“SHUT UP LEGS! DO WHAT I TELL YOU TO DO”
A man who rode 20 kilometers on a children’s bike in the Tour De France. A man who had eleven broken bones, twenty five screws and one-twenty stitches in his body. He was flown off by a helicopter after facing a severe crash and returned immediately after twelve weeks ready for the next race.
Faced the wind, fought hard, toiled, sweltered, climbed and clinched. These were the moments when he kept telling himself a thousand times “SHUT UP LEGS, please shut up and do what i tell you!”
He is Jens Voigt, a German former professional road bicycle racer, who always rode like a champion. An expansive cycling career of over thirty three years with eighteen years as a PRO Cyclist. He competed in 17 Tour De France races and three Olympic games. Covered an unimaginable distance of eight lakhs fifty thousand kilometers (8,50,000). Contended in over fifteen hundred races with sixty five wins and earned Yellow Jerseys at the Tour De France two times in his competitive career.
Incredible! isn’t it. The champ is the world record holder finishing fifty one point one one zero kilometers (51.110) in sixty minutes in 2014. This was his last professional outing with the UCI Pro Team Trek Factory Racing. Apart from his successful cycling career, Jens Voigt is quite popular amongst cycling fraternity for his forthright and articulate approach in engaging with fans.
Jens Voigt came in as a special guest in a Ride Camp organised by Trek Bikes India. As a cycling fan, it was a great opportunity for interaction and learnings from the legendary road cyclist. I was the first to strike a conversation with the pro. It was six forty-five am and he was quietly sitting on a chair when I approached him. He was humble and very accommodating during our chat. The insights he gave on cycling was quite helpful to me. And of course he did obliged with pictures and autograph on my red t-shirt given by Trek Bikes India.
The guest interaction opened with Mr. Navneet Banka, Managing Director speaking about Trek Bikes India and its initiatives.
Jens Voigt took us through his cycling career achievements, shared tips on nutrition and exercises. While giving a demo, he detailed out features of three road bikes Emonda, Domane and Madone – the ultimate aero race bike. The session culminated into a eight kilometer group ride with the PRO and plenty of conversations over tea and breakfast.
For a participant, Trek Bikes Camp was the best opportunity to try out different bikes, speak to the experts, make friends with new cyclists and get introduced to the top class cycling equipment by Trek.
Closing thoughts – India needs a transformational mindset towards sustainable models of transit and India also requires high level of expertise in attracting people into cycling. As a nation we are far too less experienced when it comes to professional cycling or the science behind pursing competitive cycling. Small initiatives like these are building blocks towards a bigger goal. And Trek India’s proactive initiative is a remarkable step towards making India more competitive on a global stage.
Bikes which I got a chance to test ride were Hybrids, MTB’s and Road bikes.
Professional high quality ‘Bontrager’ equipment and merchandise displayed at the camp.
Some more pictures of the demo bikes displayed for the guest.
Author: Vijay Malhotra, Mumbai