So many events pass unrecorded, but the event of this day–because of this post–is different. I would like to say that I documented the day Rod blew up, but I have no photos or videos. I considered a re-enactment but it seemed too cruel. In the end, you will have to depend on my misty memory of a training session that happened over a year ago. Alas, I am no longer even sure of the exact date of the fireworks. It is a fundamental problem of any event, let alone one that involves an explosion: we are left with a memory, the bits that remain, and the traces of things forgotten. Depending on the tools that we use and the lines that we follow, we grant the anxious project of mashing time’s leftovers various names… like “history,” or “archaeology,” or “lunch meat.” Keep the problem of recollection in mind because you will have to piece together what happened on that fateful day when Rod blew up in the cemetery. In fact you are beginning to re-enact the event right now. The history of Rod is on its way… arriving from the future into your thoughts.

So let’s start putting the pieces together, but we need to get one thing straight right away. When you read “Rod”, I don’t want you to conjure the likes of this Scotsman:

Good looking Rod is looking at you looking at him. Gotcha!

And William Blackburn, I know you love yoga but please stop thinking of this Rod:

Rod tickling Rod. Teeheehee!

Instead, I want you all to meet Rod-who-exploded:

This is the photo on Rod's driver's license. Sshhh. He's a spy!

Okay, okay. That’s a photo of Rod after growing a moustache for a fundraiser in “Movember.” Here’s a photo of him at the start of a cycling race with his teammates:

Monsters on the streets of Hudson.

As a cyclist, Rod has a huge engine and if you ever want a smart, fast wheel for the last couple laps in a crit… look for these calves!

**Often covered in chainring marks

Rod will steer you through the final corner at speed, and he is the best descender that I coach:

"Lost my bike 2kms ago, but I'll still make it to the bottom before Scott!!"

As is the case for many cyclists, the demands of Rod’s job are huge so he often trains when he is tired. Work-related fatigue is one of the major limiters for Masters racers. I’m convinced that if Rod wasn’t so good at his job he could perform well racing at the Elite level. Lucky for him he has his priorities in order but still… he is NOT a morning person:

Rod greets the TTS computrainers with his Morning Mona Lisa Smile!

And yet, just a few hours later Rod looks so much better in the glow of his beautiful wife, Vanessa:

"You're stubble is scratchy but I WILL maintain this smile for the pic!"

Two more bits and pieces about Rod: he loves food. Here is a photo of him about to eat a burrito the size of his forearm… after having already eaten dinner:

"I'm just feeding my calves!"

Rod also loves a bargain. Here is Rod entering Basement Sports in San Francisco:


So let’s put together what we’ve got so far: Rod is a super-burrito eating purple monster with big calves who is grumpy in the morning. He’s a thrifty, yet charitable spy, works hard at what he does, and is hard to follow when flying around corners. Oh, and Vanessa is perfect!

So one day “Rod” showed up to train at the cemetery. The TTS group was doing a series of short power climbs up an 8-10% grade. Strangely, as riders come around a corner and begin the final steep pitch, they come face to face with a canon. Anyway, the drill involves members of the group taking turns leading out, attacking from the back, from the corner, etc… Picture full-out efforts, stately trees, tombstones, a quiet road, evening light… and a tired Monster willing to give it 110% on end-of-the-day legs. I have so much respect for Rod and his commitment to the sport. He finished every rep at the front until he exploded while crossing the line for the final time. The leaves of a nearby ginko tree trembled, as he tumbled from fatigue and landed on the grass in front of a gravestone. Wish I could convey more but this is all I’ve got left. I guess the final image you construct of the event will be, in part, a reflection of you… and your history.

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About Scott Toguri McFarlane

Scott Toguri McFarlane is a former Elite racer, and the founder of Toguri Training Services. For more than a decade, his approach to training has helped aspiring professional racers, provincial team members, and recreational cyclists of all ages and ability achieve their goals, including gold medals at National and Provincial Championships.

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