Those elusve “good legs”

I first learned of this phrase a few years ago in a Days Inn lobby in McMinnville, TN. My first race on the Papa John’s team-as a “guest rider.” On the drive down, Steve and Bill told me that when I walked in and met Tim, he would say : “I think I have good legs.”

Sure enough, on cue, within seconds of approaching Tim we say, “Hi Tim.” He says softly as not to jinx himself, “hey guys, you know, I think I have good legs.” At this point in my cycling life, I am still mostly a “normal” person and have no notion of what he is talking about.

Here’s Tim. A genuine nice guy. My friend and teammate…

5 years later, the evolution into a goofy bike racer is complete. I roll in from the Wed CX ride and Staci asks, “how was the ride?” I answer, “had good legs”

What is this gibberish about?

It’s the sensation of being able to deal with the tension of the pedals. Push harder and it feels good. The breathing is unlabored and full. The hips rock smoothly. Even though the pedals go in circles it is as though you are on the top of the pedals. Do you know that feeling? If not, get a bike and ride.

Good legs in CX: The whistle blows, click in, sprint, and get through the first sweeper. Than, in the next open grassy area if those “good legs” are there, you push hard and the tension propels you forward. Yep, you are in the select group. Some weeks it is there and other weeks, you are thinking, man, this is so hard, how are those guys up there cracking it so hard. A mystery.

We all train about the same each week. It is shocking and sometimes depressing how similar the pattern is each week, but yet, the sensations vary so much. It is not mental. I have tried to will myself to have good legs. Doesn’t work. What is it? The sports drink, the bar, the dinner the night before. Unknowable.

As a runner, it was possible to predict 10k times within seconds. When you run repeat quarters, 800s and miles racing gets so predictable. Yes, we really did that stuff. “Stupid is as stupid does.” Not so in cycling. Cycling is more a mystery. Good sensations depend on a delicate balance between proper rest, proper training, good nutrition, sleep and some other “mystery juice.” Getting the formula just right is the challenge.

Good health for family, good vibes with Staci, a grin form Cat or Will, a good day in the EP lab and then having those “good legs” sensation top my happiness list.

Here’s to “good legs.”

Ride on.

JMM

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