Anatomy of the Sprint

You may just have left the house, or you may be 150 km deep into the fondo.
You may be on an everyday training ride, or you may have went under the red kite.
For some reason, you’re going to put out your MAXIMUM.
Your 110%.
Everything you’ve got.
How much that is, how many watts, how much speed…
That’s not really relevant.

You can now see the bus stop as your imaginary finish line.
Or, maybe, you can see a real finish line as you peek around your team-mate who is turning himself/herself inside out in front of you.
Then you feel your body flipping switches. Turning dials. Preparing itself.
Your pedaling changes instinctively, you’re trying hard to save power and not use the muscles you’ll be using during the sprint. You had never pedaled in such smooth circles before. Your face changes from the normal person you were to the cold-blooded killer that you will be in a few seconds.

Let’s hit the “pause” button here.

The moment before the sprint.
The moment between the smooth pedal stroke where you were saving power and the one where you are flexing every single fiber in your quad.
The moment where your mouth opens up and your teeth are revealed.
That part of your favorite song comes up.
You see the 200 meter board.
Your team-mate peels off and screams some words at you, but you are so concentrated that you understand nothing.
You pass the cafe which is just the right distance away from the bus stop.

Then a jaguar pounces on its prey.
Two worlds collide.
A tank fires its gun and shakes itself free of the dust on it.
A plane is launched from the catapult on a ship.

It begins…

You jump off the saddle and pull yourself downward and forward. You’re powering so much that your cyclist arms struggle to match the torque. You swing the bike to add stroke to your legs, but still keep the bike in a perfectly straight line.
You start spinning out, you upshift to match the speed. The rear derailleur executes a perfect shift and boosts your confidence. You feel the spin again and upshift. The wind is now howling through your ears and helmet. You’d have never thought the wind would create so much force to stop you.
Suddenly you start not to accelerate as fast as before. You feel the pain in the legs. Your HR is through the roof. Still, you hold on. The last 50 meters feel like 50 kilometers to you. The finish line does not come any closer. You face down and grit just a bit more, then sit up just as you cross the line.

You take your hands off the handlebars, and see that it’s a lot easier when you’re fast.
You get the feeling of accomplishment and award yourself with a salute. But please be original, will ya? No pistol shots or bow-and-arrow things. Raising the arms is universal, you can do that. You then bump fists with your mates, no matter if the finish line is imaginary or real. They helped you go fast. Or hug them, maybe. Respect their social boundaries.

by Efe Ballı