It’s Saturday. The alarm rings at 6:00a on the dot. I hit snooze button once, maybe twice and by the time I roll out of bed, there is enough time to brush my teeth, air my tires and scarf some sort of breakfast as I pedal out the door.
“This ride was supposed to be Zone 2 ONLY!” I curse at myself, pedaling as fast as my sleepy legs will take me. Of course, I hit every light and each time I have to stop, I wipe the sweat off my brow and continue stamping on the pedals as if I was trying to take the hole shot at a World Cup.
“The group is there, I can see them!! Shit! They’re picking up the pace!”
Shortcut! Finally tagged on to the tail end of the group I can breathe a sigh of relief that I made it.
The numbers of times I’ve started my weekend rides like this have become too many to count. And no matter how many times it happens, I can’t seem to get myself out the door quick enough or early enough. It’s not as if I’m a night owl or anything. I actually enjoy waking up early to start my day. But when it comes to riding, I am a firm believer that some things should not be rushed.
Enter the concept of “Pro Time”.
For those of you reading who are familiar with Pro Time (PT) or have heard my stance on the matter, skip ahead. For those of you who have never heard of this concept, allow me to learn you something.
I, myself, first learned of PT back in 2013. I was living in Charlottesville, Virginia and made plans to go ride with my friend (and now coach) Curtis Winsor. Curtis was just coming off a year of racing with Mountain Khakis and I was super stoked to be riding with one of the many pros that call the Charlottesville area home. I’ll admit, I was even a bit nervous as I had never ridden with someone who was a professional cyclist before. I hurriedly packed my things in the car and kitted up. I even missed the last bit of the Tour stage to ensure that I made it to Curtis’ house with enough time to spare. As I pulled into the driveway (just 5 minutes before our planned departure), Curtis came strolling out the front door in his pajamas, cup of coffee in hand. He nonchalantly walked me in the house and we chatted for the next 30-45 minutes with a distinct lack of consideration for the agreed upon ride time. As ole “Gone with the Windsor” would later inform me, we were running on Pro Time.
Pro Time is akin to “Island Time”. It may be seen as laziness or lack of preparedness, but PT embraces the cycling culture the way it should be and exist in the cycling community. It is a demonstration of the camaraderie, the shared experience that is the group ride. It is the spirit of cycling.
It’s a time to chitchat, to bullshit, to discuss the latest news, to fuel up, or talk about the day’s route. Pro Time provides a means to connect with your riding buddies, and whether in the comfort of your own home or en rendezvous at your favorite coffee shop, PT should be a fixture in every cyclist’s weekend plans.
There is no need to rush. There is no need to hurry. The roads aren’t going to roll up any time soon and, with a little planning, there will be plenty of time in the day to accomplish the weekend’s chores. And though cycling is serious business (perhaps too serious for some), there is a time and a place for such gravity. The weekend training ride is not one of those times.
So rather than stress ourselves out trying to make the ride and begin the day in a rush, let’s all take a step back and set our clocks to Pro Time this weekend.
See you at the coffee shop!