Mike Rea of Team Roll: won the 2008 Torelli Spring Road Race Series outpacing his Masters opponents by nearly double the available points. He recently sat down with RyLo for this interview
RyLo: Congratulations Mike on your domination of the Torelli Series.
MR: Thank you. The cool thing about cycling is that it’s a team effort and that was definitely the case for the Masters in team roll: this Spring. Our core group of 4 riders (George Conti, Mark Corroto, Dave Chambers and I) rode consistently through the series and in the end it seems to have paid off for our team. These guys are also awesome to train and race with.
RyLo: What were your goals coming into the 2008 season, and have they
MR: No real goal changes. I wanted to upgrade to Cat 3 which took place recently and I also hoped to have some good race results. We have lots of talent on our team this year and moving forward I want to work hard for the rest of the guys so they can also accomplish their season goals. My race schedule is less structured for the rest of the season, but I would like to ride some of the upcoming Central Ohio criteriums and the Newmark criterium this month. Possibly the Danville state race in July and the Pur Tour in August.
RyLo: It seems there has always been a leader of this team, and the
aptly named Chairman Fred Parks was noticeably absent early this
year, have you taken over as captain of, at least the masters squad?
MR: No way! Chairman Fred will always hold the honor of being "Top Dog" for our Masters. Although he wasn't present in many of the early Spring races, he spent that time training and is really coming into form just in time for the criteriums which are his specialty. Look for big things from Fred this season. In fact I rode with him tonight and his power and sprint are definitely coming on strong. Speaking of Fred, he and I go back a ways and one of my favorite racing experiences with him took place at the Mt. Vernon criterium in 2003, our first year as teammates. Just a few laps into that race Fred attacked the field and I stayed back to try and control the chasers. Fred stayed clear the entire race and had a big win. I was able to come around the chase group at the end for a 2nd place finish. That was a pretty great time.
RyLo: What do you attribute you success to this Year? Rumor has it
that you are working with a coach.
MR I have been working with Ashley Powell at Catup.com http://www.catup.com/. My teammate Mark Corroto recommended Ashley after successfully working with him a few seasons ago. Ashley is terrific and he really pushed me to reach a level of fitness I would not have achieved on my own.
Rylo: Any specific workouts you wish to share with us?
MR: I think my big benefits came from the AT intervals I was doing in the preseason. Shortly before the season began I was up to doing 2 AT intervals at 30 minutes each. These really helped me develop power and endurance.
RyLo: I notice that you ride/race without the use of a power meter,
heart-rate monitor and you don't have a cadence or speed sensor, why?
MR: During the preseason I did use a heart rate monitor to stay in the proper training zones. But I'm one of the least analytical people you will meet and I have just never been able to discipline myself to track a lot of numbers and data. There is no doubt that tools like power meters can be a huge help for a racing cyclist, but I guess I'm just a little too old school.
RyLo: Who are your cycling heroes?
One of my cycling heroes is Glenn Groves - an old time racer from here in Central Ohio. Folks like Chairman Fred and maybe Cadillac George who were around cycling in this area 15 or more years ago probably remember Glenn. Back in the days of FBCI (Franklin Bicycle Club) Glenn was an extremely dominant bike racer and he raced well into his 50's. Last summer Jeff Jackson and I ran into Glenn in Ostrander during a summer training ride. Glenn is one of those guys who never meets a stranger and he invited us to his house after our ride. He has more medals and trophies from winning bike races than all the podium finishes of every bike racer I know combined. His house is also a virtual museum of old bikes and Central Ohio cycling photos from the 50's, 60's and 70's. He's a pretty cool guy and is extremely interesting to talk to. Glenn is still a strong rider and you can sometimes run into him on the weekends when riding north of Delaware.
RyLo: What is the best piece of cycling advice you have ever received?
MR: My friend Jeff Jackson once told me "it is about the journey and not the destination". I think this is true not only for cycling but also for life. I try to keep this in mind when I get too wrapped up in daily details.
RyLo: tell us about your worst day on a bicycle
MR: Probably my worst day on the bike was in 2006 when I raced at Granville with Breakaway. It was one of those early season road races with lots of rain and temperatures somewhere in 50's. I was warming up with Mark Corroto and Andy Will before the race and we were all wondering why we were there since the rain was so hard and cold. The rain continued during the race and it was pretty miserable. At the end of our race there was a pretty big pileup during the sprint due to the wet roads (I seem to remember that someone broke their frame in two pieces during their crash). Mark and I went to a coffee shop in town after the race to try and warm up and I remember asking myself why I raced that day. I guess stuff like that builds character.
RyLo: Rumor has it that you take part in a secret pepper club, and
perform a 'pepper ritual,' are you at liberty to explain?
MR: Well, I'm not sure I'm able to say too much about that. Each summer one of our Team roll: racers and his wife acquire goat horn peppers from an undisclosed location though unknown means. My understanding is that the ancient Romans harvested these peppers and valued them for their almost magical powers to increase stamina and virility. The peppers are laid out on a table and everyone who is present participates in a ritual of asking the gods to bestow magical powers upon the peppers. After that the peppers are mixed with some secret ingredients and placed special glass containers that have been passed down through several generations. One year I remember asking about the ingredients and was told the last person who asked that question is now known as "ole 9 fingers".
I've heard that cycling greats Fausto Coppi and Alredo Binda consumed this magical mixture and attributed much of their racing success to the almost spiritual powers of these mysterious peppers.
Clinchers or tubulars: clinchers
do you shave your legs in the off season: no
road race or criterium: road race
If I didn't race I probably be: a fat, lazy couch potato
chamois creme or not: definitely during longer races an training rides.
Shimano or Campy: Shimano
rather ride with Greg Lemond or Lance Armstrong: Tough choice - probably Greg Lemond. It would be cool to hear some stories about racing back in the day.
Favorite cycling movie: Breaking Away