JEZEBEL THE TIME TRIAL BIKE
Jezebel and I became a couple on April 15, 2005 – it was love at first sight. She was a Guru cron’alu time trial bike that had been custom-made for me. She sported a beautiful red, yellow, orange, white and black flame paint job with gorgeous Zipp wheels and titanium pedals. Her aerobars were wrapped with a fancy patterned tape to match her paint job. I had been cycling for just a few short months, and she was a bit difficult to handle, but I began practicing on her regularly, anxious to test her in a race. That opportunity came just three weeks later at The Villages, on May 5th – I had been cycling for just nine months.
The cycling event was a rather large one with approximately 100 participants contesting time trials at distances of 5 & 10 kilometers in 5-year age groups starting at age 50 – I was 65 at the time. I was totally inexperienced at racing, but somehow Jezebel carried me to the fastest 5K time ever recorded for someone over age 60 in the state of Florida. Her encore was to race to the top time of the day of all age groups in the 10K event. Jez also defeated the current state champion and state record holder in our age group who had not lost a race in quite a few years. I’ll never forget when the guy’s wife came up to me after the race and said with a quizzical look of disbelief, “You beat Hans?” Jez was a big hit with the press and the next morning we awakened to a newspaper article about us with three pictures. That’s when I realized that Jez and I had something special going on and set my goal to win a State of Florida time trial championship.
Unfortunately, in our next race in Ocala, FL, after winning the first event of the day, Jezebel, in an effort to avoid an official who had stepped into her path, threw me over her handlebars midway through the second event fracturing my c1 cervical vertebrae – she broke my neck! Jez & I still bear the scars from that event – she with a dent in her top tube, and I can no longer look to my rear (scar tissue from the fracture).
Jez and I went on to experience some extreme highs and lows together. One would think that the aforementioned experience was the absolute low, but it was not. With a certain win in hand, Jezebel took me off course at the 2007 nationals at Cherokee Park in Louisville, KY. She went flying down a hill necessitating a climb back up a steep grade only to bring me to a spot where I had been doing 30 mph and was then doing virtually zero as I entered back on course having lost 30 seconds and all of my momentum. Jez and I still managed to finish 7th out of 59 in my age group, but being an extremely competitive person, it was the lowest moment in our relationship.
Jez went on to win 11 state time trial championships breaking five state records during the journey, and setting two, time-trial meet records. At the Alabama Senior Olympics, their state championships for the 50 and over crowd, Jez turned the top time for all age groups in the 10K time trial by over a minute! Her last race will be this week at the very popular Ft. Desoto Time Trial Series where she has promised to carry me to a new 70+ age group record!
Jez is a bit outdated being constructed of aluminum and sporting a non top-of-the-line gruppo (Ultegra). Although no bike can ever replace Jezebel in my heart, for racing she will be replaced by a state-of-the-art Guru CR 901 carbon fiber bike, custom made for me by my sponsor Guru Bicycles, and sporting the latest technology such as Shimano Di2 electronic shifting, and the latest high-tech wheels. There will always be a special spot for Jezebel in my home – she will always remain with me. Thanks for the exciting ride Jez!!