Jens and the Art of Bicycle Racing

by Old Bone Machine

What is the secret of Jens’ longevity in the sport of road cycling?

In the recent USA Pro Cycling Challenge he soloed to victory on the stage to Beaver Creek (stage 4). Heavy rain slowed the chasing peloton but Jens himself was an unstoppable force of nature. Fellow riders described him as “crazy” or being just like “an animal”. His breakaway, like others in his long career, was the stuff of swashbuckling movies.

“I’m more than happy that I actually entertained the people a little bit today” Jens said. It was a performance enjoyed by young and old. A performance topped by Jens winning the overall mountain jersey.

See the full report on the CyclingNews site.

And yes we all know that Jens is 40. But he retains a lust for life (and of the cycle life) that is, I believe, a part of  the secret of his longevity. He has an almost childish wonderment and energy.

Check out his recent Twitterings. He’ll defrost the most cynical of hearts. His encounter with The Badger (no, not the great Hinault) over a series of Tweets (is there a collective noun for a series of related Tweets) is heart-warming:

Just had Linda time again, had my 12year old son with me, and we saw a badger on our lap through our cityforest. Linda was curious as well.

So she walked a little closer, and the badger- well aware of his strengh and size- did not really run away, he looked curious too actually.

So both of em looked at each other, checking each other, but not at all in any agressive behaviour, just trying to understand the other…

It was more like some unexpected encounter with a new neighbor, and then the badger went for the forrest again and we let him walk away…

For the racing spectator and the avid amateur he represents much of what is loved in our pursuit. The daring and madness of the long, solo breakaway. The loyalty and service of the super domestique.

For all of us in our forties and beyond he also makes us question where our physical barrier lies. I’m 47 and Jens is pure inspiration to me. His best known mantra “shut up legs” is my mantra also.