You could have been forgiven for thinking Rory McIlroy was speaking a foreign language as the World No. 1 found his way to the Media Centre for a pre-tournament press conference ahead of his Players Championship title defence.
He was asked all the ‘normal’ questions such as his thoughts on returning to TPC Sawgrass as defending champion, when he began to take a liking for Pete Dye designed golf courses and what was the state of his game, plus many others.
Then came a question way out of left field.
It came from Shane Ryan, my US-based friend and colleague, who I shared a two-bedroom apartment with last week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Shane’s question: “A little bit off the beaten path here. There are some really impressive Peloton metrics floating around online, and the rumour is they belong to you. I believe the one I saw was a 955 output in a 45-minute ride. First, can you confirm that that was you, and please do or my story is completely ruined. And second, has cycling become a big part
of your fitness and workout regimen?”
Woah, I know it’s hard for Americans to decipher any other of the English-speaking nations but what language was Shane speaking?
“A little less than a year ago, at peak fitness just prior to knee surgery, I had the ride of my life on my own Peloton. In 30 minutes, I churned out 455 kilojoules, my heart rate rising into “zone four” for a full 13 minutes and peaking at 168 beats per minute. I am not a world class athlete by any means, but I’m strong enough, and it was absolutely the peak of my ability—in the end, it was good enough for 184th place out of 11,000+ riders, inside the top 1.7% for that particular class. When the clock hit zero, I could only moan pathetically for a period of approximately six days.
“Yet even if you assumed I could hold that same pace for another 15 minutes (note: no way in hell), I would have ended with 682 KJ for 45 minutes. And likely died. When I considered the kind of person who could reach almost 1,000 kj in the same time frame, I imagined a literal monster.
“I’m talking about someone whose pants regularly ripped under the pressure of bulging quads; someone with a massive heart that could propel him over the Mount Ventoux moonscape at the Tour de France.
“I did not imagine Rory McIlroy. Nevertheless, rumour online had it that the numbers did indeed belong to the World’s No. 1 golfer.”
McIlroy broke out in a smile revealing: “Yeah, so that was me. But I think the bike was a little juiced.
“So I did that the Monday after Riviera in the hotel I was staying at in Santa Monica. So, like my bike at home, I can sort of get on the Peloton, and I can sit in the saddle at like a 50 resistance at like 90 — like a 90 cadence and just sort of buying that out for 45 minutes or an hour, but 50 resistance on this bike felt really easy, so I sort of cranked it up.
“So I’d say that was a little juiced. But most of the ones, on my Peloton user name or whatever, are pretty accurate. But yeah, I try to get them in sort of two or three times a week. I did one last night — and I’ve never really enjoyed doing cardio, like really never liked it, but since sort of learning about Peloton and doing it and sort of being a part of that whole community and stuff, I’ve started to enjoy it, and I enjoy the leaderboard aspect and the fact that it is competitive in some ways and you’re always trying to beat your last score.
“And it keeps me — it makes me earn my dinners and sort of keeps me sort of in decent shape! I’ve been enjoying it.”