Riding behind Jan is a bit like handing in your first university assignment to a professor who’s been teaching for decades. And it should be – he’s a two-time Ironman World Champion, and the first triathlete in history to win both the Olympic Triathlon Gold and the Ironman World Championship title. He is tall, sporting a thin and muscular frame. His broad shoulders cut a wide hole in the air, so the slipstream is excellent. His calves are very impressive. But what you really notice is just how rock solid he is on his bike.
There are no lateral movements, no wiggling hips, no rigidly held elbows. He is comfortable, completely in his element and totally at ease. When he drops a hand down to grab a drink, he does so with nary a wobble. Just seeing it makes you want to be a better cyclist.
He’s also a really nice guy, the kind you want to ride next to because he makes you laugh. He’s taking it easy today, which is appreciated because it’s clear that if he stepped on the gas, things would get very intense, very fast. You’d like to think you could hang on, and maybe you could for a few minutes, especially with help from that fantastic draught. But deep down you know that eventually he’d hit his stride and achieve a velocity that mere mortals aren’t able to maintain. And that would be that.