I sing in the choir of my church, an act which sets my standards a step lower than Groucho Marx, who famously refused “to belong to any club which would accept me as a member.”  I have sung in that choir for about 20 years, but I can count on the thumbs of one hand the number of times that the singer sitting next to me in rehearsal was wearing full cycling kit, from jersey to shoes.

It happened a week ago last Sunday, when Matt, son of one of our best altos, came in to augment our forces in a buildup to the annual Christmas concert.  He was wearing his distinctive outfit because he was leaving from rehearsal to go for a long ride in Loudoun County, the next county west of Fairfax.  I checked out Matt’s cycle, which he had brought into the sanctuary for safe keeping.  It was a slick Specialized cross bike.  You know they cost real money when the cables run inside the tubes.

Matt, it turns out, discovered cycling about a year ago.  He’d always been a runner, coming as he does from a family of athletes, his father a runner of ultramarathons, his mom not only a lawyer but also a track & field coach at a nearby university.  And Matt did pretty well at track.  Then, last year, he found his sport.  He’s generating impressive wattage numbers, maxing at 1000.  He’s already riding for the HPC U19 squad, and last summer won the Mid-Atlantic road race in that category, first getting into the break and then leaving that group behind to win by 3 ½ minutes.  His mom says he’s a rider in the mold of George Hincapie, somebody who can hammer along at an intense rate all day and then kick it in the finishing straight too.  And he’s got Hincapie-like size to go along with that.

Right now he’s riding a serious training regimen weekly, and will be heading for a week of team training camp in Arizona between Christmas and the New Year.  They’re building his custom Madone road bike at Trek even as I write.  Some day I may well be watching a breakaway win on Versus–the Tour of California, the Dauphine, the Tour . . . –saying “I knew him when.”

An exciting prospect!

©Arnold J. Bradford, 2011.

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