There is a reason most of us will never get paid to ride bikes. It takes incredible commitment and dedication just to get a common pro license. And unfortunately those laminated cards don’t entitle their owners a red cent. The individuals actually able to earn a living racing bikes, to receive regular paychecks, possess extraordinary genetic makeup and exceptional reflexes. Seriously.
Take this photo (pictured above) for example. These are the sorts of problems associated with office workers going on training rides with professional athletes. I managed to weasel away from the cubicle this morning for an epic mountain bike ride with Mark Weir, his usual caveman training buddies and a special guest: Levi Leipheimer. For those of you who somehow don’t recognize that name, Levi is America’s strongest road racer. He’s our national champion, he won the prestigious Tour of California and placed third overall in the 2007 Tour de France. Turns out he’s damn quick on a mountain bike too.
When I ducked out of the office this morning, I expected to be suffering on the climbs—Weir likes to lead riders up the steepest terrain imaginable—but I figured that because Levi makes his living on skinny-tire bikes, team WTB would be waiting around for him on the descents. I thought I might even have time to pull the camera out and take some photos of him dropping down the tight singletrack. While I picked the dirt out of my teeth, dazed on the side of the trail, I realized I was mistaken about Levi. I was instantly reminded that I am, after all, only an office worker.
|Caption: Levi pinning it on singletrack. WTB’s marketing coordinator spits the gravel out. Weir owns these trails. All photos by Yuri Hauswald.