Many South Bay locals celebrated Kristabel Doebel-Hickock’s graduation into the pro ranks this week, as she continus her rocket trajectory from local wanker with Big Orange to statewide force at SPY-Liv-Giant to pro racer for Tibco. Some celebrated because they like seeing a smart, hard working, talented rider make the big time. Others celebrated because she won’t be effortlessly crushing their sausage egos quite as often. A few celebrated because it gave them a cheap excuse to crack open another beer, get drunker, and post the photos on Facebook.
One lone rider, however, had mixed feelings about the success of this young woman. That would be me. Of course I’m happy for her and wish her all the best. Blah, blah, blah and etcetera.
But I’m kind of pissed that in all of the press releases, public encomiums, and grateful notes of appreciation, no one saw fit to acknowledge MY contributions to this woman’s success. What am I, chopped liver?
So I thought I would take the opportunity to set the record straight. Ten years hence, when historians reflect on the dazzling ascendancy of Kristabel’s extraordinary career, I want them to have a paper trail that documents her earliest efforts in the world of cycling and that gives me proper credit for helping her when it mattered most.
Discovery of an incredible talent
Everyone knows she’s talented. But who discovered her? Who, I say? Well, it was Chief. He was riding along the bike path and he ran into her. They chatted. He recommended she connect with Big Orange. The rest is history. Now I didn’t have anything to do with that discovery directly, but I do have coffee with Chief regularly. And if it had been me who had seen her first instead of Chief, I would have discovered her. So please make a note of that in future press releases and Wikipedia entries.
Race like you train
After I met Kristabel I immediately taught her everything I knew about racing and training. She uses that stuff DAILY. Here are the biggies:
- If you hammer like an idiot all the time you will get dropped and lose. I showed her this technique repeatedly, both in my training rides and on race day.
- Once a wanker, always a wanker. She would never have learned this without me, ever. Each time we rode together I showed her a new element of wankerdom and how I had always been this way. She totally got it.
- Advice sausages who are always telling you what to do should always be ignored. I advised her TONS about racing and training and stuff. She ignored all of it. Look at her now. QED.
- Power meters suck. I taught her that power meters are useless and she didn’t need one and she would be fine if she just hammered a lot. Unfortunately, she started getting coached by Ron Peterson, the wanker who turned guys like Jeff Konsmo and Greg Leibert into succesful bike racers, and he was all about training with power, and shortly after that she began winning huge. I still think it’s a coincidence.
- Food and water are for wusses. This speaks for itself. If you’re gonna be tough, you need to learn to ride on air and determination. I’m not sure she really “got” this, but if she ever does, she’ll win even more.
- There’s no “I” in team, which why you don’t need one. I tried hard to convince her that all she needed in order to win stage races and NRC events was to hammer from the gun. Eventually everyone would give up. At the same time, people like Michael Marckx at SPY were whispering in her ear that with a SoCal women’s squad backing her up she would have better chances in the big races. I was totally against this, by the way, but she and Michael put together this women’s team, got it funded, and won/earned podium spots in a ton of races this year. Is that effed up, or what?
- Friends in cycling are your worst enemy. I taught her from the beginning that guys like Greg Seyranian and Dan Cobley, although they seemed like good people who wanted to help her out, were actually going to ruin her career. They were talking up all this gradual increase in distance and intensity bullshit, and “helping” her with things like bike handling and choosing races, whereas what she should have been doing is huge miles and hammering. It pissed me off so much to see them talking her off the cliff of 9-hour group ride hammerfests in favor of rest, recovery, nutrition, and a “sound” training plan. We’ll never know how good she could have been if she’d only listened to me.
- Ditch your parents. Kristabel’s dad, Mike, was going to all her races, helping her with the feeds in long road events, and making sure she was completely taken care of. I tried telling her that getting hand-ups was a sign of weakness. I tried telling her that she would race better if she had to strip down and rebuild her bike herself each night before a race, pack the car at 3:00 AM, drive herself there, race, carry all her own food and water, and drive herself back. “Your dad’s an albatross, Kristabel. Every bottle of water he gives you makes you mentally weaker.” Somehow she overcame all that “love” and “support.” Dad-gum if I know how.
- Treat cycling like a drunken knife fight in the mud over a two-bit hooker. One of Kristabel’s greatest weaknesses was her tendency to thank people, show appreciation, and never forget a kindness. That so bummed me out. I spent lots of time shouting at her from a long way off (I’d let her outclimb me for her self-confidence) that she should use people up, toss them to the side, and immediately take credit for everything herself. This is how successful people operate. Instead, what does she do? Thanks people. Expresses gratitude. Bullshit like that. It’s kind of charming, but not really. People only like you when you treat them with contempt.
- Understand your place. In the beginning, she had this attitude like “I’m here to learn and improve.” I tried to tell her that my way was better: “I am the greatest and the rest of you are worthless.” That’s what got me tenth place in an old-dude’s crit last year, BTW. She insisted on the “learn and improve” thing, though.
Kind of bums me out that it’s been an uphill battle getting her to do things the right way, but I’m still sending her emails on this topic. She’s blocked me on FB and all my emails keep bouncing (must be some technical glitch), but if any of you out there know her cell phone number please send it to me so I can keep sending her coaching advice via text message. I just want what’s best for her.