This afternoon, one of my neighbours made a show of looking for the motor on my bike. Frankly, I was flattered particularly as he’d just seen me ride back up to the apartment on an average 7% gradient.
To be honest, when I first heard about mechanical doping it did cross my mind that it might be handy dandy for my forthcoming adventure. Apparently called the “Gruber Assist”, the motor is inserted down the seat tube and interacts with a standard bottom bracket axel via a bevel gear unit. It is practically invisible with an external on/off switch plus a battery pack that is mounted in a saddle bag. The total weight of all of the components is 1900 grams, it can provide 100 watts of power, but sadly not for the extended periods I would require.
The temptation to cheat was merely a passing fancy. However, it’s surprising how often one is tempted. Back in 1994, I took part in the London Marathon. I hadn’t done too much training but knew I could always walk it. During the race an enterprising young fellow offered me the loan of his anorak for a fiver so that I could nip down an alley way and avoid running all around Canary Wharf. I turned down his offer, telling him it would be cheating. Quick as a flash, he said that no one would know. I replied that I would know and that’s all that matters. I continued on my way to what is probably one of the slowest marathons ever: finishing in 7 hours 28 minutes and 30 seconds. But I did wonder whether anyone took him up on his offer.
In many of the local cyclosportifs, it’s quite possible to set off ahead of the official start time, take short cuts or even pretend you’ve done the longer parcours instead of the shorter one. But, there’s nothing to be gained from trying to fool yourself, or anyone else for that matter. Besides, my Garmin doesn’t lie.