The Atheist Training Bible for Old Bicycle Racers, Chapter 14: : It gets easier, you just go slower

December 10, 2015 § 29 Comments

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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?
  3. 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.
  4. 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?



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§ 29 Responses to The Atheist Training Bible for Old Bicycle Racers, Chapter 14: : It gets easier, you just go slower

  • SurLaJante says:

    Brilliant – next year’s training regimen is immediately sorted.

  • dangerstu says:

    Damn, my secrets out…

  • Brian in VA says:

    Finally, a training program I can really sink my fat ass into!

  • Louis says:

    Number 4 would take too much time. But I have been on 1-3 for my cycling life. And I’m about the same slow now, at 57 years, as I ever was.

    • fsethd says:

      It’s not working unless you’re slower now than you ever were. You need to work the program better.

  • Waldo says:

    I very much want to see you beat Greg Lemond with one leg tied behind my back.

    • Carlos says:

      Me too. I’ll help saw off your leg and tie it to Waldo’s back.
      Seriously though, I just climbed up four flights of stairs to sit my fat behind on the chair where it will stay for the next 8 hours. After a week off the bike (after an accident) damn that hurt. I like your regime.

    • fsethd says:

      So does Greg.

  • Brian Gaskey says:


  • channel_zero says:

    Chris Horner has first hand, experience at inexplicably going slower. His reasons do NOT include pushing less hard on pedals.

    • fsethd says:

      “It doesn’t get easier, you just go slower” is NOT the message that we at USAC are putting out to encourage more leaky prostate folks to buy more stuff from our sponsors. NOT.

  • UstaBeFit says:

    So I have absolutely nailed items 1 thru 3 but as delusional as I am when it comes to buying bikes & kits to “improve” my cycling I draw the line at an indoor trainer. Why you ask? Well first, I live in a semi arid desert & riding indoors is not necessary. Second & more importantly, years ago after one of Junkyard’s “mishaps”, I set his bike up on his brand spanking new LeMond Revolution trainer….I pedaled it for about 1 minute to make sure all was right & I think Junkyard pedaled it once as he watched a TdF stage & that was it. He did however post a pic on Face Bag so I know it happened. I believe FukDude is now the owner of said trainer…no idea how many times he has used it as his training is very stealth & whenever he shows up on the Donut or Holiday ride he always laments about his lack of fitness…then he attacks😂

    • fsethd says:

      Hahaha! Yeah, Fukdude’s always sick and out of shape and recovering from a bad accident and has been busy with work … not.

  • A-Trav says:

    From what I understand, GL had to quit intensive physical activity because it accelerates the lead uptake from shot pellets that remain in his body from a hunting accident back in ’87. Sure wish my excuse(s) were half that good!

  • Andrew Gustafson says:

    Wanky, it is OK to dis old guys, but jokes about Lemond are best tempered with a show of respect for that true gentleman.

    In 2007, at age 66, I was in the best bicycle conditioning of my life..Okay, I started riding at age 60. Anyway, I was doing the High Sierra Fall Century as a tune up for the Everest Challenge the following week when I had a mechanical. An overweight middle aged gentleman, who had been suffering from life-threatening illness for much of that year, stopped to ask whether he could be of assistance. It was Greg Lemond. He explained that he was just learning how to fix things because in the old days they wouldn’t let him touch the bike. We then rode together and chatted for a while until I noticed he was breathing heavily. I thought to myself, “Hot damn, I’m going to drop Greg Lemond.” At that moment, we came to the bottom of a steep climb to the first rest stop. Greg and his teenage son decided to sprint for it. For a nanosecond I entertained the notion of holding his wheel, followed by a sense of awe at what a real champion can do even when severely debilitated. I finished 1.5 hours ahead of him, but cherish most the memory of having been privileged to ride for a few minutes with the greatest cyclist America, or arguably any country, has ever produced.

    • fsethd says:

      He’s an icon, an idol, and a great guy on many levels, not limited to cycling. Thanks for sharing.

  • gcziko says:

    Or go faster and easier with e-assist.

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