I was riding the other day and I heard Smug Dude talking with Wide-Eyed Fred. “Time to knock it waaaay back,” he said.
“Yeah?” said Wide Eyed Fred.
“Yeah, dude. It’s the off season.”
“What the fuck are you talking about?” I butted in. “It’s fucking July.”
Smug Dude ignored me. “Now’s when you have to start noodling,” he said to Wide Eyed Fred. “The hard efforts are done.”
“What hard efforts?” I said. “You lazy motherfuckers have done less than ten races since January, and not a single one of them was longer than an hour.”
Smug Dude got irritated as Wide Eyed Fred nervously looked over at me. “Don’t listen to him,” said Smugster. “He’s never fast because he never rests. He’s just medium fast. Like a bad hamburger.”
“Wait a minute,” I said. “Where is all this off season shit coming from? Off of what? Your medication?”
Smug Dude couldn’t tolerate it any more. “There’s something that underlies sound racing programs such as mine,” he smugged. “It’s called ‘science.’ You might want to meet her some day.”
“Yeah, it’s the science that works for people in their 20’s who get paid to race bicycles for a living, not for geriatrics who do half a dozen age-graded races in six months and for whom the gnarliest interval is the wait time between breakfast and the morning snack.”
Wide Eyed Fred finally got up enough courage to ask a question. “So are you saying we shouldn’t rest? Smug Dude says that if we don’t rest we implode.”
“Look at Smug Dude,” I said. “He’s getting dropped on the climbs in June, when he’s supposedly peaking. He hasn’t won or podiumed a single fucking race in four years. It’s all a charade to to cover for one sad fact.”
“What’s that?” asked Wide Eyed Fred.
“That he is a lazy motherfucker who doesn’t want to ride his bike hard, so he comes up with these nutty training theories that let him dick off from July to March, ride hard three or four times in April, May, and June, declare victory without having won shit, and spend the rest of his year analyzing his power data and Strava bullshit.”
“What’s wrong with that?” Wide Eyed Fred liked the arithmetic of four hard rides out of 365.25 days.
“Nothing,” I said. “Riding easy and being a lazy motherfucker is why we cycle. The only people who seriously follow a training plan at our decrepit age burn out and give up after a handful of seasons, max.”
“Really?” Wide Eyed Fred was starting to worry about his $450/month coaching plan. “What is your training plan then?”
“My plan is the Ride Yer Fuggin’ Bike Plan. Do you have some free time? Ride yer fuggin’ bike. Eventually you will get tired, then hungry, after which you will have a cheeseburger and fart blissfully off to sleep. If dog blesses you, you will wake up. Then, repeat.”
“So you’re saying that all these meticulous plans don’t work?”
“Of course they work if you are something known as a bike racer who possesses a thing called talent and receives something known as a paycheck for the aforesaid bike racing. For everyone else it’s just silly prattle.”
“I’ve gotten stronger riding with Smug Dude,” he protested.
“Right. Because you have been riding yer fuggin’ bike. The moment you stop, you will get slower. It has nothing to do with these crazypants astrology-based training regimens.”
“I dunno,” he said. “Are you sure about that?”
“Fuck yes,” I said. “Remember Crazy Jane?”
“What about him?” asked Wide Eyed Fred.
“Remember two years ago when he was talking about Cat 4 domination and about how every other word was ‘bike racing’ and ‘intervals’ and ‘wattage’?”
“Well where the fuck is he now?”
“I don’t know.”
“I do,” I said. “He’s propped the fuck up in a La-Z-Boy binge watching ‘Friends.'”
Smug Dude couldn’t take it any more. “Don’t listen to him. I see this every year. People who aren’t any good hammer hard in the fall and make you think they’re fit and you’re not. Then you follow the plan and by February you’re riding them off your wheel. They haven’t gotten slower. You’ve gotten faster. And remember that: THEY NEVER GET FASTER.”
I laughed. “You lazy motherfuckers haven’t ridden me off your wheel all year. And you’re right, I never get faster. I get slower. It’s called getting old. And so the fuck do you. The only difference is that I admit I’m a slow-ass, lazy motherfucker and you pretend that you’re prepping for a spring classics campaign in Belgium.”
Smug Dude rolled his eyes, then stared pointedly at Wide Eyed Fred. “It’s the off season. Let’s chill.”
I noted out that we were already going fifteen miles an hour on a flat road. “We get any chiller,” I said, “someone’s catching pneumonia.”
Then I left.
Welcome to the off season. I’ll be riding somewhere else.