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Training with Harm J. A little long. Great read.(3 posts)

Training with Harm J. A little long. Great read.No_sprint
Apr 23, 2002 8:58 AM
I've changed the names to protect the innocent, and guilty.

By Joey and Johnny (as usual, this is a joint effort...
we do this because neither of us is willing to assume
individual liability for the contents of our reports)

Several weeks ago, Joey and Johnny watched Harm Jansen
and Chris Horner finish the pros' Sunset Road Race
(the final stage) of the Redlands Classic in a two-man
breakaway. After the duo held off a raging peleton
driven by U.S. Postal for a final five laps on the
criterium circuit we amateurs had raced on earlier in
the day, Harm out-sprinted Chris to take the stage
win. So imagine our surprise when we *passed* Harm on
a training ride....

But it happened. Johnny, Joey, Janie, Jimmy and Jeffy
did a very long ride out in the Santa Monica's on Saturday. As we neared the far-point of our ride out on Yerba Buena, we came across a rider wearing the Saturn outfit. At this point, none of us had any idea who he was.

We crossed paths a couple more times, before finally
hooking up with him as we were heading back down the
coast. Johnny was driving the pace-line as we went by,
and although Johnny and Joey recognized the Saturn
uniform, we weren't sure whether it was a real Saturn
rider or just some dude who'd bought the kit. On the
one hand, the guy was amazingly smooth; on the other,
he was only going about 15 mph. Johnny and Saturn-dude
exchanged nods.

In any event, the Saturn rider caught on to the back
of the group and introduced himself to Janie, who being
a triathlete, had no idea who he was. After
expressing confusion as to his name ("What kind of
name is that? Harm what?"), Janie told Harm that he was
making her uncomfortable by forcing her to ride too
close to traffic and commented, "Looks like you forgot
your helmet today, Harm." Harm's response: "good
point," as he quickly switched positions with Amy so
that she'd be on the inside, sheltered from traffic.

Harm rode with us back to Santa Monica, stating that
he had planned to ride back to his home in Woodland
Hills over "the canyon" (presumably Latigo or Topanga)
but that he'd have more fun riding with us. So we had
the ultimate draft for our trek down the coast. Harm
was one of the most friendly, enthusiastic riders
we've ever met, and everyone on the ride agreed that
this was one of the most fun rides we can remember.
He was incredibly down-to-earth, and (much to our
disappointment) was more interested in hearing about
how Johnny's Cat IV criterium at Redlands had unfolded
and the specifics of Janie's upcoming Wildflower
triathlon than he was in explaining how he and Chris
Horner had dropped the field or how he's won so many
races in solo fashion (every time one of us tries
that, we get swallowed up in 200 meters). He also was
very polite, asking us whether we preferred to ride
single or double file and (much to the consternation
of Joey and Johnny, who wanted to try to follow him
down the coast at 30 mph+) profusely apologetic and
insistent that we all wait any time he'd accidently
drop one of us.

Among the more interesting aspects of our ride:

1. Harm's comment after looking down at Joey's
bike: "Hey, that's a bright bike." Of course Harm
did later admit that he too had a fluorescent red bike
one year ... so maybe there's still hope for Joey.

2. Pacelining with Harm was amazing ... the guy is
just totally smooth, but it took a little getting used
to some of his hand signals, which are different from
those we mere mortals use [editor's note -- when
riding near Joey, generally the only needed hand
signal involves gesticulation of a certain finger].
We also learned why he's a professional cyclist, not a
professional basketball player - he'd try to throw
banana peels and other assorted food items into trash
cans as we whizzed down PCH at 27 mph, but would miss
every time.
What a great story! and a little humanity tooSlipstream
Apr 23, 2002 4:38 PM
Thanks for sharing it!
There is more. Here is the rest.No_sprint
Apr 24, 2002 11:18 AM
3. Harm believes that the Simi Ride is the "toughest
training ride in the world." He won't even do it in
December or January because he says it's too fast. In
Johnny's opinion, this should resolve the dispute that
was going on last winter about whether it makes sense
for we Cat IIIs and IVs to be hammering out at Simi so
early in the season. Harm also complimented Johnny on
his 27 tooth cog (he trains with a 25 himself),
commenting that "it is not possible to get over these
hills in a 23."

4. Harm mentioned that Saturn and Opel were thinking
about co-sponsoring a Tour de France-quality team.

5. However, he says his days of racing in Europe are
over and that racing is too competitive and nasty over
there because of the big money involved: "much
nicer here in the states."

6. His attitude about cycling was great. He seemed
really excited to be out riding, and claimed that
Southern California offers the best cycling in the
world.

7. Watch out un-named racer - your days are numbered. Harm
informed us that he has a brother (also a former
racer) who is going to begin riding Cat IVs later this
season after a several-year hiatus from the sport.
The twinkle in his eye and the smile on his face when
he made this comment seemed to indicate that his
brother will not exactly be pack-fodder in the IVs.

If you run across Harm on a ride, be sure to say hi.
He's very friendly/approachable. And if you're not
sure how to recognize him, just look for the "Jansen"
decal on his bike's top tube.