One of the greatest lines in old man cycling lore was coined by Greg Lemond, and we’ve all tattooed it on our foreheads for those mornings when it’s cold, it’s wet, it’s dark, it’s nasty, it’s punishing, plus it’s all those things outdoors, too.
Here, of course, is the mantra: “It doesn’t get easier, you just go faster.”
Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth, or farther, if you’re still stuck in that further/farther grammar debate that was resolved in the last century. And to find the ludicrous falsity of the statement we need look no further/farther than Greg himself.
He’s so slow now that I could beat him with one leg tied behind your back. And talk about going easier … that guy shows up on charity rides and practically has to be pushed. On the flats. He’s bigger than the cargo hold of a C-5 Galaxy, and far from gutting out the pain as he suffers like a dog, when he pedals he looks happier than vegan at a tofu slaughterhouse.
So today’s atheist old fart cycling clinic, the mantra is this: “It gets easier, you just go slower.” This idea that you’re a fitness machine on an ever-ascending scale to the summit of Mt. Eddy is a big, fat, stinking bucket of rotten dogsbodies, and in today’s workout regimen you’re finally going to remove your head from the swill and take a breath of fresh air.
To recap: You are older each day. As you age you become irreversibly weaker, Meeker notwithstanding, and then you die. This can’t be prevented by strengthening your core or RuggedMaxx2 vegan organic sex pills.
The “easier and slower” mantra perfectly comports with the natural collapse of all physical and mental systems as you age. Even if you’re Todd Hickman and pumped full of stanozolol, you’re still going slower than you did when you were 25. And if you’re going faster at 45 than you were at 25, it’s because you weren’t very fast back then, or perhaps you were dead.
I can hear the wailing and teeth-gnashing now. “Uh-uh! I PR’ed the Strive segment by my mailbox! By five seconds!”
“Studies show that [insert ridiculous claim here]!”
“Older riders have better endurance!”
Blah de blah de blah de Bladi.
In response, please note that there are a host of parameters to measure your slowness, and the best one is your placing in UCI Pro Tour races. Oh? You don’t do those? Well then you’re so slow that you’re way behind last place. You know how people deride second place as the “first loser”? If you’re not racing the Pro Tour you’re the zillionth loser. (Pro tip: Masters racing isn’t equivalent to the UCI Pro Tour .)
So here’s how you integrate the “slower but easier” methodology into your training regimen, customized for your decaying body and mind.
- When doing intervals, which, by the way, you should not be doing at your age, and for which you should frankly be ashamed of yourself, as soon as you start to “feel the burn” in your lungs or legs, douse the fire by pushing down less hard on the pedals. It will feel better and you will go slower.
- When climbing out of the saddle and you’re “on the rivet,” sit down and get “off the rivet.” Inhale deeply as you push down less hard. Get off your bike and sit on a guardrail. See how many bird species you can identify in the next thirty minutes. See how much easier it got?
- If the peloton begins ramping it up for a sprunt, move your hand from your drops to the hoods and then to the tops, and pushing down less hard on the pedals until you are by yourself which will be immediately. You will be going much slower and your groin parts will be feeling lots better, plus you will not be the guy skidding on his gums after Wanks McGee chopped his wheel to take the imaginary victory. Genteelly remove your cigarette case and enjoy a Virginia Slims.
- Set up your indoor trainer with the 95-inch TV monitor for a simulated interval sesh on a hilly stage of the Tour, and program it for at least four hours. Then set up a card table with a catered 12-course sushi and fried chicken and chocolate cake lunch with leftover tins of Danish butter cookies. Turn on the sim program, pull up a chair to the card table, and see if you can eat all the food before the program ends.
There. You’ve gone easier, and you just went slower. A shit ton slower. Didn’t that feel better anyway?
For $2.99 per month you can subscribe to this blog and go slow and easy. Click here and select the “subscribe” link in the upper right-hand corner. Thank you!