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A Noon Ride to Remember with Bob Roll (real)(3 posts)

A Noon Ride to Remember with Bob Roll (real)stik__boy
Jan 14, 2003 4:19 PM
A Noon Ride to Remember with Bob Roll
by Ryan Atkinson and Allison Clark

What happens when legendary cyclist Bob Roll visits Trek Bicycle Corporate headquarters on a brisk Wisconsin day in January?... Bob is handed a bike and a bunch of free gear, only to be subjected to a hammer-fest in the freezing wind and cold of the upper Midwest. We asked, how was it Bobke? "Wonderful, absolutely perfect." What a guy!

Let me tell you a bit about life at Trek. people ride everyday, rain or shine, in freezing cold or sweltering heat. They have the gear and they love their bikes. They ride like crazy. So when a cycling celebrity visits the Trek office, they are often persuaded to join the noon lunch ride, even in January. The noon rides start out civil enough, the guest attempts casual conversation with the hosts and the hosts are friendly. But neither pro cyclists nor Trek employees can conceal their love for full-on hammering! The courtesies tend to fade when the first hill becomes a launchpad for attacks by inside sales reps, engineers, product managers, and crazy cyclists like the Bob Roll! There are no teams, no tactics, just raging machismo on two wheels!

As Friday's ride approached the first hill, the pace accelerated and the group began to split. Conversation halted and the boys got down to business. There was an overwhelming sense of excitement as riders surged out of the saddle to crest the hill. Could this really be happening in Waterloo?? Could Bob Roll really be attacking on the climb we locals call "the Widow Maker?" Yes, and with the authority of a pro! Bob frequently rants in cycling magazines about tough-guy training. He doesn't need a heart rate monitor, just good old fashion blood and guts. It's been years since Bob left the pro peleton, but he was still strong enough to show the Trek riders a thing or two about what it means to ride hard.

There is a slight gap in my recollection of the facts at this point in the ride. In the interest of honest journalism I hesitate to fabricate details to fill the holes in this story. I was focused exclusively on the small patch of concrete directly in front of my tire and keeping the searing pain in my legs and lungs out of my mind. I assume from the little bit that I remember that the middle portion of the ride was grueling.

When I regained consciousness I was back in the main group rotating at a more manageable tempo. The computer on my handlebar was registering 27mph on the flats and Bob had resumed conversation with the group. He noted that Wisconsin has similarities to Belgium, his former home country. The subtle scent of cow dung drifting over the fields triggered his nostalgia and soon Bob felt right at home.

Suddenly some energy returned to the group as we turned back towards Waterloo. The pace suddenly peaked and attackers began to spring off the front of the pack like fleas off a dog. One ambitious rider, "tech guy" Bret Gave, got a good gap on the group. Gave looked over his shoulder and surveyed the results of his efforts with pride, but in a few short moments Bobke was right on his wheel, grinning and windblown, loving the chase. Bob had casually reeled in the attack to make sure he maintained the largest possible audience for his ranting. Bobke was schooling us!

The group pulled up to the factory after an hour of braving the cold and the hills, every man wearing a beaming smile. It was a genuine thrill to ride with a cycling legend like Bob Roll. They'll be telling stories for years. "This one time, I rode with Bob Roll." We hope that Bob enjoyed the ride as much as we did. Afterward, as he enjoyed a Reuben and a beer, he grinned and promised to return in the spring to take on the lunch ride once again. He threatened that by spring his "winter training diet will have run its course." Three cheers to that!

What was Inside Rep John Munhall's most memorable moment during the ride? "When Bobke
Thanks for the updateLeroy
Jan 15, 2003 4:37 AM
This has to be one of the all time best brush-with-fame ride stories. You guys at trek are indeed fortunate. Down here in Texas I think of trek as some monolithic industrial giant company, and forget that cyclists just work there. Thanks for the update on one of my favorite personalities, and to trek for bringing us his wit and insight [piss-elegant yups to the contrary be damned!], attaboy Bobke!!! Makes me want to buy an oclv.
re: A Noon Ride to Remember with Bob Roll (real)pben
Jan 15, 2003 6:36 AM
just curious - does J. Balmer ever do the lunch rides? He's a friend of mine from St. Louis