#coachnotcoach speaks

November 20, 2018 § 3 Comments

How are things after a week or so of Project Less Sleep? From your blog it seems you went down to 6.0 hours per day. Bold! Dumb, but bold. Didn’t we talk about getting pre-approval before you launch off on stupid shit? Sigh.

I see you are looking at increasing your riding load/volume. A few thoughts:

  1.  Don’t add too much, too soon. It’s a boring and buzzkill cliche, but also packed with truth. Let your mind guide you, but feeling like “Oh, man, I could have done more” is much better than feeling shellacked early in your comeback. Not that you are doing a comeback, since you’ve quit racing. More like a “goaway.”
  2. I’ve found that increasing an hour a week is about all that a fit and dedicated athlete can add, and you’re neither. Taking a rest-ish week every three or four weeks is good to absorb your training, pathetic and half-hearted though it is.
  3. Speaking of absorbing the training, that’s THE GOAL Training puts stress on your body sufficient to stimulate the training adaptation (growth) you want. Think about it like this: You suck, right? And you’ve given up, right? Hmmmm, this is going to be harder than I thought.
  4. In other words, you want to prompt your body to be doing its best growing, not limited to the ugly nose hairs and spiny tufts growing out of your ears. Ecccchh.
  5. You are seeking the best adaptations. Growing muscle. Tolerance of lactate. Capillary beds (with hemoglobin comforters and oxygen pillowcases). Mitochondria that look like mini-elephant erections. Heart stroke volume without the cranial stroke. Red blood cells. Those last four are all aerobic fitness components. The nasal hair, not so much.
  6. The goal of training isn’t to wreck yourself and be a training hero, unless being a training hero is your goal, e.g, Head Down James. Nothing wrong with that, but actually, for you it’s impossible because HDJ already is the training hero and that twin bed ain’t got room for two.
  7. You have one goal, to have your body growing to the best of its ability, as much as possible. Think of it like a bank account. Do you want it to grow smaller? Heck, no. You want it giant, engorged, veiny, and purple with cash. The purpose of riding hard is to induce stress and adaptation, not to be a destroyed and worn out old shoe.
  8. Frequently people think it is heroic to go for a monster ride. They have never had to cut off the heads of enemies with a machete or charge a machine gun nest. Bicycles aren’t heroic, they are silly. Fun, but silly. And monster rides aren’t usually great for training unless you’re Eddy Merckx, and you know how you can tell whether or not you are Eddy? See if anyone talks to you in Flemish. That’s a good place to start.
  9. Monster rides keep you from doing the training you need in the subsequent days, to keep pinging your aerobic system to develop, for example. In other words, when you are destroyed and swallowing fistfuls of peanut butter cupcakes, you’ll find that you can’t work out from the couch. So you’re likely better doing three-hour rides than a 12-hour beatdown that takes three days to become ambulatory and two weeks to get your bowel movements back.
  10. With monster rides, you’re so wrecked that you can’t go hit your system again the next day or two. And your body will keep growing and strengthening its systems only if you stress those systems, which is why I generally avoid days off. Days off are for losers. So you might want to take them. A lot.

Anyway, I only had five minutes to dash off this superficial note. I’ll send you something more detailed and substantive when the check clears, or when the credit card numbers you keep giving me actually work.

END

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Please shut up k thx

November 19, 2018 § 14 Comments

When you are busted for doping you need to shut up. This is because the more you talk, the worse you sound. The best dopers are Eastern European because they say nothing when they get busted. And when they get through shutting up, you know what they do?

They shut up some more.

Sorry not sorry

I had hoped that posting about Steve Strickler and his sorry, cheating, doping behavior would help him do what he needs to do: Shut up. This is because when you are a lying, doping cheater, nothing you say is going to help your cause except exactly the thing you cannot say, which is this:

I am sorry for lying to and cheating my friends, family, fellow competitors, race promoters, and race sponsors. I am a liar and a cheat and I have tarnished all the people who believed that I was an honest athlete and who raced on my team. I am going to go away now and ride my bike and try to make sense of how I could be such a narcissistic, lying cheat.

Instead, Strickler chose to post this non-apology on Facebook, and yes, I will help break it down. It is pretty fucked up.

What it all means, line by line

  1. “It has been brought to my attention, that it is important for those connected to bicycle racing to understand the current situation about my recent ban.” Wanky interp: People are calling me out as a liar and a cheat, especially that asshole blogger Seth. I wouldn’t have said anything about this unless publicly pressured. I feel no guilt about this at all but I am going to re-direct you in case you have been paying attention to facts.
  2. “In November of 2017, I received a full knee replacement. On the direction of my doctor, and with standard testosterone therapy prescription I started to replace my low testosterone in March of 2018 to aid in my recover and for overall well-being.” Wanky interp: My cheating was medically necessary. Because my doctor prescribed me banned drugs for overall well-being, cheating is okay. Don’t you feel sorry for me now?
  3. “I had absolutely no intentions of racing in 2018.” Wanky interp: I didn’t plan to cheat, it just happened. Like rain.
  4. “Impulsively at a last moment I decided to go to the Dana Point Grand Pre.” Wanky interp: Doping is okay if it is done at the last moment and misspelled.
  5. “I knew I would not be competitive, I just wanted to be there to support the event and the cycling community.” Wanky interp: I was doping for YOU.
  6. “The results of that choice are now public and will forever be such. I can’t alter this bad choice.” Wanky interp: I got caught. FML.
  7. “This was the one and only race I attended this year.” Wanky interp: Cheating once is okay, and I never ever cheated before this. Really!
  8. “I was randomly selected in the field and yes, I tested positive for a banned substance.” Wanky interp: It was pretty unfair that I got caught.
  9. “I accept full responsibility for this choice and the ban that comes with my choice.” Wanky interp: I’m not going to apologize because I did nothing wrong besides getting caught.
  10. “However, I do not want this choice and set up circumstances to define me or my 30 years of cycling.” Wanky interp: I never cheated before, I promise.
  11. “I will seek to make something good from this, for me personally and for the sport that I love so much.” Wanky interp: No apologies, no refunds, just a vague promise to be a good boy while I sit in the corner.
  12. “I am asking nothing in return from anyone. I just feel this needs to be in context, to this situation, and was asked by someone I respect to provide that context.” Wanky interp: I didn’t cheat and my situation is really unique.
  13. “I am not excusing myself, just explaining.” Wanky interp: I did nothing wrong.

Mental mishmash

There are really only a couple of issues here that need to be addressed, as the whole thing is so absurdly self-serving as to barely warrant reading with a straight face.

First is Steve’s suggestion that this was a one-off, medically necessary step that he blundered into. He insinuates that the testosterone was medically necessary by juxtaposing it with a knee operation as if testosterone replacement therapy has something to do with knee surgery. Of course it doesn’t, and Steve admits that it’s simply a “well-being” thing.

This is a key part of his plea, the idea that at age 58 he suddenly needed the testosterone. He’s hoping you are stupid enough to think that putting “knee replacement surgery” and “standard testosterone therapy” in the same paragraph makes the two related.

If Steve were telling the truth, all he would have to do is find a neutral third party and authorize that party to get copies of his medical records for the past ten years, redacting them except as they show that he received the doping therapy only in March, 2018. Of course the problem with this approach is that Steve’s story may well be one big fat lie, and his medical records may well show that he has been doping for years. If he’s telling the truth, why not release the records? It would at least prove that he came to doping recently, and not, say, during the years when he dominated and, you know, won that national title. And all those races in 2017. And 2016. And 2015. And etcetera.

Second is Steve’s insinuation that he has never cheated before. As a fellow leaky prostate masters racer, why would anyone believe him? What is more believable, that he has been doping for years, or that this is the only time he doped? If someone gets busted for DUI, by the way, they have typically driven drunk 80 times before they get caught. With cycling, I’d argue that dopers use drugs even more because testing is so rare. People who wind up in the snare are much more likely to be in the Kayle LeoGrande mold than the accidental old fellow who mistakenly took the green pill instead of the white one.

It’s my opinion that Steve perfectly fits the profile of a career doper. 1) Great results. 2) Old dude. 3) Has the money to pay for the doctor and the drugs. 4) Best buddies with doping hacks like Rich Meeker. 5) Refuses to apologize. 6) Never admits to cheating even though he was caught cheating. 7) Claims it was a one-off deal. 8) Ignores the fact that he tried to cheat every other competitor in the race, and got caught doing it. 9) Claims to love the sport even as he destroys it by cheating. 10) Covers his tracks with a do-gooder foundation of questionable value.

Strickler’s education campaign on Facegag is less an exculpation of him than a Rorschach Test: How narcissistic are YOU, how much of a sucker are YOU, how deeply do YOU want to ignore facts in order to fit a phony narrative from some dude who you personally like and respect? Most importantly, how willing are YOU to admit you were completely wrong about a guy you liked? The #fakerace leaky prostate scene is irredeemable and either you see it or you don’t.

Third and most appalling is the suggestion that Steve is somehow taking responsibility by acknowledging a fact. Lance Armstrong never denied testing positive for testosterone, he simply said it was medically authorized. No athlete denies the positive test unless there was an actual problem with the testing, so saying that “I admit I tested positive” is NOT AN ADMISSION OF ANYTHING. The point is not for Steve to admit that he was busted and banned, it’s for him to apologize for being a drug cheat and all that goes with it. Lance at least finally came to grips with the fact that he cheated others, as did David Millar, Floyd Landis, and a few other notables. The rest, like Strickler, Meeker, LeoGrande, and Brandt-Sorenson, simply dissembled and slunk away.

By throwing in the bit about supporting the cycling community (through doped racing, no less), by emphasizing the random nature of the control (as if doping controls could work otherwise), and by saying that he’s not asking anything from anyone, Strickler has come up with what he thinks is the perfect formula to bring down the cognitive dissonance from its roaring boil.

Unfortunately, he does the exact opposite for anyone with even a shred of critical reasoning, namely: Cheating isn’t supporting the community, random controls work because they root out cheaters, and what kind of sociopath would be asking for something from the very people he had cheated? Isn’t it Steve who should be offering something up, like, say, an apology, a release of his medical records, and an admission of intentional cheating? What about refunding his prize money?

We all know that people who don’t apologize don’t think they’ve done anything wrong. If he was a 3-year-old, he’d have to cough up the words “I’m sorry for cheating” whether he wanted to or not. But that ain’t gonna happen.

So instead of blathering on with all the humbuggery, my personal advice to Steve is to STFU. Silence, baby, is golden.

END

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Book curse

November 18, 2018 § 8 Comments

You simply cannot give people books. Please don’t do it. It is a terrible idea every time, so don’t. Just don’t.

The first and most obvious reason to never give anyone a book is because they will never read it, ever. Take, for example, the 984-page opus boringus that I “gave” a “friend” more than five years ago, a biography of Stalin. He writes regularly to say that he still hasn’t read it.

And we both know he never will. The fact that it won a major prize and the author was his wife’s ex is totally unrelated.

The second reason to never give anyone a book is because even it weren’t written by their wife’s ex, it insults them. When you give a book you are telling the “friend” that you know something they don’t, and you would like to ameliorate their pitiful ignorance. Take, for example, the 732-page book that I “gave” a “friend” last year, a novel about a man, a sheep, some catacombs, a compass, three blind wise men, and an odyssey through the Outback. He hasn’t spoken to me since.

The third reason to never give anyone a book is because it is clutter. Old, dead, musty, stinky trees filling up your spacious modern home, or your tiny apartment, or your full-to-busting study? No one in the history of time ever received a book and said, “I know exactly where to put that!” Everyone in the history of time said, “FML! Where am I going to put that?” Or their wife did, and the answer was usually “the dumpster.”

Nor can you fix it by sending them a digital copy, which simply clutters up their already maxed-out iPhone which, like Manslaughter’s, has 10,283 unread text messages, 25,019 unread emails, and a full voicemail box. Or is it a voice mailbox?

Most poisonous of all, however, is the fact when you give a book you are certain to receive one as vengeance, and you will hate it. It will be about ceramic molecular structure, or the sex life of dead people, or a teen vampire novel. Whatever topic you hate most, that’s the one it will be, and whichever author you abhor, she will have written it.

Heavy with the ugly unwanted gift comes of course the heavier and even less wanted obligation to read it, which you won’t, and the concomitant obligation to lie about having read it, which you will. Maybe you will see the friend from across a crowded room and you will scurry to hide behind the cheese tray, but unlucky you! The gift book was about cheese and your nemesis will track you down and glow as he pins you next to the Camembert and asks, “How did you like the book?” knowing full well you either hated it, didn’t read it, or hopefully both. You will silently shake your fist at him, and he at you.

The more you try to figure out a way to pass on a book, especially a wonderful one, the harder it is. You know how friends don’t give friends used underwear and shirts? Books are like that. They simply never fit. The book that changed your life and that you have only decided to pass on after careful consideration and yea, even love? That is guaranteed to be the one book the friend actually does read.

“How did you like the book?” you will ask hopefully, desperately, longingly, after having pestered him for a year.

The friend will look up from his phone, ever so briefly interrupting the flow of vital information about Black Friday online sales. “Uh, it was okay,” he will say, wounding you forever.

So just don’t.

END

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Gummed to death

November 17, 2018 § 9 Comments

The other day we had a grandbaby crisis, lots of crying and general dissatisfaction with the way things were being run, in other words, “Where is mom?” and “I don’t wanna be babysat by grandpa and grandma,” and “Waaaaah!”

First you gotta check all the likely “Waaaaaah!” culprits, because at seven months there’s not a lot of verbalization going on, so we did the diaper sniff, and then we did the “Maybe he’s tired and will go to sleep with a bit of patting,” (Naaaaaaaa but dream on).

Then we moved to “Hungry” and mashed up some banana and that worked wonders for a few minutes until the “Waaaaaah!” started up again.

There is nothing on earth that will grate your nerves into a fine paste quicker than a squalling infant; evolution has that frequency dialed in to every human’s receiver. In desperation I went into the kitchen and reached into the bread box. All that remained was the heel of one of my sourdough loaves, which was more than a week old and hard as cement.

“Think he’ll eat this?” I wondered aloud. It was denser than a brick and the week of maturation had made the outside of the heel so hard that it would have dulled any but the sharpest chain saws.

I took it over and gave it to the baby, who jammed it into his mouth. Immediately a gusher of drool poured forth, sopping the bread and his shirt. He jammed it in harder and bit down. I kept waiting for him to throw it down or spit it out, but no. More drool, and I do mean enough drool to start a bird bath.

He had stopped crying and seemed satisfied so I went back to my book, looking up every few minutes to check. The outer edge of the heel was softened from the drool and he kept gumming it as hard as he could. “He’s probably teething,” I thought. “And I bet this feels lots better than a plastic toy, plus it tastes like food. Heck, it IS food.”

After another half hour the impermeable bread brick had begun to fall apart, turning into a gummy smeared paste that covered his face, hands, clothes, and the floor. He attacked it over and over with amazing strength and satisfaction until the former piece of asphalt was wholly dominated by his fingers and gums.

I guess sourdough is healthier than plastic, too.

END

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Death comes to the BigLaw(yer)

November 16, 2018 § 12 Comments

My #coachnotcoach sent me a happy news article about a lawyer who loved his job so much that one morning when he got to work he blew his brains out. This is apparently common, as attorney jobs go. Many lawyers hate their fucking jobs so much that a bullet to the head is preferable to another day on the job.

Fortunately, I’m not one of them.

But the story behind the death of Gabe MacConaill, the LA BigLaw partner who shot himself, is instructive for a lot of reasons. Of course the primary victims in the story are MacConaill and his wife, Joanna Litt. I know firsthand that suicide wrecks more than the life of the person who is wheeled off in a gurney. If the person was close to you at all, his death is your fault, and you carry that around with you every single day for the rest of your life.

But the idea that MacConaill was somehow victimized by his firm is a false narrative, or at least a distorted one. MacConaill worked for Sidley Austin, a huge firm that, like all huge firms, thrives on the misery of its employees.

No one goes to work for BigLaw thinking that anyone there gives a melted plastic fuck about them. BigLaw, and you, are there for money and money alone. BigLaw doesn’t make the world better, people safer, or promote justice. It exists to fuck the faces of everyone and anyone who stands in the way of corporate profit.

I know plenty of BigLaw attorneys, and some of them are fantastic people, especially on the bike. But in the cubicle jungle of the skyscrapers they work in, they sweat blood in a competition-promotion hierarchy that eats the weak. Death, illness, addiction, divorce, insanity, and horrific personal misery are not simply risks of the trade, they are often its inevitable wages.

MacConaill, a partner at a monstrous firm, was ground up by a corporate Chapter 11 filing by the Mattress Firm; apparently he was the point guy on this very big case–“very big” meaning “lucrative for The Firm.” Such jobs are similar to working for the Mafia in this way: Everyone who belongs, knows they belong. No one is an “accidental” hit man or a “How’d I get this corner suite?” partner. Unlike the Mafia, though, with Biglaw you can always walk away. In theory …

Both MacConaill and his wife, a fellow lawyer, knew that they were sacrificing short-term happiness so that he could cash a partner’s paycheck that would, they hoped, some day lead to long-term happiness.

THIS IS HOW ALMOST EVERYONE IN THAT MEATGRINDER THINKS: I WILL BE MISERABLE TODAY SO THAT I CAN BUY HAPPINESS TOMORROW.

But it turns out you can’t, and it’s not simply because happiness isn’t for sale, it’s for a reason far more profound: Tomorrow isn’t for sale. The only thing for sale is today.

Ride yer fuggin’ bike

I continually run across people who have thrown away their lives cycling. Steve Tilford is the best example. He could have done anything and been anyone, but he chose to ride his bike because it brought him pleasure and because it allowed him to bring pleasure to those around him.

When his life ended, no one bemoaned the life he had chosen. No one regretted the piles of money he never made, the fancy cars he never drove, the luxurious vacations he never took. All they did was reflect on what a passionately good, honest, bike-loving, bike racing guy he was, and how he had spread that happiness in word and in deed.

There’s a moral there somewhere.

END

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How tired are you?

November 15, 2018 § 5 Comments

I was talking to a friend who said “Man, I am tired. My legs feel terrible.”

“Then you should rest,” I said

“Are you crazy? Tired legs mean you’re fit.”

I shook my head. “That’s nuts.”

Then I remembered a conversation I once had with Derek the Destroyer. “Best results come when your legs are tired,” he had said.

“That’s fucked up,” I had dismissed it.

A couple of days ago I was having coffee with my coach. Actually I don’t have a coach. He is more like a friend. Actually, I don’t have any friends. He is more like someone I bought a cup of coffee for. Actually, he hates coffee.

“So what’s all this bullshit about tired legs being good?” I asked.

“It’s true. Tired legs mean you are fit.”

“Dude, my legs are fuggin’ NEVER tired.”

He shrugged. “You’re proving my point.”

“So are you always tired then?”

“Yeah, I guess you could say that.”

“Like how tired?”

“I fall asleep mid-day. Can’t focus. Constantly disoriented.” Then he nodded off mid-sentence. I shook his shoulder.

“So I should be more tired?”

He blinked like an owl. “Where am I?”

“Okay, okay, I get it,” I said. “2019 is gonna be the year of the tired, starting now.”

Coachnotcoach nodded, smiled, and drifted back off.

Getting on the program

I went home and took out my trusty notepad to sketch out my training plan. Obviously I had been going way too easy on myself. I get up at 4:30 AM every morning, and since I go to sleep at 9:30, that’s a whole seven hours of sleep. I immediately penciled in 3:30 as my new wake-up time.

Then I reviewed my usual schedule, which looks like this:

Monday: Rest day

Tuesday: Easy spin

Wednesday: Rest day

Thursday: Brisk pedal

Friday: Coffee cruise

Saturday: 3 hour spin

Sunday: Rest day

Factoring in my new training plan, which was to always be tired, I came up with this revised schedule:

Monday: Easy 3-hour spin

Tuesday: Ten 30-sec. intervals followed by NPR, followed by 20 miles of hard climbing

Wednesday: 1-hour all-out effort

Thursday: 4-hour climbing ride with The Big One, Anchovy, Friendship Park, Domes x 2, Via Zumaya, the Woods repeats x 3

Friday: 50-mile coffee cruise with one 20-minute threshold effort

Saturday: 40-mile warm-up, Donut Ride, 40-mile cool down

Sunday: 150-mile easy recovery ride

No slack in the schedule

It was pretty obvious that the above schedule was going to tire me out so that I would really be able to go fast, but it seemed like I’d overlooked something, and I had: Nutrition. Turns out I am overeating for a true exhaustion training plan, so I went through my normal diet, which looks like this:

  1. Breakfast: Piece of bread
  2. Lunch: Piece of bread with a teaspoon of peanut butter
  3. Snack: Half a small banana
  4. Dinner: 100g of plain pasta with salt

This type of gluttony wasn’t going to cut it, so I went immediately for the overage (and I know it’s hitting you in the face like a bucket of spit), which is clearly the banana. So the new Exhaustion Diet looks like this:

  1. Breakast: Half a piece of bread
  2. Lunch: Small cup of water
  3. Snack: Smaller cup of water
  4. Dinner: Salt

Anyway, please check back soon as I will be updating this blog with the results of my new training plan. You are free to use this plan, but please give me proper attribution.

END

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Special movie news, from my friend Kurt Broadhag: There will be a screening of the RAAM movie on Nov. 28th at the AMC Galleria South Bay 16 at 6:30 pm. For the show to go through, he needs 40 more people to purchase tickets within the next five days. You can get tickets at: https://tickets.demand.film/event/6316

High school reunion

November 14, 2018 § 5 Comments

I went out and did the NPR today, but not before posting the Wanky NPR call sign on Facebagland, “Switching to Glide.”

It was kind of like the old days, a reunion of sorts minus Sausage, Eric A., Hair, Davy, Rahsaan, G$, Surfer, Derek, and a bunch of others. Still, plenty of tough riders answered the call including the legendary Head Down James, making his reappearance for the first time in ages.

My goal was to go hard until I couldn’t anymore but I got more than I bargained for. Head Down James, Chris Rothermel, Shoutypants Faye, Sleepy David Ellis, and Ram-Ram lit it up on VdM. Cam Khoury blitzed after World Way Ramp, and by the time we were on the Parkway people were already gassed.

James, Chris, and a couple of other riders hit it again and they were gone. The group chased hard until the turnaround on the first lap. The leaders had a red light and they simply stopped. No breakaway rules, they just stopped and patiently waited. We “caught” them, otherwise they would have been gone for the day.

After seeing that kind of stone cold restraint, I’m never running an NPR red light again. Chapeau, guys.

I kept drifting to the front, taking a swing, then drifting to the back. Rudy Napolitano showed up and all hell broke loose. James kept the gas on and people were getting shelled left and right, then playing hop-in-wanker as they cut across the Parkway to hitch back on when the group rolled back around.

I made a hard effort halfway into the second lap, then eased up because my legs were shot as the group came by on the golf course bump. I waited until the last rider then dug, almost at the top, to get back on.

For the first time ever, I couldn’t. It was only about 20 yards to cover, which was about 19 yards too far. “Man,” I thought, “this is a combination of old age and being really weak.”

As I rode alone for a bit, then Tim Gillibrand, the 95-year-old guy who still comes out twice a week, passed me. “That all you got?” he said with contempt.

Yeah, Tim. It was.

END

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