Two wheels cut both ways

September 9, 2016 § 50 Comments

Something that bothers me about cyclists also bothers a lot of cagers, but it bothers us for different reasons. Because this is a family blog, and in addition to false dichotomies, vulgarity is also eschewed here, I will politely refer to this problems as “biker dicks.”

What is a biker dick? To certain cagers, a biker dick is someone on a bicycle. Simply riding makes you a candidate for punishment. To these folks, a biker dick is someone who takes the lane, slows them down, wears colorful underwear, imagines that each pedal stroke saves a baby whale, and of course threatens our American Way of Life and Making Donald Drumpf Again by running stop signs.

I’m not concerned about those biker dicks, because they’re not dicks. They’re moms, dads, prison releasees, kids, hipsters, bums, employed people, and other ordinary humans going about their business, just going about it on a bike. Carry on, you angels of awesomeness.

The biker dicks that bother me don’t really happen much in traffic, although plenty of cyclists get irate and do things that you won’t find approved of here, and use language and gestures that you won’t find approved of here. They also salmon, don’t wear helmets, and blah blah blah. Hey, if you’re dumb enough to seek death like that, seek away.

The biker dicks that bother me are much worse than those who go off on cagers or who scofflaw through traffic control devices at 6:00 AM with no one present.

I’m talking about the biker dicks who are abusive, threatening, and, yes, even injurious to vulnerable road users. When bikes are the vulnerable road user, the cagers who have the ability to crush them get zero slack in my book. Your car is bigger, heavier, deadlier, and your risk is close to zero. So slow the fuck down and show some respect for human life. If you can’t chuckle when some tweezly wanker shows you the middle finger and calls you something you normally giggle at when Bill Maher says it, take a breath or a bong hit or whatever.

But what about when the shoe’s on the other foot or, more aptly, when the wheels are on the bike path? I’ll tell you what. There is a whole slew of assholes on bikes who treats vulnerable road users, and by that I mean pedestrian meatbags, moms with strollers, old people taking a walk, kids on skateboards, and small people learning to ride tiny bikes with training wheels, with the same contempt and disregard for safety that many cagers treat us with when we’re cycling in the roadway.

How many walkers, hugging the right side of the bike path, going in a straight line, not bothering one single human being, have been accosted at the last second by some screaming, snot-blowing, wannabe jerk on a bike with the immortal shriek, “On your left!”

I wish I had a nickel for every skidmark that’s been created by these biker dick war hollers.

What’s worse, some nasty, aggressive, and potentially violent cyclists seem to have an affinity for being especially abusive to women. A friend who is a cyclist and a runner (we forgive you your jogging transgressions, DP), was on the bike path a few days ago with a cop friend. Cop had big quads and looked coppish as they jogged. Bikes gave them room and said squat even though they were two abreast. This reminds me exactly of how cagers behave when there’s a pack of cyclists. STFU and keep moving.

As soon as the cop jogged off, though, my friend, an Asian woman now jogging alone, became the target of endless last minute “On your left!” screams and even of a vile racist insult by one passing biker dick.

What is wrong with you assholes? When you are on the bike path it isn’t the autobahn, and every fool with tri-bars or a TT rig who’s trying to set the land speed record on a multi-use path with pedestrian meatbags is by definition an asshole. The same thing that cars have to do when there’s nothing but your underwear between you and two tons of steel is the same thing you have to do when you’ve got 200 lbs. of mass going 23 mph hurtling towards a 120 lb., slow moving meatbag: SLOW THE FUCK DOWN.

And don’t tell me that the meatbags don’t belong on the bike path or that they’re unpredictable or kicking a ball or walking a dog. Who cares? They’re there and you know they’re there and if you hit them you’re going to do horrible damage. SLOW THE FUCK DOWN. And once you’ve gotten off your Strava pace you won’t have to shriek at the last second, scaring the crap out of the walker and possibly causing them to veer into you.

At bottom, the irrational hate and disrespectful treatment shown by cagers to bikers on the streets is the same narcissistic, selfish nastiness that lurks at the bottom of the cycling psychopathletes who terrorize helpless bike path meatbags. Meatbags are people too, so SLOW THE FUCK DOWN, and don’t get me started on “Why are you even on the bike path to begin with, especially on the weekend or at other high-use times?” The bike path is sandy (bad for carbon), packed with erratic meatbags (causes carbon to break when slammed into), slow (takes away the millisecond benefits of carbon), badly paved (makes carbon ride uncomfy), and no more safe than the surface streets.

Empathy doesn’t grow in a vacuum or, apparently, when you’re racing along the bike path to get to work, make a group ride, or set some stupid PR on some stupid Strava segment. Put yourself in the meatbag’s shoes, even though they’re jogging shoes and even though your colorful underwear is way sexier. Get out of your rush mode, quit yelling like a jerk, and treat the vulnerable meatbags the same way that you want to be treated when they finish their jog, hop into their SUV, and, boiling with rage at your bad manners and dangerous habits, see you again when you’re off the path and pedaling down the street.

Because the victim you abused a few minutes ago is now a cager with a grudge and you’re the biker dick in the crosshairs. Is that really what you want?



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Match that quote!

September 7, 2016 § 40 Comments

Test your South Bay knowledge by matching the quote to the person!

  1. “He’s the real deal.”
  2. “Do you even race?” [to Josh Alverson]
  3. “At this point in our careers, Rahsaan and I are equal.”
  4. “If I only made half a million dollars a year I’d kill myself.”
  5. “I think I broke my elbow.”
  6. “Right on.”
  7. “Watch this!”
  8. “G.B.”
  9. “You should try cryotherapy.”
  10. “Fair enough.”
  11. “You’ll love it, it’s easy.”
  12. “We have to take a picture first.”
  13. “Sittin’ in is for suckers.”
  14. “This is a coffee ride!” [to cyclist already going so slow he’s about to fall over]
  15. “I broke my femur stretching.”
  16. “I love this shit.”
  17. “It’s going to be harder than last year.”
  18. “So there’s that.”
  19. “Fuck, dude.”
  20. “From now until December we’re noodling.”
  21. “I’m racing tomorrow.” [swings over and gaps you out]
  22. “Listen, if you have to pay $395 to go all the way to the middle of the fucking desert to get naked, do drugs, tell ‘the man’ to get bent and bang strangers while burning wooden structures, you might not be as ‘free’ as you claim. You also clearly have never been camping with me.”
  23. “He’s a $12k dreamer.”
  24. “Work together!”
  25. “No kooks.”
  26. “You’re a cupcake, dude.” [to the homicide detective who’s been in 392 fistfights and only lost one]
  27. “It’s a 55.”
  28. “Yeah, but I’ll beat you on the downhill.”
  29. “I plead guilty, your Honor.”

Shirtless Keith, Joanne Zwagermann, Roger Worthington, Amanda Marie, Elijah Shabazz, Cameron Khoury, Greg Leibert, David Wells, Jack Daugherty, Miles Irish, Charon Smith, Gregg Stern, Jay LaPlante, Russell DeBarbieris, Suzanne Sonye, Tony Manzella, Patrick Brady, David Perez, Robert Frank, Joe Yule, Kevin Phillips, Noel O’Malley, David Jaeger, Thorfinn Sassquatch, Michael Marckx, Gus Bayle, Shon Holderbaum, James Doyle, Greg Seyranian

September 7 at 7:30 PM

September 6, 2016 § 22 Comments

There will be a traffic safety committee meeting at the Palos Verdes Estates city hall tomorrow at 7:30 PM. The traffic safety committee has recommended that the city install six signs that say “Bikes May Use Full Lane.” The full agenda is here; the address is 340 Palos Verdes Drive West, Palos Verdes Estates, CA 90274.

Sounds like glacial change that couldn’t possibly be controversial.

However, a handful of NIMBYs think that this is outrageous and will spoil the peninsula. So, in typical NIMBY fashion, they have cobbled together a petition that urges the city to delay putting up Bikes May Use Full Lane signage even though such signage has been approved by the city’s traffic safety commission and is completely legal. I’ve heard but can’t confirm that there is also a petition to limit cyclist usage of certain sections of public roads. This isn’t on the agenda, but we’ll see at the meeting if that’s in fact what some of the NIMBYs are advocating. I won’t urge you to show up and make your voice heard. Everyone has their own to-do list. Families, kids, jobs, fantasy football, and the all-important rest time for the next big group ride. I get it.

But for those who think that democracy only happens when people show up, please take a few hours out of your lives to help the traffic safety committee do what it already knows is the right thing to do.

And the right thing to do, as a very first step, is to install signage that will encourage motorists not to behave like this 14-carat asshole driving in Palos Verdes Estates who almost killed one cyclist and almost injured many more yesterday:



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Laboring day

September 5, 2016 § 25 Comments

My off season started in earnest on Tuesday, so I didn’t ride on Wednesday, Thursday, or even Friday. On Saturday I went down with some L.A. riders to San Diego, where they got a taste of what they call “fun” in North County.

I rode my bike to a few coffee shops but that was it, and in preparation for the San Diego trip I took off my cameras and lights and removed my tool box thingy that fits in the rear water bottle cage. I set it on the top of the cheap Ikea storage thing next to the bed, where I keep my bicycle tool.

On Sunday night, the last day of my off season, I began reassembling my bike for the Holiday Ride 18-minute beatdown. After bolting on all the cameras and strapping on the lights and filling up the water bottle I went to put the tool kit thingy in the bottle cage, but it was gone.

My apartment is pretty small and I don’t own much stuff so it was easy to search it from top to bottom. Nothing. We couldn’t even blame it on the grandbaby because it was too high for him to reach and too big to hold. We tried anyway. Nothing.

I did the Holiday Ride certain that I would have a flat because even though it’s been a year since my last puncture, we all know that the one time a flat is guaranteed is the time you don’t have a spare. Luckily, I didn’t flat, but Special Ops did. He blew out his entire tire. He’s a good friend and we had ridden out together, so I abandoned him immediately.

I felt a little guilty about it until EA Sports, Inc. helped me out. “Do the math, Wanky. Former Special Ops. Flats bicycle in city of 10 million people. Bike shop five minutes away. Has phone. Has money. Knows the natives and even speaks their dialect. I think he’s gonna survive.”

After the ride I tore up the apartment some more but no toolkit thingy. So I made an inventory of the important stuff and started thinking about replacing it.

  1. Tube with a stem that is too short for the rim.
  2. Multi-tool which I don’t know how to use but maybe someone in need someday will.
  3. Old CO2 inflation head that doesn’t work.
  4. Empty CO2 cartridge.
  5. Flimsy plastic tire lever.
  6. Boot.
  7. 10% discount coffee card at Peet’s.

Obviously the only thing that mattered was the coffee card.

The first bike shop I went to was closed. Then I went to Sprocket Cycles on PCH, which is owned by Paul Che. Paul has built a thriving business out of nothing in what has to be the world’s toughest market, the local bike shop.

They were open and fully staffed with three people. In a matter of minutes they had loaded me up with everything I needed, including a fancy pair of screw-in handlebar plugs to replace the ones that kept falling out.

Was it more expensive than if I’d bought it all on the Internet? I don’t know and don’t care. What I know is that they were there with great service and good products at a time when they were needed. Keep that in mind the next time you buy online. You may (or may not) save a couple of bucks, but Mr. Internet won’t be there on Labor Day to make sure you’re back on the road by Tuesday.




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Sometimes the best ride is a chair

September 4, 2016 § 11 Comments

People don’t often invite me places and there’s a reason for that. I’m not fun. In fact, I have it on good authority that whatever “fun” is, I’m pretty much the opposite of it. Of all the places I don’t get invited, the place I don’t get invited to the most is (of course) bicycles rides.

So when someone is foolish enough to invite me somewhere, I always say yes. I don’t even check the calendar because it’s sure to be blank. Day? I’m free. Time? No problem. Three-hour drive to your vacation place at the bottom of an unlit mine shaft filled with toxic gas? Count me in. In, in, in.

A couple of days ago El Presidente invited me to go for a bike ride in San Diego. He, Th Surfer Dan, Okie, Head Down James, OC James, Wattbomb, Happy, and Goat were all going down to San Diego to crash the world famous Swami’s Ride.

Problem was, none of them had ever done it except for Th Surfer Dan, and he wasn’t talking. “Yo, Wanky,” penned El Presidente. “You’ll be chauffeured to the start line in our Mercedes UPV, fed a breakfast of Yum-Yum Donuts, slathered with sunscreen and testosterone gel, and fed a kingly lunch on the way back.”

“What’s the catch?” I knew that this fun-loving bunch of defectives didn’t want to spend the day cooped up in a Mercedes UPV with Wanky the Grim.

“We need a pilot fish, someone who can tell us about the ride, and Th Surfer Dan’s not talking. Since you’re the closest thing that LA has to a North County specialist, leaving aside for a moment that you always get dropped when you go down there, we thought that in exchange for the above amenities you might, you know, show us the way, give us some tips. That sort of thing. Also, gas is paid for.”

That sealed the deal except for one thing. “What’s a Mercedes UPV?”

“Oh, that. Stands for Un-Parkable Van. Long story.”

At 5:45 AM I found myself standing on the corner of Hawthorne and Manhattan Beach Boulevard, being accosted by a person who was either homeless or whose home was several hundred miles away. “Do you have a cell phone?” he asked.


“I got PTSD from the war and I been riding this fucking bike without a saddle all the way from Wyoming and I need to make a phone call.”

I looked at his bike, which really did look like it had recently been in Wyoming and which really was missing a saddle. “Who do you want me to call?”

“The cops,” he said, shoving into my face a business card for Officer Melvin Muggley of the Hawthorne Police Department.

I looked around, anxiously hoping that the Mercedes UPV would show up. “Uh, I ain’t calling the cops,” I said.

“How come?”

“I got two outstanding warrants.”

“For what?”

“One DUI and a hot check.”

“What was the hot check for?”

“The booze that got me the DUI.”

He nodded. “Respect, man. Respect.” Then he pedaled off, butt carefully poised above the rusty prong, and vanished into the darkness.

When the Mercedes UPV showed up, it was stocked with donuts, hot coffee, licorice, three boxes of chicken nuggets, and a chocolate croissant. “Where is everyone?” I asked.

“Head Down James and Wattbomb got scared and couldn’t make it.”

“Dang,” I said.

“Hey,” El President asked. “Where’s your bike?”

“What bike?”

“Dude, we’re going to the world famous Swami’s Ride in North County San Diego. It’s a bike ride. Where’s your fuggin’ bike?”

“Oh, that,” I said, craftily. “I didn’t know I was supposed to bring it.”


“I thought you just wanted intel on the ride.”

“Hell, man, we do.That’s why we’re bringing you along.”

I climbed into the van and plucked a steaming nugget out of the box, topped with a choco cruller and a tube of energy gel. “Never fear,” I said. “‘Cuz I brought you wankers this.”

I pulled out a few sheets of paper and handed them out. “This,” I said, “is all you need.”

Swami’s Ride Secret Inside Intel for Team Ride Crashers: Top Secret For Your Eyes Only Super Confidential And Secret And Etc.

Many of the Swami’s riders do a pre-ride that leaves at 7:00 which is reputedly harder than the Swami’s Ride itself. Whether or not that’s true, they get to the ride warmed up and ready to go. Starting Swami’s cold is a huge disadvantage and since you will all be starting stone cold you can expect to be instantaneously dropped.

The ride has no significant climbs to speak of. An analysis of the course profile on Strava indicates that for you hardmen of the Santa Monicas, it’s a piddling 2400 feet of elevation over 30 miles or so. Of course the problem, by way of analogy, is the “hill” on the PV Golf Course, which many of you have done.

Under normal conditions you don’t even notice that it’s a hill. But under Flog conditions, people quickly splinter and crack and are never seen again. Certain among you have shown up for the Flog once, twice, a handful of times, or not at all. My point? It’s not really the course that makes a ride hard, it’s the people in attendance and how fast they are pedaling, and on Swami’s they tend to pedal very, um, vigorously.

You may be hoping that because it is September and it is the off-season that the Swami’s predators will not be pedaling in anger. This is a vain hope. The moment they scent outsiders, they will turn into a frenzied pack of ball-chewing-cannibals.

The Swami’s Ride’s first climb is up Levante to Rancho Santa Fe. Be warmed up if you can, towards the front at all costs, and drift back if you have to. You will have to. The group is usually so large that you can’t get dropped here, even if you are really weak, but if they are going all out (they will be) *and* they catch the light going left on Rancho Santa Fe just over the top you will spend the morning by yourself. It’s a big ring power climb, short and difficult depending on who’s there, but nothing that a cagey bit of wheelsucking can’t get you through. El Presidente, this means you. Since the left-hand turn signal is almost always red when the bikes get there, it’s a chance to gasp, catch breath, scoot forward, check timber, regroup, and desperately fondle prayer beads.

Which brings us to the real beginning of this ride, which isn’t the course, but the “Who’s there?”

If Phil Tinstman, Thurlow, any young snotnose punkass kid in a Lux jersey, or any other of a large number of North County hammers show up, don’t even think about riding away. In fact, don’t think of riding away no matter what because it’s simply not a ride-away course. What you should think about is insurance, life insurance, and about naming me as your sole beneficiary. Just sign at the bottom of this paper to indicate your acceptance.

The one section where I’ve been dropped is the next one, going up San Elijo just before the turn onto Elfin Forest. If Karl Bordine hadn’t also been lollygagging at the back, then recovered, then dragged me back, my day would have ended. But realistically that’s the only place there is any chance at all of coming unhitched, and if you haven’t been battering at the front (for some, even if you have), there’s nothing on this ride that is hard enough or long enough to kick you out the back.

Unhappily, despite the easiness of the course, all of you will set new PRs for power, distance, speed, time dimensions, and multicolored spittle because Tinstman will be stomping dicks like a boot tester in dildo factory. It is an easy course that may well be your hardest day on a bicycle, including that time you had to push Billy Bohunks and his rock collection over Pepperdine Hill.

Unlike the Donut Ride, which really is a test of VO2 + masochistic tendencies, Swami’s is a series of secret sprint points that you’ll never know about until they are past and someone else has won. The regulars have done this ride a million times and they all know where to go hard, where to ease up, and where to collect the trinkets. The big sprint at the church is a barely visible wooden sign nailed to a tree overgrown with foliage. Or at least it used to be. Or at least that’s what they used to tell me.

Once on Elfin Forest (there are no elves and it’s not a forest) there are a couple of rollers where you don’t want to be caught unawares, but nothing that will drop you. By the time you figure out there’s a sprint it will be over, and everyone will be stopping at the church to urinate on holy objects, unless of course they don’t stop there anymore, in which case it will be more pain for much longer unless you’ve been dropped, in which case you will never find your way home because all the roads in North County San Diego are crooked, filled with lethal potholes, and paved with drunk drivers.

After the church the Real Cyclists may go on and do a Real Bicycle Ride. Don’t be tempted unless your name is Th Surfer Dan, and trust me, it isn’t. Instead, follow the meeker folks (not Meeker, folks) along the Swami’s route through the Lake Hodges section and back to the coast highway. Lake Hodges has a screamingly crazily insanely fast eternal downhill with no turns, a 2-inch shoulder, and traffic passing on your left at 80. So, it’s perfectly safe, especially with the frame-wobbling, cross-eyed beginner on tri-bars in front of you and the Cat 5’s on your left sprinting out of the saddle three abreast to keep up because no one has yet told them about that word “draft.”

Once the road bottoms out there is a gradual climb with a few rollers at the top. Whoever’s on the front (Thurlow) will be grilling and drilling, but everyone on a wheel will easily hang on, and that’s “easy” as in “it hurt so bad my eyes broke.” There’s another magic sprint point after the climb but before the stop sign. Then everyone checks timber, sips their sippy cup, and soldiers on to the coast highway. It’s interesting the first time you do it, and it can be blazingly fast, but the short distance, lack of elevation, and size of the group mean that you will get to the ocean and be disappointed … unless you win the final invisible sprint, which you won’t due to its aforementioned invisibility and Tinstman.

Did I mention Tinstman?

In addition to disappointment, of course you will also feel a sense of inadequacy and failure, which more than compensates.

There’s also a pecking order in North County and people aren’t overly friendly unless they owe you money, and then they sometimes will push you into oncoming traffic to cancel the debt. Be on the lookout for Stefanovich and Dandy Andy, two people who are actually friendly, and who are well regarded as the only people on the ride who once almost came close to barely being slightly faster than Tinstman that day he was home in bed with a cold. Both will lend you money or a GPS coordinate in a pinch, but both will be so far ahead of you that, well, they won’t.

Of course you’ll be tooling up to the start in the Swankmobile, and everyone knows Team Mercedes UPV, so it’s not as if you’ll be pelted with raw eggs. And if you are, whatever you do, don’t retaliate by hitting them with your empty syringes. In general they take this ride very seriously and don’t like it if you show up and tear their legs off.

But then, who does?

Unfortunately, although I’ll be in the van and available to do mortuary runs, casket pick-ups and drop-offs, massages (I’ll wear rubber gloves to cover my bleeding, open sores), mouth-to-mouth, CPR, and some crack mechanical skills (changed a front flat last week in .03 days), you won’t have anyone to hold your hand or refill your sippy cup or change your didy until the ride finishes. Be safe, enjoy the new terrain, and DO NOT FORGET to add me as the beneficiary to your policy.

I promise to take lots of photos beforehand that showcase you primped, pimped, and ready to roll. After-ride photos will be discretionary depending on how many limbs you return with. Also, please don’t finish up telling me that “It’s the hardest ride you’ve ever done,” because all that means is that you haven’t done the Carlsbad Wednesday Ride.

If something happens during the ride, my cell phone is (424) 301-9118. Leave a message and I’ll get back to you no later than Tuesday.

We got to Encinitas and they all rode off to their doom. I settled down at a cozy coffee shop, read a book, napped, and had a wonderful morning chatting with a young lady named Merlin, who, she said, was studying to be a witch. “Isn’t that a wizard’s name?” I asked.

“It used to be, but it’s all gender neutral now. You have witches named ‘Merlin’ and wizards named ‘Hilda.’ Actually, you have a lot of male witches now.”

“You do?”

“Yes. Better clothing options.” She stuck out a leg that was covered in black fishnet and had sequins along the inside of her thigh that spelled out “Broomrider.” She was also reading a book called “How to Get to Heaven.”

“Is that a good book for a witch?” I asked. “And don’t they already have a book about that called the Bible?”

“Oh, yes. But this one has all the shortcuts.”


“Yes. The Bible is old school. Love your neighbor and money is the root of all evil and that stuff. Takes forever and everyone agrees that it’s no fun at all.”

“What are the shortcuts?”

“Well, it says here that you can get all the Heaven points you need by giving some spare change to a homeless person.”

“Heaven points?”

“Sure. This book explains that Heaven goes by a points system. You need 150 points to get in. Donating spare change is worth 2o points, and once you get to 150 you can do whatever you want.”

“Kind of like being Catholic?”

“What’s that?” she asked. Then she brightened. “You’re not homeless by any chance, are you?”

I squinted hard at her and went back to my book.

A couple of hours later the troops returned looking awful, as they muttered, rather incoherently, “PR” and “Strava trinket” and “Fucking Tinstman” and “Fucking Thurlow” and “Fucking Snotnosed Lux Punk” and “Ouch” and “Almost got dropped” and “More testosterone gel” and “Jill Easter” and “Invisible fucking sprints” and “Oof” and “Stupid ride” and “Fuck I’m wrecked” and “Coffee” and of course Th Surfer Dan, who said the only complete sentence, which was “Four slices of pepperoni and a foot-long bacon-steak subway sandwich with marinara sauce, please.”

I looked at their broken visages and salted down appendages and hollowed out cheeks and straggly hair and bony bent shoulders and thought that it was pretty much the best ride I’d never done.



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The Atheist Training Bible for Old Bicycle Racers, Chapter 20: Proper rest is key

September 2, 2016 § 27 Comments

I admit it.

I’m tired, tired like a worn out shoe. (*Note: In Chinese “worn out shoe” is colloquial for a prostitute, so as Knoll would say, there’s that.)

I’m not just physically tired from cycling, blogging, and blogging about cycling, but my brain is also pooped. Focusing on withholding Strava kudos has been tough this year (0 given so far), not to mention the exhausting self-recriminations that come from failing to analyze a single byte of data.

Mostly, though, I’ve been ground down by my charging schedule. Every day I’ve had to swap and recharge batteries for the rear-facing GoPro, recharge the Serfas Retinakiller, recharge the NiteRider Eyeblinder, recharge the Diablo Seizure, recharge the Cycliq Collisionwitness, and every Saturday power up the front derailleur battery and then the rear derailleur battery, and make sure that the wireless earbuds are also fully charged so that I can hear bits and pieces of Lesson 26 (“You Are Almost Becoming A China Hand”–true title) in between the howling gusts of non-CatEars-blocked-wind that chop up the recording.

When I think back on the records I didn’t keep for this past racing season, it’s clear that I rode too much, achieved too little, and was blatantly snookered out of several top-20 finishes at Telo, including the infamous lap-cheating incident that resulted in me getting into an argument with a person posing as a dog on Faceboook.

But there are more indicia that it’s time for a break. Death threats from the Lunada Bay Boys on Mom’s Couch, Molotov cocktails lobbed into the apartment swimming pool, and suspicious packages covered with white powder have gotten me down, not to mention having to listen to angry Crest residents complain about “domestics” getting their windshields broken by the heads and bodies of oncoming cyclists.

Fortunately, now is the perfect time to rest and I began my off-season on Wednesday, coinciding with a viral infection that has kept me prone and covered in funny-looking sores. During this time I’ve been able to plot the perfect off-season schedule. If you’re suffering from burnout, take a look and feel free to copy if you want to. It may be just what the witch doctor ordered.

  1. Wednesday: Sleep. Eat ice cream. Light 1-hr. spin on the trainer for off-season recovery.
  2. Thursday: Sleep. More ice cream. Make a special energy shake with peanut butter, almonds, milk, raw eggs, cocoa powder, and bananas. Run to bathroom. Light 1.5-hr. spin on the trainer for off-season recovery. Run back to bathroom. blender_food_2
  3. Friday: Get up at 5:00 to prepare for 5:30 AM German lesson with Silke. Learn the different ways they say “whipping cream” in Austria. Moderate 2-hr. spin on the trainer for off-season recovery.
  4. Saturday: Attend Swami’s ride as team soigneur. Drink coffee. Read confusing articles about Chinese grammar, in English. Alternate light-medium-intense 2.5-hr. session on the trainer, conclude with 30-min. cooldown for off-season recovery.
  5. Sunday: Birdwatching + coffee. 3-hr. session on the trainer. Easy except for last 115 minutes, spin at the beginning for off-season recovery.
  6. Monday: Holiday Ride. Full gas, 3.5-hr. cool down for off-season recovery.
  7. Tuesday: NPR. 2-min. intervals x 30, light 4-hr. spin on the trainer for off-season recovery.
  8. Wednesday: Return to normal race preparation of 18+ hrs./week profamateur full-gas training schedule + intervals, sprunt workouts, long distance/high intensity mileage.

I’m already feeling pretty rejuvenated and it’s only Friday. Take a page from the training Bible and pray. Hard.



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10 ways to get worse on a bike

August 31, 2016 § 22 Comments

There is a whole industry devoted to making you a better cyclist. Whether it’s coaching, tips from Bicycling Magazine, or tech web sites that tell you which component has how many extra milligrams of weight, everyone knows how to make you better.

Yet, you aren’t.

This is mostly because although there a billion ways to improve, the marginal gains for any one item are minuscule and the mental effort to do any one of them consistently is harder than doing five push-ups every morning. Sure, everyone knows that five push-ups only take a few seconds. So? The day I start my morning off with a push-up is the day I start my morning with a bullet in the forehead. My day begins with coffee, period, so GTF out of my way.

Unlike improvement tips, deprovement tips number only ten, and each one of them has a catastrophic effect on riding, and chances are you do most of them. If you never did a single improvement tip and cut out a mere one or two deprovement items, you’d probably win the Tour.

Here they are:

  1. Diets. Please stop dieting now. It doesn’t work. If you’re really overweight, dropping a few pounds might make you go faster, but you’ll be so weak and cranky and angry and hair-trigger-ready-to-kill (otherwise known as “hungry”) that you won’t be on your bike. You’ll be roaming the sample aisles at Costco with lust in your heart and there’s no fitness to be found there.
  2. Equipment. With the exception of carbon, the more bike stuff you have, the worse you ride. Take Shirtless Keith. He owns one old, rusted-out hybrid bike with fat tires. He has one chain ring (a 55). He rides in work boots. HE STILL STOMPS THE SHIT OUT OF 84.2% OF THE PEOPLE ON THE DONUT RIDE.
  3. Race clothing. Race clothing is aero but it shows your multiple tummy rolls and pinches tender places, which makes you not want to ride. You are never going to get better not riding.
  4. Riding. If you have to choose between riding and not riding, always choose the latter. Riding a lot will initially make you a better cyclist, then it will make you broke, then it will give you a weird physique, and finally you will only know people who talk about bicycle topics = LIFE FAIL. One day you’ll wake up and go, “This is dumb,” and quit riding completely, which will in turn really make you a bad rider. So mostly don’t ride if you want to ride better. Knoll rides to the guitar shop to pick up new strings once every six weeks and he does just fine, thank you.
  5. Coaches.
  6. Cyclocross. Do you know why they wear face masks and stuff when sparring? It’s to prevent getting beaten to shit so badly in practice that you can’t do the actual fight. Cyclocross is like sparring with brass knuckles and no protective gear. It will first make you tough, then unconscious, then a tube-feeder.
  7. Group rides. These are fun. So is heroin. Neither is banned by USADA because neither one makes you any good.
  8. Anything that comes in a big plastic tub. Magical elixirs that replace crucial fill-in-the-blanks operate on the proven scientific principle that there’s one born every minute.
  9. Crossfit, running, weights, stairs, anything that requires a membership or is trademarked. If you want to improve, get out there and ride your bike a little, then treat yourself to a Twinkie. Ignore everything else.
  10. Bed. That place you lie in? It’s killing your performance gains.
  11. Internet cycling blogs. If any of those clowns knew anything worth knowing, they wouldn’t be giving it away for free.



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