forced to either ride along the white line, or attempt to form up on a second echelon. Matt Stephens, Colnago Chris, Chris Powers and myself all took equally good turns in rotation, but at roughly the 10.5 mile mark, I went to the front for my turn, and between the four of us, we put in a solid 2- to – 5 minute effort above 25mph and between 356 and 320w that, when we made the short hop onto Running Bear road, then on to FM 455, well, there was absolutely no one behind us. And by that I mean NO ONE.

We went on to ride at very solid, very high paces, talking, drinking our bottles, pushing but not too hard, for about 2 hours. Finally, at about mile 45 or so, Matt, Chris Powers and I unfortunately lost Colnago Chris, and we would not see him again until the finish. By mile 60, the three survivors had declared détente, and we rolled back through the neighborhoods and in to town, finishing in an official 2:53, without the pit stop at mile 40. We later learned that the trailing cyclists, around mile 10, had NOT formed a second echelon, and had instead suffered a crash that broke up the peloton, leaving us as the undisputed leaders whom no one could possibly catch in that wind. No one was seriously injured, but several bikes and wheels were totaled.

If I could summarize the work and the success of the break, I would say that it was those critical 1, 2, and 5 minute efforts, at high cadence, with equipment that was literally built for those types of conditions (aero bike with aero wheels that actually reduce drag or flutter in crosswinds), at high cadence (95-110rpm), at intensities which were well in to the Anaerobic and Vo2max zones, that made the ride. When you look at North Texas rallies and races, and the perpetual wind, it’s THESE efforts that determine success more than any other type of effort. Train this way, do similar intervals, and your chances of looking over your shoulder to see… no one, grow tremendously.


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