Old rest, young rest

June 11, 2018 § 2 Comments

When you are young and you are a cyclist, you ride a bunch and get tired, then you rest. You might get off your bike a week, maybe two, to give your muscles and your mind a chance to recuperate.

But when you are old, and especially when you are a new rider, and especially when you are on the Wanky Training Protocol, it’s a little bit different. When she started off, I had my wife on a modest plan based on lots of sciencey stuff that I made up as I went along, but two of the main points were these:

  1. Mostly short and easy.
  2. One “stretch” day a week.
  3. Tons of rest.

She followed the plan and like anyone else who follows a reasonable training plan, she got fit pretty quick. Three months in she did her first ride up Mandeville, which was pretty gnarly because at the end of the ride she still had to do the 1,200-foot climb up to the cheap seats back home.

Every month I’d throw in a solid week of no cycling at all, and she hardly ever had more than four riding days a week. After about six months, though, she finished a week of riding, took a week off, but when she started up again she felt flat as a pancake.

“Time to take a big break,” I said, and that went over like putting a book on Trump’s desk.

You know how people who spent fifty years not cycling suddenly treat a missed week like the end of the world? But I was convinced she needed more than just a couple of weeks off because even though a two-week break sounds like forever to a fit, habituated cyclist, I think that beginners, especially old ones, really need more than that.

For one, when they ride they aren’t simply tearing down muscle. They are tearing down and rebuilding entire organ systems. Digestion, elimination, endocrine, not to mention cardiovascular systems, all of which are being thrown into chaos with the sudden conversion from sedentary to cyclist.

Unlike young people who can go from two packs a day and a case of beer to a three-hour marathon in twelve months, old people … can’t. Whether it’s their joints, their digestive tract, or the capillary network they have to beef up to cope with the demands of sustained exertion, it takes a huge toll, one that is far beyond what they can recover from  in a few days.

This is Week Three. Seems like it’s working.



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The Atheist Training Bible for Old Bicycle Racers, Chapter 6: Troubleshooting

February 5, 2014 § 23 Comments

Thanks to your first full month on the Wanky Training Plan ™ you’re now enjoying something you’ve not felt in years: A significant boost in cash from not having to rush out and purchase some new lopsided chainring, a new arterial wall thickness meter, or a 3-year contract with a personal leg-lenghtening coach.

But before we go into a detailed examination of which beers to purchase with your excess income, it’s time to troubleshoot. Although a large part of the WTP involves learning new pathologies, an equally important part is unlearning old ones. So let’s take a minute to review some common mistakes that you’re making, and how to quickly (and cheaply) correct them.

  1. Data proliferation: Watts, heart rate, drag coefficient, Strava, w/kg, kilojoules burned, VAM, Bam, Thank you Ma’am … ditch all that crap. There are only two numbers that matter: Your weight, your speed. The first one can be calculated before and after bedtime with a $19.99 bathroom scales. The second one can be measured with a wristwatch. Take all your other fancy measuring devices and put them in a safe place at the bottom of the ocean. “No way!” I can hear you screaming. “I gotta know my per-leg wattage and my VAM and my … ” Look, silly. It took mankind thirty thousand years to invent a clock that could keep time. Once they did, people could sail around the fuggin’ world and wind up exactly where they started. Are you telling me that you’re doing something more gnarly and significant than sailing around the world in a wooden bark through hurricanes, 80-foot seas, and several uncharted continents? Right. So shut up, buy a Timex, and get cracking. It was good enough for Magellan, it’s good enough for you.
  2. Wardrobe malfunctioning: The WTP ™ has helped you get off the training regimen that was designed for Mark Cavendish, and onto one that was designed for Alan Hale, Jr. Now we need to reduce the single biggest impediment to getting quality time on the bike. Yes, I’m talking about the hours you spend trying on different kits at home trying to figure out which one will be most suitable for the following day. Sausage, this means you. Prez, this absolutely means you. Take that favorite jersey from your first century with the yellow and green and mauve lightning bolts and hammers and unicorns, and everything of its ilk (Liz Kurtz isn’t the only one who can say “ilk”), and burn them or give them to aspiring cyclists who you want to laugh at behind their back. Narrow it down to one version of a team or club or anonymous kit, two helmets, two pairs of shoes, and the hardest of all (for Prez), only one sock color combo.
  3. Diet planning: The best reason not to diet is because it’s no fun. Plus, it makes you grumpy, and there is no diet ever that said “You will perform best with bread, butter, and beer.” Except for Wanky’s plan, of course, which you’re already on. So forget about calories, fat content, and properly balancing nutrients. When the California megadrought kicks in three months from now, we’ll all be lucky to have enough water to cook the gruel we’re given at food relief lines. In other words, eat up.
  4. Cheapassing on your bike fit: Okay, I’ve cadged this from Outside Magazine, but it’s the one piece of advice that, although completely spurious, is still more reliable and cost effective than buying another case of pixie dust. It matters how you sit on your saddle and how your feet push on the pedals. Proper seating may or may not make you faster, but if you get a good fit, which will cost you a bunch of money, you will end up on a saddle with a full cut-out and positioning that sends rivers of warm, pulsing, fresh, bright red, oxygenated blood to your genitals. Do I have to draw you a picture as to why that’s good?
  5. Lying to your significant other: This is the single biggest impediment to taking it to the next level on the WTP ™. If you have to keep a secret bank account, secret credit cards, ship stuff to your office address, lie about what you’re doing on the weekend, lie about when you’re coming back, lie about your private coaching, lie about the reasons you can’t have sex, lie about how much stuff costs, and lie about how much fun you’re having on date night, it’s time for some Wanky Reality Therapy ™. This, however, is part of a separate package, so you’ll only get the first part of it: Quit fucking lying. If he/she/it can’t handle the fact that being a pro masters wanker is more important than marriage, children, financial stability, mental health, or gainful employment, it’s time to cut bait and throw your line into a different stream. Wanky One-Stop Family Law Services ™ are available for a low, low monthly fee, although not as low as the monthly blog subscription fee, which is pretty darned low.

That’s it for today, campers. Let’s get out there and tweezle! It’s an easy week, remember?


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