It’s January 20, almost, which means it’s SoCal’s first “real” crit of the year. All the teams will be there in force to showcase their new kits, their new glasses (some poor sods will still be wearing Lancewear, the cool kids will be wearing SPY), and most of all their secret non-secret training.
Secret non-secret training is what everyone except the Wankmeister does all winter. Diet. Visits to the doctor. Intervals. Gym work. Specific work on sprunting, clumbing, flailing. Building power. Sending outrageous amounts of money to the coach. More visits to the doctor. Lindberg Nutrition. Fancy recovery drinks. In-ride protein drinks. More gym work.
It’s all top secret except for the posed easy days showing the happy masters professionals cruising down PCH on a sunny day with their friends. “See? I don’t train hard in the winter! Not me! No, sir! I pedal easy, quaff coffee with Knoll in Santa Monica, and crack jokes with my buddies. I whip your ass during the race season because I’m just naturally better.”
Why Wankmeister is naturally not better
I have so many things working against me that I can’t even begin pretending. Fat. Unfocused. Unmuscular. Undisciplined. Overly fond of ice cream. No sprunt. No clumbing prowess. No time trailing skills. Lack of perseverance when the going gets moderately hard, and a complete quitter when the hammer of death comes down.
Each winter I completely reinvent myself and acquire a whole new closetful of skills and abilities that are tailored to catapult me to the top of the podium. Then, after the first climb on the first lap of Boulevard, I get sent off the back with a note pinned to my collar saying “Dear Mrs. Wankmeister: He’s not ready this year, either. Please try again next season.”
Of course 2013 is no different. I’ve lost 27 pounds, then regained about 7, and am now hovering at a tininess quotient of about 151, the lightest I’ve been since I was in my twenties. My shorts are baggy and saggy and ride up my legs like a thong, they’re so loose. I’ve interpolated a bit of acceleration with a bit of big ring work, and can now drop the overweight hobby bikers in and around PV at will. Sometimes I can, anyway.
So tomorrow’s CBR crit will be the first step in a triumphant march to the podium. You can take that to the bank, although if past performance truly is the best indicator of future results, the bank will likely be Countrywide.
So what’s your excuse?
Whereas Wankmeister freely admits to big investment, nonexistent return…what’s your story going to be? You’ve done all that I have and a lot more. I’m still riding the same bike I had last year; you’re on a brand new rig. I still only have one wheelset, and it’s 32-hole aluminum; you’ve got a different carbon wheelset for every wind condition and race type. My excuse is that I’m just not very good and never will be; you still tell your significant other that you’re the “real deal.”
And since only one person is going to win your race tomorrow, it’s going to be devastating to find out that after all you’ve done you’re still pack fodder.
But don’t despair! Below are a list of handy-dandy excuses to prop up what’s guaranteed to be a sagging ego come nightfall on Sunday.
- “It’s just the first race of the season. I don’t have my race legs yet.”
- “That was just a CBR crit training race. My real target for the season is Boulevard.”
- “I’m not used to my new ride yet. It’s different in the turns from my last bike.”
- “We’re still working on our team strategy.”
- “I got 38th, which is almost top third, which is pretty good and even better when you consider all the people who never even bothered to show up because they were too scared.”
- “The guys winning now will be tired out no-shows in June.”
- “I’m one of the oldest guys in my masters category by almost three years. At my age, one year makes a huge difference.”
- “Hell, I’m racing against a bunch of ex-pros.”
- “I’ve been sick.”
- “Work has been craaaaazy.”
- “I’m taking a more relaxed approach this year.”
- “I do better in hot weather.”
- “I’m sorry, January is just too early to be racing.”
- “Nobody would work with me.”
- “The racing was just too negative.”
- “I wasn’t going to chase that break. I had a teammate who was going to bridge up to it.”
- “I never sprint in crits. Too dangerous.”
- “The course isn’t selective enough.”
- “The course was too technical.”
- “I didn’t train all winter.”
So now you really are ready for the first race of the year. Go get ’em!