It is amazing how much you have to do to get ready for a bike ride. This is why cyclists are always late; there is too much to do to get ready, and they are too tired/lazy/disorganized after the last ride to put shit in order so that it’s ready to go the next ride.
This follows a basic rule of life: Time in the morning is very expensive, but time at night is very cheap. This is because at night you are already up, the day is finished, you have ample time, and you are doing nothing, telling yourself that you’ve earned some rest when in fact all you mean is “I can’t be bothered to see if I have any bibs in the dirty laundry hamper that don’t have skidmarks.”
Time in the morning is expensive, incredibly so, foremost because you are still in bed whacking the snooze button. Then when you do get up there is never enough time because in addition to all of the ride stuff, there is all of the life stuff, and none of it has been sorted for the day.
So you burn through the expensive time frantically while the cheap time was frittered away unused though it could have done everything that you can’t now get done before the ride.
So you are late.
This is a wholly non-exhaustive list of bike prep:
- Make the coffee.
- Air the tars.
- Wipe the chain.
- Lube the chain.
- Take a dump.
- Fill the bottle.
- Choose the bibs.
- Choose the jersey.
- Choose the socks.
- (For some) choose the helmet.
- Get your shoes.
- Get your gloves.
- Get your glasses.
- Get your phone.
- Get your wallet-thingy.
- Get your arm warmers.
- Get your tights or legwarmers depending on the weather.
- Put on #4-14.
- Put on sunscreen.
- Drink the coffee.
- Pour the cereal.
- Look for fruit.
- Get the milk.
- Eat the cereal.
- Look for Barbie food to take with you.
- Put the Barbie food in your jersey.
- Brush your teeth.
- Send out the “I’m running late” texts.
- Read all the “I’m running late texts” from your friends.
- Check #socmed.
- Take another dump.
- Update Facegag status.
If each one of these items takes 30 seconds, that’s 42 separate tasks, or more than 20 minutes. But we know that some of them take forever, especially 6/7/8, and we also know that some of the items don’t work out as planned, such as #2, which often becomes #2.a, “Cuss when you discover the tar is flat,” followed by #2.a.1 and its progeny, “Change flat/look for tube/realize there are no spares/yank tube from other bike/etc.”
The perfect bicycle morning happens when you only have to get dressed (everything is laid out), drink coffee, eat, dump, and roll.
Failure to prepare is preparing to be thirsty
I was on a bike ride about 24 hours ago and Ivan the Terrible started attacking the shit out of me. We were about 80 miles into a 160-mile day, and we still hadn’t hit Deer Creek, the first “difficulty” of the parcours. Ivan had shown up to the ride about 15 minutes late, which meant he had chased for about sixty miles before catching us.
He is determined, real young, real strong, and waaaay better than I ever was. The last training ride we’d done together he had dropped the executioner’s axe at mile 120, punched me out the back on PCH and left me to wander in the last forty miles alone, shot, sad and feeling every inch of my frailty.
Now he was throwing down 1,000-watt efforts to shed me, immediately dumping the other riders. Shortly after the third effort we hit the bottom of Deer Creek, which looks like this only lots worse because you’re not at home watching it on YouTube but rather grabbing for gears and wondering WTF just happened.
Although Deer Creek is “only” 2.3 miles long, after you crest it you begin what is much worse, the 2-3 mile section of constant short, steep punishing stairsteps. I had edged away from Ivan at the bottom, but about 2/3 of the way up he had passed me, and just before the top I caught up to him. He’d never been up Deer Creek before and had that shellshocked look on his face. He didn’t know about the punishing climbing that remained.
“Good riding,” I said. “That was a gnarly 60-mile chase.”
“Yeah,” he said.
“And those attacks were merciless. I could barely hang on.”
Ivan looked at me. “Is there water anywhere along here?”
“Not until Neptune’s Net.”
“How far is that?”
“I don’t know. An hour?”
His bottles were empty. My rear one was full and my front one about 2/3 full. It briefly occurred to me to do the humane thing. But then I thought about the searing, pitiless efforts he’d made to dislodge me, and the prior ride, where he had happily pulled the trigger.
“I think there’s a spigot over there,” I said, pointing to a big pipe. I rode on.
Good time, bad times, I know I’ve had my share! Please consider subscribing … Click here and select the “subscribe” link in the upper right-hand corner. Thank you!