Internet cycling coach fires client: “He just sucked.”

December 20, 2013 § 27 Comments

In what is believed to be the first ever instance of an Internet cycling coach terminating a client who was paid up on his fees, Samuel Slopworthy ended his longstanding online coaching relationship with cyclist Waylon Tuppersmith today. According to Slopworthy, “Waylon just wasn’t any good. Mathematically, his chances of improving were, like, zero. That’s ‘zero’ with an infinity of zeroes after the decimal point.”

Tuppersmith, who had trained with Slopworthy since 2010, was flabbergasted by the termination notice. “I’m still trying to process it,” he admitted. “Sam and I go way back. I’d used CTS and Negacoach and a bunch of other online coaches, but none of them worked. With Sam I really felt like I was making progress. Aside from his monthly fee of $950, the SRM and WKO subscription, he wasn’t always upselling me gear and training camps and such. I’m really blown away.”

Slopworthy saw it differently. “We started off like every other client-coach. I told him that with some hard work and by following the training plan I’d cadged off Joe Friel, he’d soon be crushing the Saturday ride, he’d up his FTP 30-40%, you know, the usual empty promises you make to get people to cough up their credit card number and expiration date. But it just never happened. He was as slow after three years as the day he signed up. In good conscience, I just couldn’t keep bullshitting him.”

Wayne Atlas, an industry analyst whose expertise is online coaching, noted that this was truly unique. “The whole concept of online coaching is simple. Once you get ’em on the hook, you keep ’em on the hook. No one in his right mind fires a client whose credit card can still be charged at the end of the month. It’s cray-cray.” Asked if he thought this might be a new trend, Atlas shrugged. “Hard to say.”

Tuppersmith was desolate. “Sam had me doing intervals and big ring work  on Tuesdays and Thursdays, tempo climbs on Wednesdays, a fast group ride on Saturday, and Zone 2 distance on Sundays, Mondays and Fridays super easy or completely off — I’d do that for two weeks, follow it with an easy week, and then repeat. I really could tell I was getting faster. Some days I was hanging onto the group ride all the way to the point where it started going fast.” When asked where the ride started getting fast, however, Tuppersmith admitted that it was “after about five minutes.”

Slopworthy disagreed with his client’s optimistic analysis. “Some people are hopeless as athletes. I didn’t used to believe that, but I do now. No matter what we tried, he sucked, and we tried everything. I’d throw a bunch of stuff I read off Andy Coggan’s web site at him … zilch. We tried 20-minute threshold efforts … nothing. Sprint workouts, zip. He was kind of impressive, you know, the way he absolutely never improved in anything no matter what.”

Slopworthy, who has been coaching online clients since 2005, explained his training to become an online cycling coach. “I’d recently been let go at Mickey D’s, and I found out that you could read some books and then start taking clients. I like to think I’m one of the better online coaches out there.”

When asked if he cycled competitively, Slopworthy laughed. “Me? You kidding? I don’t even own a bike. I’m a coach.”

Tuppersmith, a database programmer who lives in Cincinnati, felt that Slopworthy’s credentials were impeccable. “He really had all the answers. When he put me on that gluten-free diet and got me on a yoga program, I knew he was the real deal. Gym workouts, strengthening my core, compression boots, altitude tent, legal supplements … This has really thrown me for a loop.”

Slopworthy saw it differently. “No matter what we tried, he sucked. The subscription level he had entitled him to ten emails and one live phone call per month. The emails I could kind of bullshit my way around, you know, ‘Good job, but work harder on the climbs,’ that kind of shit. It was the live calls that were killing me. He’d call up and like, what could I say? He flat fucking sucked. It was affecting my marriage. I’d lie awake the night before our scheduled call, trying to figure out how to tell him that he was making progress when all the parameters conclusively showed that he wasn’t. It was awful.”

However, Tuppersmith remains optimistic. “I really learned a lot from Sam. If I can find another online coach to run my credit card, I’m pretty sure I can upgrade to Cat 4 next year. It’s doable.”

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§ 27 Responses to Internet cycling coach fires client: “He just sucked.”

  • Tom Paterson says:

    “Atlas shrugged”. Nyuck, nyuck, that was a good one, Seth.

  • dan martin says:

    One of your funniest…That was hilarious!..

  • Matthew Hall says:

    That made my Friday. Hilarious! Well done.

  • R.C. White says:

    Yeah, “Atlas”… Nyuck Nyuck 2.

    You know how you can tell a West LA rider from a South Bay rider? The West LA rider shows up with The Latest Power Meter and the(according to Friction Facts) fastest wheels/hubs/BB/chain/hair gel combination that money can buy with his “zones” taped to his top tube(his legs coated with Belgian lube). The South Bay rider shows up riding whatever he had in his garage ready to half-wheel anyone within shouting distance.

    • Sausage says:

      Where does the Marina Del Rey Rider fit into this? West Side or South Bay? Just trying to figure out whether to identify with Tupac or Biggie on this one.

    • fsethd says:

      Ha, ha! Robert Efthimos, are you listening?

      ” … hair gel combination … ”

      Nyuck, nyuck back to you!

      • Sausage says:

        I’m listening, but of course the West Side Rider doesn’t show up with zones taped to his top tube, as he already has them programmed into his Garmin GPS device. And I believe that the approximately 344 Giant Propel aero super road bikes recently purchased and now being ridden by South Bay Riders has significantly closed the alleged “Bling Gap” between the regions.

        • fsethd says:

          This difference in top-tube zone taping I think differentiates the West Sider Rider from the Marina del Rey rider.

        • fsethd says:

          Another difference is that the West Sider Riders don’t need to take out payday loans to purchase their Propels.

        • fsethd says:

          Or perhaps it’s just that West Side Riders actually have a payday, as opposed to South Bay riders, who have what is more commonly referred to as “unemployment benefits.”

      • R.C. White says:

        The capital “D” denotes that it’s West of THE 405 FWY, as opposed the the “other” Marinas…

        “Bling Gap”; HA! – coin that phrase.

        • fsethd says:

          Before I came to California I always thought that in order to live in a marina you needed a houseboat.

          Silly me.

  • spinner says:

    Slopworthy is a piss poor coach. He should have put Tuppersmith on a 6 day-a-week CrossFit program. Results would be assured or injured or absurd…..

  • SBbabySeal says:

    “When he put me on that gluten-free diet and got me on a yoga program, I knew he was the real deal.”
    – Har! Classic! Shoulda gone vegan!

    • fsethd says:

      I think the consensus is that you just don’t ever fire a client, no matter how much money he pays you.

  • JPrumm says:

    I have been trying to get my on-line coach to fire me so I could sit on the couch instead. JK. I couldn’t get any on-line coach to take me.

  • Jon Trimble says:

    Does your online subscription include coaching?

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