I do not have a coach, and I’ve never had a coach. Most racers, when they are just getting started in the sport will hire a coach to teach them the ways of training and racing on bikes, but my formative bike years came before the internet and email—so I learned to train and race the old fashioned way—by poring over dog-eared magazines and listening to advice given by people who may or may not have had any clue about what they were talking about. “Never drink water.” “Never shift out of the small chainring in the winter.” “Collect dead squirrels as you ride in case you suffer a hunger knock.” There were many different opinions about how to go about being a bike racer, and it was up to me to disseminate which ideas were valid and which were not, and it was complicated figuring out how many squirrels to collect for an eighty mile ride.
But somewhere around the five year mark in my pretend bike racing career, I started to think that I had things figured out. I was completely clueless of course, but there’s a strange phenomenon in our sport where racers, usually at the five year mark in their careers, begin to think that they have things dialed in; that they’ve got the whole concept of squirrel carcass-collecting nailed down. I plead guilty to the delusion of considering myself competent enough to guide my own squirrel program, and I’m also foolish enough to think that the world needs to know about my techniques. So I am going to share them with you here, and as always, check with a licensed mental health professional before taking any advice that I dispense.
Leave the house dwelling on something that really pisses you off, ride your bike like it ordered five appetizers and wanted to split the check evenly. Keep pedaling until you are at peace with the world.
Again, start the ride by dwelling (dwelling is a cornerstone of my training methods) upon something that is keeping you up at night (if you can’t think of anything, you can always ruminate upon your own mortality—as you do more of these intervals, finding something to fixate upon becomes easier and easier). Ride until you forget not only what you were dwelling on, but you also almost forget the way back to your house.
I’ve been inside for three days straight interval
This one’s pretty self explanatory. As self-employed, works at home types know, in the winter you can easily fall into a rut of days where you go from bed to work to trainer to family time to bed again. This interval disrupts that cycle by exposing a rider to sunlight, and dissipating the urge to have drawn out arguments with your scanner/printer.
I’ve also developed a series of indoor workouts, which include:
I’m going to ride indoors because all my outdoor clothing is dirty and needs washing
Riding outdoors can be wet and messy, and laziness prevents you from washing your clothes. This ride will keep you pedaling until you run out of clean indoor clothes. Then you have to do some wash, Captain Slackhouse.
Indoor session that matches what’s on Netflix
I match my indoor training session durations to what’s streaming on Netflix. A long session would be a romcom matched to an episode of Game of Thrones (and yes, I know that GoT only streams on HBO Go, you can substitute any streaming service for Netflix for these intervals), a short session would be three sitcoms. If your wifi is down, consider substituting some anger intervals.
And finally, there’s the most important ride of all, the joy recovery ride. This ride can be done alone or with a group, on any bike, at any time of year. This ride can be done at any pace, and only requires that you ride until you feel like you have spring in your cleats and a pocket full of squirrels.
And that’s all I know about training, it feels like I’ve just coached you, so I’ll be emailing you an invoice for five squirrels.