Wisdom is called wisdom because it has been proven over time. Those who intentionally ignore wisdom are fools.
The only advice that Eddy Merckx ever gives people who want to know how to become better is this: “Ride your bike more.”
And hard on the heels of his protege’s junior world road title, Olympian and Lux coach Roy Knickman said this: “Our program is based on lots of riding and lots of racing.”
Contrast that with the programs offered up by most experts and local club “coaches,” programs whose only heavy lifting involves social media preening, wattage prescriptions, “controlled” rides presided over by a “ride boss,” and admonitions to not “overtrain.”
How the fuck can you overtrain when you don’t even train? That’s what I want to know. Fields would have scoffed at this like you can’t imagine.
And when it comes to doing local, hardass events like BWR, Phil’s Double Fudge, Nosco, the Full Fig, why aren’t these rides packed with people trying to get better?
So you can imagine how stoked I was to learn that the NPR was extended to five laps to make it safer (questionable) and harder (UNQUESTIONABLE). Of course the West Siders still play hop-in wanker by shaving off the start of the ride, and numerous of them still only do four or even three laps, but the pack is smaller, the speeds are higher, and if you aren’t on your game you’re gonna come unstitched like a cheap pair of bib shorts.
Enter Exhibit 1 of “I guess in order to go faster I will have to work harder,” a/k/a Denis Faye.
Denis is one of those midlife crisis dudes who discovered cycling as an alternative to life’s headaches, and over the last few years just keeps getting stronger. His signature move is to NOT dick around on the NPR but to hit out hard, hit out early, and devil-take-the-hindmost.
He used to get caught and dropped a lot but now? Not so much.
Yesterday he opened the festivities with a fist to the mouth and was followed by Wes Morgan, barely recovered from Nosco on Sunday. They rolled away fast. Their “neutral zone” is back in bed.
On Pershing, SoCal’s fastest and strongest rider, Evens Stievenart, dropped a bunker buster on the peloton, strung it out to 35, and the chase was on. West Side hop-in-wankers glommed on at the Parkway, there were a series of counterpunches that shattered the group, and Jeff Mahin rolled with Evens in tow, or vice versa.
They caught Denis and Wes, eventually shelled Wes, and Denis hung on by a meat thread for five entire laps. The peloton chased its brains out and never got close. I was shelled on the first lap and only re-glommed thanks to a stop light. I got shelled again on the third lap and again re-attached thanks to the traffic signals. Later on I mercifully flatted and was able to rest before playing hop-in-wanker myself and catching the group for the last lap and a half.
Denis made it to the finish with two of the strongest riders in LA, not because he’s any good, not because he’s a wattage maven, not because he has a structured ride program, but because he rides a lot, races ‘cross on the weekends, is grittier than a EULA, and isn’t afraid to go all-out.
That’s how it used to be, folks.
That’s how it still is.
It’s called “wisdom” because it works.
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