Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Riding With Axe Murderers

The first thing they say about axe murderers is, “He always just kept to himself.”  That’s precisely why I don’t train alone.  My goodness, what would my mom think if I turned into a crazed sociopath after knocking out a 2 hour solo interval.  Over the New Year’s week, like you, base training got in full swing for me.  Miles…core…blabidy blabidy blah.  Since one of the things I enjoy most about cycling is the social aspect, I’m not into Silence of the Lambs solo training.  I like to do well in races, but I’m not about to pass up a group ride with my buddies and risk becoming a chainsaw wielding maniac in order to appease the great gods of training like Joe Friel.  Sure riding alone can develop incredible focus or elicit a feeling of serenity, but it also allows thoughts to stew. 

Saying that, I’m now convinced I-pods were invented by someone who was exercising alone and lingered a tish too long on a nasty thought of what they would do if they ran into the three “yoots” driving the truck that just about nearly sent them into the ditch.  Instead of trading their helmet in for a “Scream” mask, that athletic geek at Apple said something like, “Dude, get a hold of yourself.  All you need to do is figure out a way to get a good solo workout in without your cauldron of evil thoughts slipping toward the Freddy Krueger side of the social scale.”  Then the lithium-ion powered LED light went off in his head.  "Ah ha!  I’ll pipe people singing about good relationships and social situations directly into my ears while I exercise.”  So now, when we can’t muster up a buddy to ride with, we turn to the I-pod.  It’s a good thing-Martha Stewart.

That said, let me introduce you to my non-axe murdering cyclist friends I rode with, in all or in part, over the past week.  I know they’re not currently plotting their own version of Scary Movie ‘09 because they, unlike flesh craving lunatics, don’t keep to themselves.  Instead of resorting to the solo ride, all you really need to do is pick the right riding partner for whatever your coach calls for.

The Purist

The Purist is my buddy whose depth of cycling knowledge and history astounds me.  He’s also very opinionated on every subject imaginable.  Unlike most Masters aged racers, in his youth, instead of Rolling Stone, he somehow managed to have European cycling magazines stashed under his bed along with all the naked stuff.  I like to ride with him because he does base training old school (Long Slow Miles) and since he’s got something to say about everything there’s never an awkward pause in the conversation.  The miles roll by like the scenery out of a train window.  Plus, since he’s sort of self employed, he has the time to bust out those 4-6 hour rides during the week.  So, when the bible calls for the long tempo ride, I call the Purist.

The Pounder

While it’s what I call our cats when they put their layer of fat on for the winter, The Pounder is always in decent shape year round and is just a little bit stronger than me…also all year round.  There are a few Pounders I ride with.  The Pounder also doesn’t have enough time for Long Slow Miles.  He has to make do with limited hours, slipping in a ride here and there.  Riding with The Pounder I have to stay on my toes.  With an errant thought provoked pause, you’ll quickly find yourself gapped by The Pounder.  On the flats or on the hills, The Pounder is always turning the screws like a spoke wrench, an eighth turn at a time, just a hair beyond my threshold.  While I love the company and riding with The Pounder, a little Pounder goes a long way in winter.

The Goal Setter

The Goal Setter isn’t one person.  From season to season, I’ve noticed that some rider’s patience or focus for training wanes.  However, there’s always at least one person I know who’s focused on a methodology of attaining specific goals.  It’s good to keep in touch with the Goal Setter, because throughout the week chances are that one of his ride plans will match yours.  Need to brush up on your mountain bike skills, your pedal stroke, or any number of cycling specific workouts…call the Goal Setter.

The Clubber

These guys don’t race, but have a real passion for cycling and beating up on their friends.  I call them The Clubbers, because I first met a few of them on a cycle club ride.  The great thing about being a racer type and riding with The Clubbers is that: they don’t ride enough during the week ensuring that the Saturday Clubber ride is chock full of pent up testosterone and secondly, one of them in any given situation wants to beat the rest into submission.  I never attack or push the pace with The Clubbers.  I usually make it a point not to attack on someone else’s ride.  Instead I try to ride second wheel.  It’s the perfect short-recovery interval workout.  Go with the attacks…get caught when the Clubbers sit up…repeat.  The other day I challenged myself to be “The Closer” of The Clubbers.  I spent the day closing every gap that developed.

Super Mega Mega Men

These guys, a few on my team, are into the Ultra Endurance events.  These are the guys that secretly do jumping jacks with a backpack of bricks, fill their 2nd water bottle up with spare change, and ride only retro steel bikes in winter.  It’s like motor pacing riding with these guys.  Unlike The Pounder, these guys don’t attack, but their speed is unrelenting.  When you need the long ride, call the Purist.  When you need the long tempo ride, fill your jersey pockets with potatoes and call Super Mega Mega Man.


Euro Peloton said...

funny, engaging, and eerily correct article. thanks!

Joe Biker said...

Appreciate it. A comment like that make's my day. Checked out your blog too. Nice stuff. Thanks for the headline love. Polls look fun! I'll add you to roll on my front page.

Jonathan Pait said...

You need to develop a survey that gives a list of questions and then returns the results to show a rider which category he falls into. It might end up being pretty funny.

Enjoyed the post!