The Atheist Training Bible for Old Bicycle Racers, Chapter 8: Annual Review

August 18, 2014 § 22 Comments

The most important part of your season comes now: After your season.

If you have been following the Wanky Training Plan ™ since January, you will have a solid season of results to carefully review. Your performance in each race will provide key insights into aspects of your racing that need improvement, as well as those aspects in which you have excelled, and will therefore seek to replicate next year.

The most crucial aspect of the Wanky Training Plan ™, and the one that has likely been hardest for you to implement, has of course been the high cadence pedaling style. If you stuck with it, you have likely seen a revolution in your performance as you have metamorphosed from a plodding clogstacle into a graceful, speedy, gazelle.

To help you properly review your season, I’ve selected some of my best results from 2014 so that you can see how a proper evaluation will lead to analysis of strengths and weaknesses for 2015.

Boulevard Road Race: The season began with a powerful and impressive DNF, in which all of the successful strength and high rpm-training exercises in the off season came to fruition. Although I did not actually finish the race, I got to test several electrolyte replacement fluids for ease of digestion and ease of puking them back out on the climb.

Red Trolley Crit: My first crit of the year featured a strong moral victory in which I went to the front and spun very hard. Although I did not actually finish the race, the key objective of not falling off my bicycle was achieved 100%.

UCLA Road Race: This was a super hard race and marked the first time in 2014 that I finished a race, so it was actually considered a first-place finish (by me) even though the technical placing was 29th. Out of 30. By spinning very quickly I was able to not over-tire myself, meeting another key objective, i.e. looking good on the finish line.

CBR Race #2: In my second crit of 2014, I achieved an impressive finish by finishing. Spinning played a key role in my ability to achieve 26th place out of 37 racers, a massive improvement of three placing from the week before. Simple math showed that in a mere eight more races I would mathematically be guaranteed to finish in first place.

Chuck Pontius Road Race: This was a blustery and challenging race where all aspects of the Wanky Training Plan ™ were utilized, including the refusal to cry. It also showed how continual spinning and recovery can lead to amazing results. I earned an impressive top ten finish, finishing 10th place out of ten finishes and 13 starters. Good things were clearly just around the bend as I was now peaking.

San Dimas Stage Race: Putting together all the pieces of a complex, 3-day stage race, I spun my way to 31st in the time trial,  39th in the road race, and 37th in the crit for an overall GC of 38th. This devastated the two racers who came in 39th and 40th, respectively, and showed that high cadence racing allows you to conserve until the end.

It was at this point in the season that things really came together — 22nd in the LA Circuit Race, 28th at the District Championships (29th place is still sobbing over his bitter defeat), and 146th at the Belgian Waffle Ride made this unquestionably the strongest spring campaign I’ve had in 30+ years of bike racing. But the best was yet to come.

Although I did not finish either Saturday or Sunday of the 805 Crit Series, we successfully rented a motor home and did not drive it off a cliff or get arrested. Thanks, Wanky Training Plan ™!

 

The Atheist Training Bible for Old Bicycle Racers, Chapter 7: Wanky Toughness Pills

February 13, 2014 § 6 Comments

On Monday morning my inbox broke from the email deluge. Then on Tuesday the volume doubled. Today it finally tapered off and I’ve been able to read through all 34,872,011.92 emails regarding the catastrophic meltdown of Prez at the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre crit in Brea. Here’s a sampling of the anger:

“U suck WM. Prez wuz yer number one Wanky Training Plan ™ rider and he DNF’ed. FUKKKK UUUU!!”

“Wanky Training Plan is a fraud and a sham. Prez couldn’t even finish the Brea crit using your fakish training plan. I want my money back once I pay you.”

“Sad days all around for us WTP ™ adherents. We heard through the grapevine that Prez got shitcanned at the local Sunday crit using your training plan. Huge loss of confidence in your advice, Wanky.”

“Dear Mr. Wankmeister: This is your formal notification of a class action lawsuit filed against you as a result of your fraudulent Wanky Training Plan ™ and its utter failure to get Prez across the finish line, much less a victory in a recent bicycle race. Blah, blah, blah.”

“Heartbroken. Prez DNF. Wanky Training Plan ™ a failure. There is no Dog.”

“Whats next Wanky or should I say Bernie Made-off, as in ‘made off with all my money’? Your a crook and the Wanky Training Plan ™ is a faik. Going back to Elron Peterson and his one-legged drills. Look stupid I may, and broke it may make me, but defeat with honor.”

“Yo, Wanky! I saw Prez sobbing in the gutter after NPR yesterday. Claimed the WTP ™ has made him SLOWER. WEAKER. LAZIER. FATTER. WTF?”

I can explain

First of all, it’s true. After following the Wanky Training Plan ™ religiously, plus 2,500 hours in the gym, plus $8,762.09 spent on a special spin bike coach, plus an entire season dedicated to becoming the anchor in the SCC lead out train, Prez did in fact get shitcanned in the final laps of the race when the brutes on SCC brought it up to 35 mph and held it until the end, when Inkjet and Loverboy closed the deal in first and second place.

It’s also true that Prez not only followed the WTP ™, but he got a custom Wanky tattoo on his special place so that he could remind himself how dedicated he was to the plan. And it’s also true that he paid the Wanky Foundation (a non-profit group dedicated to helping wankers overcome their fear of doing hard road races) $75,000 for a signed diploma from the Wanky Institute and a collectible pair of Wanky’s old underwear from back in the glory days.

HOWEVER.

The reason that he came unglued, quit, gave up, threw in the towel, and failed to finish the race had nothing to do with the Wanky Training Plan ™, a scientific system developed in conjunction with research from the Harvard labs, Olympic racing data, tea leaves, astrology, and input from Crazy Betsy the Psychic Reader.

No, the reason Prez abandoned, backed down, bailed out, bowed out, buckled under, capitulated, caved, chickened out, collapsed, cried uncle, folded, pulled out, stopped, and surrendered was because he forgot to take his Wanky Toughness Pills ™ before the race.

What’s a Wanky Toughness Pill ™ ?

Elite members of the Wanky Training Plan ™ who have been diagnosed as having Low Toughness by a medical professional, psychotherapist, or playground bully are eligible to receive one bottle of Wanky Toughness Pills ™ to treat their Low – T.

When a racer follows all of the steps in the training plan but is still unable to hang in when the going gets tough due to his emotional frailty, he is put on a special regimen of raw kale and toughness pills. The Low – T is then ameliorated, turning the former milquetoast into a badass leg breaking pain drinking nail eating muddafugga.

Without divulging patient confidentiality, Prez suffered from extremely Low – T. His T was so low that he couldn’t even take a pull on the NPR, kind of a threshold level of mental weakness that only a few baby seals are capable of de-spiring to. In sum, he received a double dosage of Wanky Toughness Pills ™ designed to remedy his habitual characteristic of “When the going gets tough, I get another frozen daiquiri.”

After the race we spoke and he admitted that he’d forgotten to take his toughness pills. However, he also said that in order to make up for this week’s epic collapse he had taken the whole bottle, eaten four pounds of raw kale, and was going to show up for UCLA Punchbowl to show “those skinny little fuggheads how it’s done.”

So before you go clamoring for a refund, watch for race results. You’ll see who’s been taking their toughness pills, and who hasn’t.

The Atheist Training Bible for Old Bicycle Racers, Chapter 6: Troubleshooting

February 5, 2014 § 23 Comments

Thanks to your first full month on the Wanky Training Plan ™ you’re now enjoying something you’ve not felt in years: A significant boost in cash from not having to rush out and purchase some new lopsided chainring, a new arterial wall thickness meter, or a 3-year contract with a personal leg-lenghtening coach.

But before we go into a detailed examination of which beers to purchase with your excess income, it’s time to troubleshoot. Although a large part of the WTP involves learning new pathologies, an equally important part is unlearning old ones. So let’s take a minute to review some common mistakes that you’re making, and how to quickly (and cheaply) correct them.

  1. Data proliferation: Watts, heart rate, drag coefficient, Strava, w/kg, kilojoules burned, VAM, Bam, Thank you Ma’am … ditch all that crap. There are only two numbers that matter: Your weight, your speed. The first one can be calculated before and after bedtime with a $19.99 bathroom scales. The second one can be measured with a wristwatch. Take all your other fancy measuring devices and put them in a safe place at the bottom of the ocean. “No way!” I can hear you screaming. “I gotta know my per-leg wattage and my VAM and my … ” Look, silly. It took mankind thirty thousand years to invent a clock that could keep time. Once they did, people could sail around the fuggin’ world and wind up exactly where they started. Are you telling me that you’re doing something more gnarly and significant than sailing around the world in a wooden bark through hurricanes, 80-foot seas, and several uncharted continents? Right. So shut up, buy a Timex, and get cracking. It was good enough for Magellan, it’s good enough for you.
  2. Wardrobe malfunctioning: The WTP ™ has helped you get off the training regimen that was designed for Mark Cavendish, and onto one that was designed for Alan Hale, Jr. Now we need to reduce the single biggest impediment to getting quality time on the bike. Yes, I’m talking about the hours you spend trying on different kits at home trying to figure out which one will be most suitable for the following day. Sausage, this means you. Prez, this absolutely means you. Take that favorite jersey from your first century with the yellow and green and mauve lightning bolts and hammers and unicorns, and everything of its ilk (Liz Kurtz isn’t the only one who can say “ilk”), and burn them or give them to aspiring cyclists who you want to laugh at behind their back. Narrow it down to one version of a team or club or anonymous kit, two helmets, two pairs of shoes, and the hardest of all (for Prez), only one sock color combo.
  3. Diet planning: The best reason not to diet is because it’s no fun. Plus, it makes you grumpy, and there is no diet ever that said “You will perform best with bread, butter, and beer.” Except for Wanky’s plan, of course, which you’re already on. So forget about calories, fat content, and properly balancing nutrients. When the California megadrought kicks in three months from now, we’ll all be lucky to have enough water to cook the gruel we’re given at food relief lines. In other words, eat up.
  4. Cheapassing on your bike fit: Okay, I’ve cadged this from Outside Magazine, but it’s the one piece of advice that, although completely spurious, is still more reliable and cost effective than buying another case of pixie dust. It matters how you sit on your saddle and how your feet push on the pedals. Proper seating may or may not make you faster, but if you get a good fit, which will cost you a bunch of money, you will end up on a saddle with a full cut-out and positioning that sends rivers of warm, pulsing, fresh, bright red, oxygenated blood to your genitals. Do I have to draw you a picture as to why that’s good?
  5. Lying to your significant other: This is the single biggest impediment to taking it to the next level on the WTP ™. If you have to keep a secret bank account, secret credit cards, ship stuff to your office address, lie about what you’re doing on the weekend, lie about when you’re coming back, lie about your private coaching, lie about the reasons you can’t have sex, lie about how much stuff costs, and lie about how much fun you’re having on date night, it’s time for some Wanky Reality Therapy ™. This, however, is part of a separate package, so you’ll only get the first part of it: Quit fucking lying. If he/she/it can’t handle the fact that being a pro masters wanker is more important than marriage, children, financial stability, mental health, or gainful employment, it’s time to cut bait and throw your line into a different stream. Wanky One-Stop Family Law Services ™ are available for a low, low monthly fee, although not as low as the monthly blog subscription fee, which is pretty darned low.

That’s it for today, campers. Let’s get out there and tweezle! It’s an easy week, remember?

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The Atheist Training Bible for Old Bicycle Racers, Chapter 6: Having the right de-equipment

January 24, 2014 § 19 Comments

As you continue your rest period, being laughed at by Sausage, called out by Donnie, and ridiculed by the entire NPR peloton as they pass you yelling “Spin, wanker!” and “Wanker on the right!” and “Outta the way, moron!” and “Are you available next Thursday?” you must have faith and be strong. This is what it was like to a Christian in the lion’s den, or, even more horrific, to be an atheist in a Houston public school in the 70′s.

Now that you have spent days on end going slow and tweezle spinning, your legs should feel fresh, relaxed, happy, and purged of the two most lethal chemicals that stand in the way of proper muscular and cardio development: lactic acid and old beer. However, this is only the beginning. Your adoption of the Wanky Training Plan ™ requires that you begin to tune in, turn on, and drop out (of Strava).

Proper training requires the absence of the right equipment

Before moving on to the next step in the WTP, please take the following handy-dandy quiz.

  1. I am on Strava. Yes/No
  2. I have a power meter. Yes/No
  3. I have a heart rate monitor. Yes/No
  4. I have a Garmin. Yes/No

Did you answer “yes” to any of these? Of course you did! So, let’s take them one-by-one and figure out how we can get you completely dialed into the Wanky Training Plan ™.  First, Strava. You need to get off this, just like you need to get off crack, meth, and Facebook. Not happening, you say? I know, but Strava’s not helping your cause because it becomes an end in itself. You fear posting a ride (Lane! Brian!) that’s not awesome, as if you’re a porn star who can’t get the job done on film. The reality is that by constantly forcing yourself to perform on Strava, you’re letting the software dictate your workouts — and tire you out. So what’s a Gollum-like Strava-head to do?

– Ride for the next thirty days without uploading a single ride.
– Quit looking at other people’s rides.
– Turn off the “You lost your KOM!” alerts (assuming you have any, which is doubtful).

Next is your addiction to the power meter. Studies have shown that no one ever rode faster due to a power meter, but millions have ridden slower, or given up riding altogether because of one. A power meter is a feedback mechanism that, at best, confirms what you already know: You aren’t that fast. Remember the first time you got one and how devastated you were to learn that your FTP was equivalent to that of a Cat 4, or a newt? Then remember how, after a year of hard work, you were only able to raise it to a Cat 3, or a salamander? Shuck the PM and accept that no improvement will ever come as the result of a device. Better yet, accept that no improvement will ever come. So, take off all your crank-connected, hub-connected, pedal-connected power meter devices and give them to someone you really despise. You’ll be glad you did.

Heart rate monitor? Really? There’s no need for this item. Like the power meter, it will only tell you that your heart is beating so fast you can’t possibly sustain the effort, so quit now before the infarction. Although the heart is an integral enemy and perpetual foe in the WTP, for now all you need to know is that you can — you must — ignore it.

Nothing has done more to ruin the essence of cycling than Garmin. This device has reduced the open road, the huge vistas, the stunning sunrises, the incredible panoramas into a tiny little plastic screen that spits out “data” which only tells us what we already know: You are slow and weak, and getting slower and weaker. Ditch the Garmin.

So what performance measuring device do I really NEED?

For hundreds of years, the holy grail of sailors was a watch that could keep time. Once it was invented, people conquered the globe by being able to plot longitude, enabling them to sail from an obscure port in Europe all the way ’round the world and back again in tiny barks scarcely worthy of the name “ship.” If it was good enough for Columbus, wanker, and if it was good enough for Eddy, then it’s good enough for you.

That’s right, the only device you need to measure your performance is a Timex wrist watch. If you can measure distance and you can measure time, then you can measure speed. Scott Dickson didn’t need a Garmin to win Paris-Brest-Paris. All he needed was a wristwatch, plenty of scotch, and an iron will. The wristwatch is likewise all you need for measuring cadence. Start the stopwatch function, count out 30 seconds worth of pedal strokes, multiply by two, and boom! You’ll have your rpm’s without needing to adjust magnets on your spokes, your crank, your chain stay, and without having to wirelessly ANT the whole thing to a $500 computer that, after the ride, you have to upload to a remote server, then upload to WKO+, then analyze with graphs.

Just use the stupid watch. Really.

Now that you’ve de-equipped yourself, you’re ready for the first week of non-training. Here’s your plan:

  1. Calculate your normal rpm with the wristwatch.
  2. Add 20 rpm.
  3. Ride for two hours at the new cadence.
  4. Drink a shit-ton of beer after you finish.

Don’t you feel good now? Sure you do.

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