Normally, I’m used to pulling my skinny 135lb ass, up hills by myself on my single bike. But, not this weekend. I decided to enlist my co worker Alex (The Axe Man) Angus, to be my stoker on my tandem.
Let me start by saying, it takes a special breed of person, to relinquish all control to their body’s safety and well being, to ride on the back of a tandem. My hat goes off to them.
Now, I can go on and on about the race, and tell you things, like what the weather was like, and what kind of conditions we were facing. But I’m not! I going to tell you about a type of person who puts their life, in the hands of a madman! The unsung hero, The Stoker!
Now,,, anyone can ride a bike, but a stoker is not just a rider. They are THE engine! There one and only job, is to power the bike and hold on! But they sometimes, give us unsolicited advice. Like,, not to crash. They tell us to slow down. They,,,,, sometimes tell us they will never do this again, but do it anyway. They say, you better slow down around this corner because there’s loose gravel we could crash. They also sometimes say, HOLY SHIT that was fun let’s do it again! Sounds simple right? But that’s the job of the stoker. Communication!
Now over the years, I have had many of stokers, and they all hold a special place in my heart. Hell, most of them have taken us to the podium. So it goes without saying they are important. So this last weekend was no different. My stoker and I were able to hang on to a win, in the 28 mile distance barely winning by less than a minute. I’m happy with our results. But, to the humble stoker it all in a day’s work. The best stokers, are the ones that you don’t even know they are on the back. Not because of their weight, but their ability to stick to you like a magnet. Hell, some of them can’t even see where they’re going. But they know you are going to lead them in the right direction, and they are cool with that.
So I guess what I’m saying is, Thank You, to all those stokers out there who take the backseat and make it a team effort.
As for a Team, I can’t say enough about the team I’m on. The Founders Brewery team! You want to talk about team?! These people are one hell of a team; every one of them puts out 110% and holds their heads up high even when things don’t always go their way. But you know what? That’s what racing bikes is all about. Not winning or losing, but being on a TEAM.