Lucky Number 13

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Words by Zach Terry and Hoël Wiesner, Photos by Hoël Weisner and Abby Birrell

Last week we hit 13K Followers on our Instagram account.  If you follow us already,  THANK YOU!  We love Instagram because it gives us a chance to tell the stories of the things we’re into through mainly images.  Jean-Luc Godard said it best when he said “Photograpy is truth.” There’s no better way for us to show you who we are at Performance than through our eyes, and the eyes of the people and brands we admire.  So, if you’re not already following us, we’d love for you to head over and give us a follow.

Back to the point, though.  When we hit 13K followers, it reminded us of the fabled stories of drawing the unlucky number during a race.  As we all know, if you draw the number 13 during a race it’s your obligation to pin it upside down.  Leaving it right-side up is a bad omen, bad luck, and no matter how many spare bikes you have, rumor has it that your race will surely be a series of unfortunate events that will eventually lead to your ultimate DNF!

We needed a first hand account though, so we reached out to our local community to see if anyone in our network had any accounts of pulling the lucky number.  Turns out, not only did we have a friend who had pulled the number, but one who pulled it for an entire year racing the Men’s A category during collegiate races for the Duke University Cycling team.

 

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Hoël Wiesner was the lucky winner for all of the 2017 collegiate season.  We caught up with him to hear about his season:

“I had the pleasure of racing the 2017 collegiate season wearing the #13. Pinning on that cursed number (upside down always) is liberating – you know it won’t be an easy race, anything can go wrong, so you have to go out and create your own luck. That’s what I did. As a solo rider without teammates all season, I knew no result would be gifted. I’d have to be aggressive and not be afraid to fail. And though I did fail plenty, I also stepped on the podium and it was all the sweeter knowing that I did it despite wearing that unlucky #13.

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About halfway through the season, I cracked my frame during a training ride. But my weekend ITT wasn’t going to ride itself. #13 teaches you not to make excuses. So I did what any competitive idiot would do: find a replacement bike, no matter how ill-suited for the task. In this case, a 3.1 mile uphill time trial with average grade of 9% and peaks of 20% in some of the switchbacks.

 

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The bike? A beautiful pistachio green 1987 steel race frame with Dura Ace 7400. Great bike, wonderful to ride, but to say the 42×21 lowest gear was ill suited for a hill climb might be an understatement. But hey, if guys could win the Tour de France on single speed bikes 100 years ago…

I did not finish last in my field, coming in 21 out of 31 in Men’s A, +1.50 down from the winner. Not the best result, but one I’m most proud of. When you’re wearing #13, you just take what the world throws at you and keep on turning those pedals.”

So it turns out, at least in this case, that despite pulling an unlucky number, Hoël ended up having a pretty good season!

How about you?  Have you ever pulled the lucky number? If so tell us all about it in the comments below!  In the meantime be sure to give Performance and Hoël a follow over on Instagram!

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