Can I borrow your girlfriend?

June 1, 2017 § 37 Comments

Everybody gets in a funk every now and then. When it hits me, my usual sunny disposition turns sour, which is kind of like sour milk getting sour-er. Most of the time that my navel gets twisted into a knot it’s because of some other human being. Often, they don’t even know they’re standing on my hangnail, although most of the time they do.

Why do people have to be dicks?

Answer: Because they’re people.

Down the street there is a grocery store and next to the grocery store there is a bakery called Meyer’s. You should make a note of that name because they make great donuts. They also make lights-out lunch sandwiches for $4.99 that put the neighboring Subway in the shade, but that is another story, a story about helping people instead of multi-billion dollar corporations.

Usually a group of cyclists congregates there before starting their ride. Even though they’re neighbors I’ve never ridden with any of them and and have never stopped to chat. They are always enjoying their coffee and donuts and laughing and it’s kind of fun to walk by and check out their equipment and listen to snatches of their conversation as I pass, kind of like being a spy.

One of the dudes rides a giant yellow recumbent. I’d recognize that thing anywhere.

Several days ago my wife and I were down at the Golden Cove Starbucks. If you are reading this and you live in Stavanger or somewhere and you’re thinking about one day visiting SoCal and you like crappy coffee, you’d better mark this place down because it has the best view of any Starbucks in the world, parked as it is on the edge of the continent so that you can gaze out over the Pacific and watch migrating blue whales and Catalina Island and sunsets while you realize that the coffee doesn’t matter at all.

As I was drinking THE ONE DRINK THAT STARBUCKS GETS RIGHT, I noticed that our table was next to that big yellow recumbent. Over across the way was its owner, sitting with his buddies and enjoying the day. Bikers clumped in a little group always look happy. Always. Unlike, for example, lawyers clumped in a little group.

My wife and I were talking about — surprise — bikes. My eldest son is coming home from Vienna for a couple of weeks and in addition to making sure the couch cushions were nicely plumped up for him I had been wondering where I was going to get an extra bike.

He isn’t a cyclist but he is a cyclist. We have had some epic rides together and even though he will be slow and out of shape, or rather because he will be slow and out of shape, I had been racking my brain for a bike.

The recumbent dude finished his coffee and came to get his steed. We started chatting and I told him I always saw him up by the grocery store and it turned out that we both knew Tony Jabuka (who doesn’t?) and I learned about the terrible physical problem he has with his arm that made him switch over to a recumbent.

“What kind of road bike did you have?”

“I still have it. A steel Fuji. Super nice bike.”

“I love steel bikes.”

“Yep. It’s a bummer climbing Hawthorne on this monster,” he said, pointing to Ol’ Yeller, “but the worst bike is better than the best couch.”

Having known this guy for five entire minutes but still not knowing his name I took a leap. “Hey, my son is coming into town for a few weeks and I need another bike so we can ride together.”

He looked at me for a second, because he’d just finished telling me about some crooks who had burgled his house. I got the feeling that his faith in humanity wasn’t at its highest. “Yeah?” he said.

“Any chance I could borrow that Fuji? It would only be a couple of months. We’ll be extra careful.”

He hesitated not at all. Not even a flicker of doubt. “Sure. Where do you live?”

“Up in the apartments over by the grocery store.”

“Let me give you my cell number. I’m here in RPV too, and I’m around for the weekend. Just holler. It would be awesome to know that bike is being ridden.”

We exchanged numbers.

“Okay, man, gotta go,” he said, and rode off, just like that. And it’s kind of weird, but when I turned back to my wife to enjoy THE ONE DRINK THAT STARBUCKS GETS RIGHT and the best view on the continent, my sour mood had somehow ridden off into the sunset, too.

END

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The lives of a bike

May 31, 2017 § 42 Comments

I met a friend yesterday for lunch. He was one of those friends who I somehow know even though he doesn’t cycle or have anything to do with cycling. It’s surreal to have conversations with people who don’t ride, if only because eventually the conversation gets ’round to … cycling.

He told me about his brother, who recently got into cycling. “My brother, he is crazy for biking,” my friend said.

“Really?” I asked, hoping against hope that we would talk about the weather, politics, home improvement, dirty laundry, anything but cycling.

“Yeah, it’s really weird. Like, he rides all the time.”

“Really?”

“Yeah, huge distances, races and stuff. One time he rode a hundred miles.”

“Really?”

“Incredible, huh? And he did it in one day.”

“A whole day?”

“I couldn’t believe it, either. And his bike cost a fortune, man.”

“Really?”

“More than a car. I mean not really, but ten grand, easy.”

“Really?”

“I shit you not. And his isn’t even the most expensive bike out there.”

“Really?”

“Sky is the limit. You can spend twenty grand on a bicycle. Can you believe that? Twenty grand on a bicycle.”

“Really?”

“The world has gotten crazy, man. How about your bike? Is it one of those crazy expensive ones, too?”

“Not that expensive. Not cheap, but not ten grand or even close to it.”

“Yeah, he’s gone overboard. But you know what?”

“What?”

“He’s lost a ton of weight. And that bike is a hell of a lot cheaper than a day in the hospital.”

“Really?”

“I mean it’s crazy. He’s down seventy pounds. In one year. Can you believe that?”

“Wow.”

“He looks like you.”

“Really?”

“It’s crazy. You know I run and try to stay fit but I wish I could lose fifty pounds. It’s hard, man. Crazy hard.” He squeezed his gut with a wry laugh. “You biker dudes are all so fucking skinny. But it’s crazy, how expensive the gear is. It didn’t used to be like that, man.”

“No, it didn’t.”

“You know, I used to ride a bike.”

“Really?”

“Yeah, when I was in college. I got a racing bike, actually, a Bianchi. You know it?”

“Was it green by any chance?”

“It was! How’d you know that?”

“Lucky guess.”

“Yeah, it was a beautiful bike. I loved that bike. I rode it everywhere. It was so comfortable. And fast. Beautiful chrome parts.”

“I bet. Those were nice bikes.”

“But it’s nothing like the new ones. It only cost $700, which was a lot of money in 1988. You couldn’t buy any kind of bike now for $700. But I loved riding that bike, man.”

“Why’d you stop?”

“You ever try to pick up a chick on a bike?”

I didn’t say anything.

“It just wasn’t cool after I graduated. I got a car and a job and that was pretty much that. You know, you’re young and you think you’ll get back to it some day, and you never do. Then you get out of shape and it’s distant dream. But I loved that bike, man.”

“What happened to it?”

“I’ve still got it hanging in my garage. It’s in perfect condition.”

“Really?”

“That’s what got my brother started a couple of years ago. He came over and asked could he borrow it and I was like, ‘Sure, take it, man,’ and a year later he brings it back, all tuned up and shiny and new tires and everything and is like, ‘Thanks, I’m getting one for myself now,’ and so I hung it back up. His new bike, man, it’s fancy. He had to buy all new clothes, he lost so much weight.”

“You ever think about getting back on it?”

“All the time, man. Every day. But I’m so fucking out of shape I couldn’t hardly make it down the block. And I live on a really hilly street. Plus that bike is so old.”

“It worked for your brother, didn’t it?”

“You know, you’re right. And he was fatter than I am, man.”

“Those old bikes are so comfortable and smooth. And they ride great. Some people prefer them to the new stuff.”

“No shit? Even with the shifters? You gotta reach down to change the gears, man. Nowadays it’s all on the handlebars. I’d feel kind of uncool, you know? Riding an old bike like that.”

“You show up on that thing and people will admire the hell out of it. Those bikes have class and style.”

“Really?”

“Really. Like dropping your kid off at school in a ’66 Corvette.”

“When I get home can I send you a picture of it? You can tell me if you think it’s okay to ride.”

“Sure. But it worked for your brother. It’ll work for you. It’s waiting to save your life. That’s what it lives for.”

I got back to the office and a few hours later the picture had arrived.

bianchi2

END

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Girl’s wrists

May 28, 2017 § 10 Comments

My wrists are really small and narrow. And you know what they say about men with small wrists, right? Small wristwatches.

My go-to wristwatch for cycling is the Timex Expedition’s girl model. It has a nite light for  2:00 AM leaky prostate issues, and a couple of alarms (one to wake you up, another to get you out of bed), a timer, and a stopwatch.

I like this wristwatch so much that I lose about two of them every year. At races when I change I have to take it off and set it somewhere. “Don’t forget to put it back on,” I always remind myself so that I can forget to put it back on. Then I get home and realize it was on the roof, or the hood, or the hatch, and I shop for another one.

Although I’m low tech I’m not no-tech, and I have to have a watch so I can at least a) get to the start on time and b) know how many minutes are left before I have to sprunt for 38th.

After yesterday’s TTT debacle, I lost my watch again and instead of ordering another one online Mrs. WM and I decided to go shopping. Since I wasn’t riding and haven’t been shopping for a few years it seemed like a great idea to see how the normals spend their Sunday. It was actually kind of complicated. It’s harder to get ready to go shopping than to go race yer fuggin’ bike.

I carefully selected the least ragged pair of jeans, the least washed-out BWR t-shirt, and the shoes that were in line to be worn today. First we stopped at Target. “They have lotsa Timexes,” Mrs. WM assured me.

I immediately found a very petite black one with a cute black-and-white stripe. It took me several minutes to decide between that one and the powder blue model, but I decided on black because it looked more manly.  Then I wondered if I were really getting a good deal, so I looked it up online and found out that it was on sale for $8 less over across the way at Wal-Mart. “Hey, let’s go save $8 at Wal-Mart,” I said.

In my family, we’ll spend $30 on gas to save $8, so I was surprised when she nixed it. “Thatsa no good onna Wal-Mart. They sellin’ guns and ain’t havin’ a good policy for transpeople’s bathrooms so I ain’t goin’ over there.” Which sealed it. If you can’t have gun-free, gender-equitable toilets, you’re not getting Mrs. WM’s business, or by extension, mine.

The whole selection and checkout process took ten or eleven minutes and I was totally exhausted.

“Okay, let’s go home,” I said. “I’m beat.”

Mrs. WM looked at me funny. “We just got started. Now we’re onna mall.”

“Mall?” I said. “We just spent the whole morning at Target.”

“Itsa fifteen minutes. We’re goin.”

At the Del Amo Fashion Center Mall I realized that I was not very fashionable. We stopped at Starbucks and because we were there so early, it was before 11:00, there were only twenty people in line. All of them seemed happy to wait, and each person who ordered something skinny or low-fat wasn’t.

I got a double espresso and sat down while they screwed up Mrs. WM’s drink. We were too far out of PV for them to get her Asian name right. She eventually came to the table smiling. “They almost got it onna no mistakes! Thatsa good for a Starbucks dummies!”

“What do you mean? Your name’s Yasuko, not Yuko.”

She was undeterred. “But Yuko’s onna Japanese name. Usually they mess alla everything up.” She had a point.

yuko_san

Next we went to Nordstrom’s and on the way I admired the playscape for dads.

dads_corner

“What’re we going to Nordstrom’s for?” I asked.

“Itsa shoes sales.”

The last time I’d been at Del Amo mall it was a grungy place with a Cinnabon every ten feet and lots of scruffy normals. Since then they gave the mall a full body Euro wax, and I realized that whereas I ride my bike all week so that I can go perform at races on the weekend, the mall is where guys who work out at the gym all week go to perform their public flexing.

The normals all looked really happy, walking from shop to shop and shopping. Every store had everything on sale, which I guess meant that normally they were really ripping you off, or their sale price was still overpriced, or both. Mrs. WM visited a dozen places and bought something.

Finally we left the mall and then went to Costco and then to Home Depot, gradually going down the foodchain from Nordstrom couture to Home Depot’s hairy-bellybutton-peeking-out-of-t-shirt, and finished at Wing Stop. Every couple of months I like to take Ms. WM out to a fancy lunch, so we ordered the ten wing set and two big cups of water.

The employees were staring at me as I ate. I still can’t figure out why.

cat_1_wing_eater

END

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Balloon day

May 26, 2017 § 16 Comments

My 11-day rest period got truncated to 9. I figured I should have at least one spin day before the TTT on Saturday, and that since the 11th day fell on the TTT itself, it would be bad form to simply not show up.

It’s funny how getting out of your bike routine causes things to happen that wouldn’t happen otherwise, generally because you have more time and more energy. I had finished work yesterday when suddenly a babysitting opportunity was thrust upon me. Sometimes the best way to babysit is to go with the flow. You end up learning stuff that way.

Rin-chan wanted to take a walk so I let him outside. He didn’t have any shoes and seemed to be in a hurry, so off we went. He walked down the stairs, slowly, one hand on the rail and one tiny hand clutching mine. Nothing makes you feel more protective than having a tiny, warm, soft hand in your old, wrinkled one.

It took a long time to get down the stairs, which isn’t surprising when you consider that the rise of each step was half his entire height. We got to the bottom and walked by the fountain. Rin-chan stopped and picked up some rocks. He threw the rocks into the fountain. He watched the splashes.

Splashes are interesting.

We walked down some more stairs and stopped by a bush. The bush had bright red berries. He knew from past experience that they tasted bad. He grabbed a few and walked down to the stream coursing out from the bottom of the fountain. Rin-chan threw the berries, one by one, into the stream and watched them float, bob, get caught in eddies, get forced upstream, swirl back down, get into another eddy, then pop under and have the current whisk them away forever.

This took a long time, and was also very interesting, and when it finished he went and got some more berries, one in each fist. But he didn’t throw them into the stream.

Next stop was the laundromat. When you go in, the light switches on automatically. That was interesting. There were also lint balls under the bench, which were interesting too, and fun to pick up and squish and pat.

Rin-chan then went out through the side gate, down the stone steps, and crossed the street. When he got to the other side he squatted and rolled a red berry down the gutter. The street was steep and the berry rolled quickly away. This was funny and worth laughing at, so much so that he followed that berry with the other one. It rolled away, too. He laughed some more.

Rolling red berries are interesting and funny. When is the last time you laughed at a red berry?

We walked for a while, down to Hawthorne, and along the sidewalk to Indian Peak, which is a busy intersection. All the backed up cars looked at his bare feet and people smiled. He tiptoed up to push the crosswalk button, and we dashed across. That was exciting. He tripped and fell, got back up, and dashed some more.

Sometimes tripping and falling is part of the process.

Our next stop was the Malaga Bank parking lot, where he found some trash and took it over to the trash can. Following that we walked down to the Pavilions, but before we got there he went into the Wells-Fargo, walked to the end and back, and then we went out, where there was a bench. He crawled up on the bench to take a break, and reached for me to come sit down, too.

So I did and we rested, even though it wasn’t the seventh day. Yet.

benched

After a few minutes Rin-chan clambered down from the bench and went into the supermarket. We walked up the aisles and down the aisles. Everyone looked at his bare feet. Some people smiled but some people frowned. I felt sorry for the frowners.

We walked out of the supermarket and down the sidewalk to the next entrance. Rin-chan walked in and looked at himself on the surveillance camera. He was handsome. Then he spied the balloons and reached for one. The balloons were very interesting!

balloons

After a while he got tired and raised his arms in the air, which meant “Carry me.”

I put him on my shoulders. He was very heavy and we had to walk a long way, all of it uphill. After about five minutes my everything was aching. But perched on my shoulders was a warm bundle whose hands grabbed my ears and tufts of hair.

I don’t know if he was smiling, but I was.

END

Preach, brother

May 23, 2017 § 33 Comments

I am fairly reticent to preach about sobriety, and that’s mostly because I don’t really feel like I’m qualified. My reformed-drunk bona fides are pretty slim. I know tons of people who’ve been bone dry for 20, 30, even 40 or more years, but me? I don’t even know exactly when I quit drinking. I only know I haven’t had a drink today.

And frankly, my dear, that’s the only fuggin’ unit of time for me that matters.

Lots of times I want to write about being sober, and what it’s like seeing beer everywhere you look. Yummy, foamy, hoppy, alcohol-infused beer that is 100% pure beer. And I want to tell people that hey, being sober sucks in a lot of ways, well, actually, it only sucks in one way, and that is this: No one has figured out how to be drunk and sober at the same time. You have to pick.

My aversion to preaching about sobriety and preaching in general runs in the family. My dad was going to be a Baptist preacher when he grew up, but then he left the small goat stop that was El Paso in the 50’s and went to the University of Texas and met a Jew. My dad started lecturing the Jew about Christianity and his soul, and fire and brimstone, and all the good stuff that awaited him at the feet of Jesus.

The Jew, whose name was Abe (of course), listened patiently. He was a few years older than my dad and considerably better versed in the world. “Well, Chandler,” he said, “what if, after reading these fables of yours, a person doesn’t believe them?”

And that stopped my dad in his tracks, because for the first eighteen years of his life in Goatsville no one had ever raised the possibility that there were people who would refuse to believe the New Testament when confronted with it. He had been taught that the only barrier to everyone becoming a Baptist was their failure to have had the whole thing properly explained. This shock was the beginning of the end of Christianity for my dad, even though the final denouement didn’t come until he was in the navy, swabbing the decks of the U.S.S. Thomaston, a landing-ship dock. In between swabs he became an atheist, just like that. In the way that Jake and Elwood saw the light in the Blues Brothers, my dad unsaw it. The light went under a cold slosh from a bucket of seawater. [More than sixty years later my dad was visiting California and looked up Abe, who lives in Santa Monica, and called him up. Abe had zero recollection of any of this, but they got together and had a marvelous afternoon as my dad regaled him with how Abe had saved my dad’s soul from organized religion.]

But the point of this story was that dad’s conversation with Abe killed his preaching blues, and from that day forth he stopped preaching. So it runs against the Davidson grain to preach, and that’s partly why I don’t like to talk too much about being a drunk. Conversion zeal is oily in all its forms, and I kind of figure hey, if you are a drunk you had better quit, unless of course you don’t want to, in which case you should carry on, because it’s your life. My uncle Phil drank himself to death and was as happy as a clam until his last day on earth.

The reason I bring this up is because even though I’m no expert on sobriety, from time to time people, usually ex-drunks themselves, will make a quiet comment to the effect of, “Good job, wanker. Keep it up.”

And you know what? Those attaboys matter. They matter a lot. One part of the sobriety equation is knowing that people are watching, that people care. Not bike racer watching, i.e. watching in the hope the other guy fails, but human watching, friends and sometimes utter strangers for whom your battle matters and who are looking to hold you to account if you falter, and pat you on the back if you make it another day or another year or another five stinking seconds.

If you’re a drunk and want to dry out, you can. The bad news is that you have to do it alone. Nobody can do it for you. But the good news is that your fellow ex-drunks want you to succeed. It does more than validate them. Your effort helps keep them sober, too. You’re not some statistic, you’re a real person, and when you fight, well, you will find that when you look over your shoulder you have a lot more people in your corner than you ever imagined. You can be a drunk if you want to be, but it’s not required or foreordained. Sobriety is one straightened elbow away.

I’m writing all this because my dad sent me a Vote For Me email by a Houston judge, Judge Steven Kirkland. His election campaign pitch? “I used to be a drunk and I’ve been sober for 33 years. Sobriety has made me more honest and a kinder person.”

That’s pretty fuggin’ rad. That’s a guy I’d like to have in a black robe pronouncing judgment on my bicycling transgressions. That’s someone who has gone far beyond recovery and is way, way, way down the road of using his tribulations to lessen those of others.

And Judge Kirkland didn’t mention it, but being sober sure makes bicycling a lot more fun, too.

END

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Cycle travel

May 20, 2017 § 23 Comments

Now that I’ve been home for a few days I’ve had some time to reflect on bicycle travel. Mainly, I want to do more of it. Perhaps the most exciting part of bicycle travel is studying, and I mean studying really hard, super extra-hard, to learn the foreign language of the country that you intend to visit so that you can have a great time never using it and instead talking to everyone in English except when you very cleverly ask the waiter for more water or where’s the bathroom can I please have a hamburguesa.

Before I went to Mallorca this time I studied Spanish for a year beforehand. No one in Mallorca speaks Spanish, or, more accurately, wanted to with me. Especially our Norwegians, who were pinned from morning to night teaching us how to speak English.

The only lengthy convo I had in Spanish in ten days was doing the security check on Delta with the nice lady who was standing between me and the gate in Madrid as I tried to get home. She interviewed every single passenger, or at least the suspicious ones, well, okay, me.

“Where have you been?” she inquired.

“All your life?” I asked, trying to make a joke that didn’t work at all.

“In Spain,” she said, harshly.

“Mallorca.”

“Doing what?”

“Bicycling with Norwegians and Texans and Coloradans and a Virginian.”

“How many days?”

“About ten.”

“Do you speak Spanish?”

“Yes.”

She immediately switched to Spanish. “Any other languages?”

“Yes.”

“Which ones?”

“French, German, Chinese, Japanese, and I also happen to speak well English goodly.”

She got really suspicious. “Do you use these languages for your work?”

“No,” I said.

“Why so many?”

“So I can speak with people like you in order to get back on the plane into the U.S.”

“How did you learn them?”

“I studied.”

She was unhappy with all these answers, so she went back to the beginning, hoping to trip me up. “What were you doing in Mallorca?”

“Bicycling.”

“Anything else?”

“Watching the Norwegians win the drinking competition and watching the Americans win the hangover competition.”

She scowled some more. “Why do you speak so many languages? If it’s not for your job, it’s not normal.”

“That describes me,” I said.

“What does?”

“Not normal.”

“Your Spanish is excellent. How did you learn it?”

“When I was 13 I got put in Mrs. Simon’s Spanish class at Jane Long Junior High by mistake. She named me ‘Franciso.'”

“Oh, you learned it in school.”

“No. They kicked me out of class when they found out it was for 9th Graders and I was only in 7th. I really hoped that they would put me in Mrs. Barrett’s class, I had a huge crush on her. She also taught Texas history and every year took the kids to the Alabama-Coushatta Indian Reservation, but she got divorced and moved out of state. I was totally in love with her.”

“Then how did you learn it if you were ejected from all classes?”

“Juan taught me, from El Salvador.”

“Who is he?”

“My parents got divorced when I was 15 and my dad was living in this little apartment complex off Braes Bayou called The Governor’s House, and Juan was the maintenance man, he had fled El Salvador’s civil war and he’d always be hanging around looking for somebody to chat with instead of maintaining, and I was kind of lonely and he taught me Spanish because he couldn’t speak a lick of English and I still remembered how to say, ‘My name is Francisco’ from my two days in Mrs. Simon’s class back in 7th Grade.”

“So you learned everything from a maintenance man? Can you read Spanish?”

“Yes.”

“Did the maintenance man teach you?”

“No, that was later in high school when I took Spanish from Mrs. Perez.”

“How many years was that?”

“Two, but I failed both years and didn’t learn anything.”

“Then why can you read?”

“Because in college I took Spanish with Ms. Elias Barrientos. I aced Spanish then because I’d failed it so much in high school.”

“Okay,” she said. “You can board.”

“Don’t you want to know how I learned Japanese?” I asked.

“No,” she said.

Which was a bummer, because I wanted to tell her about Dr. Fish Doctor, who taught me my first kanji in a subway. I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone that story before.

END

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Deep in the overtrained hole

May 17, 2017 § 14 Comments

When I got back from my trip I knew that something was wrong. It wasn’t simply the exhaustion of travel and being away from home and a few hard days of riding, but something much worse.

I figured I might be overtrained. Why? Because prior to leaving for Mallorca I had ridden pretty hard beginning in December. Then, about a month before my trip I put in a crazy block of stupid hard riding that included one 60-minute TT workout each week. The icing on the cake was that a few days before flying out I had one of those magical no-chain days.

So, I was leaving town on something close to a peak, or as close to one as I’m capable of getting, more like a gentle bump, or at least a non-acute decline.

In Mallorca there was some hard riding, but what was killing is that the days were so brutally long. We’d spend 7.5 hours to ride 70 miles. On my best worst day, I did 140 miles but it took 11.5 hours. Even Wanky Math couldn’t make these numbers work because I’ve been riding at just under ten hours a week all year, and 11.5 seems plainly greater than 10. Even taking two full days off in Mallorca didn’t help, because each “rest” day was followed by more pretty hard riding, or PHR (technical term).

Back home I vowed to take off a couple of days before testing my legs at Telo Worlds, but instead I took one day off and should have seen the writing on my legs then and there. What were these heavy, cement-covered appendages that rebelled at even the thought of pedaling?

At Telo Worlds it was much worse, sixty minutes of agony followed by a one-hour pedal back through Despair Swamp, up Col d’Defeat, along the Wreckage Rollers, all the way to a glorious pity party at home I had arranged in my honor. I was asleep by 9:30 and awoke this morning twice as tired as when I went to bed.

My morning coffee and fresh Ms. WM Special Homebaked Bread tasted awful, that’s how bad I felt. Okay, that’s a total lie. The coffee and bread were heavenly. But still, it adds significance to my condition to lie like that because apparently one symptom of overtraining is loss of appetite.

Knowing I was overtrained and needed rest I dragged myself out of bed at 5:00 AM sharp to do Internet research on overtraining. It always annoys the shit out of me when people describe Google searching as “research.” Why can’t they just say, “I googled cycling + porn”? Why do they have to say “research?” For fuck’s sake, people.

Another indicator of overtraining is irritability.

The Internet, as we all know, is useless, but it did indicate that I’m not overtrained. Overtraining is actually rare. What I am is something much more ridiculous. I’m a victim of non-functional overreaching. When I first read this I thought maybe that was porn talk for a failed reacharound, but no.

Non-functional overreaching is when you are really old and delusional and ride about 20 years younger than you should. Everything gets saggy and droopy and you hate life. I read a detailed discussion of the Men’s Fitness Warning Signs for failed reacharounds, and also reviewed the scientific literature, read Joel Friel’s take on it, read Bunny McTavish’s Internet Coach Training Tips on Overtraining, and was overwhelmed by the fact that nowadays everything on the Internet that purports to be a substantive discussion is boiled down into a bulleted list, presumably because no one has enough of an attention span anymore to read, you know, actual paragraphs. So I’ve condensed everything ever written or known about NFOR/overtraining below so that you can quickly make a scientific diagnosis without having to do more “research.” In short, you are suffering from NFOR if you are:

  1. Slow as shit.
  2. Irritable as shit.
  3. Tired as shit.

This is kind of problematic for me because I’m 1 & 2 regardless of my cycling regimen, and 3 whenever I work, which is all the time. So I may either be suffering from NFOR or I may just be a congenital dick.

You be the judge. But don’t invite me on a ride. I’m taking the next eleven days off. Sorry, ten. I mean, seven. Until Saturday.

Really.

END

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