Roadbook: Big Bear
We arrived at Big Bear Lake, California, last night. It’s a town so close on the map to the hustle of Los Angeles, yet so incredibly far away once you get here. Named ‘Big Bear’ because the area once was home to grizzlies, this is a town of barely more than 5,000 people—and you’ll be lucky to see a black bear from time to time. Today, we get to watch the best riders in the world attack the clock in the individual time trial.
If there’s a direct correlation between Formula 1 motorsports and cycling, it is the time trial. No expense is spared in creating these bikes. Like a Formula 1 car, WorldTour time trial bikes are absolutely no fun to ride around town—they’re simply single-purpose machines designed to move their pilot from the starting line to the finish in as little time as possible.
Today’s event is short: Most of the riders will cross the line in less than half an hour. Yet this is an event that consumes these riders’ entire day.
We watch the warm-up, as riders push themselves toward redline, waking up each muscle group in their bodies.
And as they make their way toward the start. And as they watch the UCI official’s fingers count down the seconds to launch.
And then it is nothing but pain—for the fastest rider or the slowest.