Don works for Specialized and we occasionally ride together
I swear every single goddamn f’ing time Spesh says it’s a gonna be a slow, recovery ride, Don Langley shows up! Dude will build up the pressure slowly, then surgically rip your legs off — not with the same flurry and intensity of his coworker Riekert, but the precision of the Real Langster (his alias and the bike Spesh named after him). His approach is been there, done that and will throw down when needed, v. a punchy ride brimming with piss and vinegar.
He’s also the steadiest, safest wheel when a descent gets sketchy. If you see his national champion jersey out there near Morgan Hill, get on the wheel for as long as you can.
It and he are trustworthy. I discovered these truths, as we flew down the San Jose Soquel Descent towards Santa Cruz yesterday. Banking through s-curves, a truck tried to pass on the left, and ran out of room. The group split as the truck crossed back over the centerline and took our lane around another corner.
Don proceeded to set the pace with an eye ahead of the truck to our bros. I’d normally have sat up, but behind me was an angry line of a cars, and the prospect of riding 11 miles by myself. I leaned into the drops with complete confidence in Don’s lines and later declared people pay for trust exercises like this at corporate retreats.
Building Trust Scenario: 40 mph descent through S-curves in a tight peloton…then suddenly, TRUCK in the middle of your group!
Don’s body language told me what he was doing, what I needed to do – ease up. He was watching the car’s brake lights, and the group ahead. To not get gapped if he quickly accelerated, my wheel was within a wheel of his. As the road opened up, the truck sped away and with a few seconds of fast pedaling, the group was intact again, rolling into Capitola. James Stout took his pulls too, bringing us steadily up to them.
That gap got closed right quick by Don
It was fast, fun, and at dinner, I toasted to the trust we all had in each other. Roadies gotta stick together like a band of brothers.
Do you have a wheel you trust?
Have you thanked them recently?
If not, go do it now.