Cycling isn't about going fast. Except when it is.
And the Standert Feierabendrunde, the Thursday evening group ride hosted by Berlin-based Team Standert, most certainly is all about that. For some years now it's had the reputation of being the fastest organized group ride in town and it most assuredly deserves it. This year perhaps more than ever. These guys love going fast.
This 2018 season, Team Standert has been making some noise in the national amateur road scene and the Feierabenrunde has attracted a number of strong amateurs and semi-pros to stretch their legs and lay down some mid-week watts on the 70km loops around the periphery of Berlin. What was conceived as a fast group-ride has turned into a blistering, race-pace sprintfest.
Starting at the Standert bike shop in Berlin Mitte, a peloton often numbering 40 riders snakes out of the city center. If the constant stopping and starting is tiring, the town sign indicating the exit from Berlin proper should jolt you awake. The speed instantly surges past 45km/h. And stays there for the next 50km. Close those gaps or you're gone! The crescendo reaches its climax at the the 200-to-go line that's sprayed on the pavement, with all hell breaking loose for those elusive sprint points which are tallied at the end of the road season in mid-October. A short break to collect stragglers and it's back on the road.
I'm one of those stragglers. Last season, my no-training-training allowed me to just barely squeak by without getting dropped but this year it's not cutting it. Even just closing the gaps at 50km/h sends me deep into the red with the sprint point not even on the horizon. Add to the fact that my road bike (actually just a converted CX rig with 28mm tires) was recently out of commission with a broken spoke for two weeks and it should be no surprise to me that I'm 3 for 3 for getting dropped within 10km outside the city limit. This Thursday, I decided to the embrace it and detached from the group early. While the peloton unrelentingly went for a second lap, I continued onwards at my leisurely pace. Freed from the tunnel vision of 185BPM and with the lactate draining out of my system, I could for once appreciate the simple beauty of the Brandenburg countryside bathed in the golden light at sunset. Cycling really isn't about going fast. Take a look.