The fake cave

For some reason cyclists have a variety of descriptors that purport to show how badass they are. “Pain cave” and “in the box” are two of the most common, along with “beast mode,” one of my faves.

However, I’ve noticed an inverse correlation between the use of such terms and the actual badassedness of the rider using them. In fact, the riders who truly do dwell in the “pain cave” never talk about it. They simply post up their ride and let the stats do the talking for them. Or, they don’t post anything at all … you just go with them on a ride and find out that what they’re doing is different from what you are doing.

To go along with truth in advertising laws, I’m recommending that cyclists start using the following phrases to indicate what their ride was really like so that co-workers, family members, and people standing in line at the convenience store won’t mistake them for anything more than what they are: Ordinary middle-aged men riding overpriced plastic toys in expensive underwear.

  1. Cupcake Mode. This is the mode you are always in. You crumble easily, you are prettily decorated, and you contain zero hard minerals.
  2. Candyass: Whenever you get the urge to say “badass,” say this in its place.
  3. In the Gentleness Cave. This is what happens the moment you feel any discomfort: You begin to pedal gently, or better yet, stop and have a Gu, check your text messages, snap a selfie.
  4. To smurf (v.): Use instead of the verb “suffer” to describe the slowing, cutesy pace you default to whenever the speed picks up, the road tilts up, it starts to sprinkle, or one of your gadgets begins beeping because you might eventually leave Zone 6.
  5. Quarter gas: Replaces “full gas,” a term you normally use to describe those efforts when you are being pummeled trying to keep up with some grandpa in floppy dickhiders and tennis shoes on the bike path.
  6. On the sofa: Cyclists who have never ridden a saddle with rivets love to say “on the rivet” to indicate how hard they were going, when instead their data shows they did a 22-mile pancake ride, took selfies, fiddled with their water bottles, and got a flat.
  7. Slob: Ersatz for “Clydesdale,” a word that obese and unfit riders use to describe their bad condition by making it sound like they are mighty draught animals doing heroic labor.
  8. With the wankers: You’ll often hear someone who got shelled hard and early from the group ride drag ass up to the regroup and say they were “in the grupetto,” as if the gaggle of quitters he was riding with are somehow analogous to the Tour riders who, after getting dropped on Mont Ventoux, band together to make the time cut.
  9. Tweezle: “We hammered” always means “we rode weakly in little gears.” Tweezle is the word.
  10. Slug season: Use this instead of “off season” because either a) You don’t race so the whole year is “off season,” b) You are “peaking” for a masters race in June and pretending that the remaining 11.5 months are part of a training plan, or c) Bacon.
  11. NSS: Tell people about your “Narcissist Strava Score” instead of your “Training Stress Score” because all that time on #socmed is, well, you know exactly what it is.

I’m sure there are lots more, feel free to add!


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17 thoughts on “The fake cave”

  1. Hey Seth, I’ve been a subscriber for quite awhile. Would you take $1,000.00 per sock? That’s almost $20.00 for the pair!!

  2. 🤣🤣thank you !! Oh my dog…did you read the piece in Today’s WSJ about celeb coaches helping riders PR ?

  3. Hello fsethd,

    I’ll trade you a pair of View-Speed ….. fancy …. aero …. grade 5 titanium …. 4 Watt reduction ….. skewers …. (for real bikes without disk brakes) …. guaranteed to make you aero enough to keep up with the big boys …. for a pair of socks.

    (Although I think I have seen pictures of you with one of those new fangled disk brake contraptions.)



    1. Socks coming your way, e-mail me your address. No need for more watts over here, just more time!

  4. “Raced Nobody” happens when one bolts out of the CotKU parking lot in front of vehicular traffic; ostensibly “taking a flyer” to the first stop sign on the group roll-out (my white Seth Socks are marvy btw THANKS!

  5. “Windbag ride” – the “recovery ride” you post three days after tweezling up a single Malibu hill or the “taper ride” you posted three days beforehand. Guilty.

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