Looking to get faster this winter? Well, gravel racers, you’ve come to the wrong place. Here at Dirt Tan Bike Club, we’re sticking to the B-roads to dish you up some alternative cycling advice.
Forget your New Year’s resolutions about more fun on the bike. We’re here to teach you how to toss your cycling enthusiasm into a dumpster fire of remorse and self-loathing. Enough happy time. Follow our six-step plan and we promise you’ll enter next race season jaded, burnt out and looking to trade your bike for a carton of cigarettes.
Ready? Let’s begin!
Step 1. Marry thy trainer.
Pick out an interesting crack on your basement wall and set your trainer in front of it. Now spin away. Good cyclists can stare at that crack for four hours. Great ones do six. Which are you? Or patch the crack with Zwift and race virtually against folks who spit out 350 watts for an hour and claim to weigh 90 pounds.
On second thought, go back to the crack in the wall.
In sickness and in health… (Photo, Bike Radar)
Step 2. Compare thyself to racers nothing like thee.
You know that guy who kicks your ass on race day? The one who’s 12 years younger and 40 pounds lighter with a $10,000 bike, no kids, a part-time job and an online girlfriend in Ukraine? He tripled your miles last year. Are you just going to let that happen again?
This is Kae Takeshita. She is not like you. (Photo, Panaracer/Factor p/b Bicycle X-change)
Step 3. Covet thy neighbor’s bike.
Here’s how you get to the top. Look at your neighbor’s bike. Then go buy a better one. Then look at your other neighbor’s bike. And go buy a better one. Then look at your other neighbor’s bike…
The 3T Exploro. Mercy me… (Photo, bicycling.com)
Step 4. Make monotony the spice of life.
If you’re training the right way, why on Earth would you change? Do the same workout. Ride the same route. At the same intensity. Forever and ever. Amen.
Keep it on the straight and narrow. (Photo, cupofdirtchallenge.com)
Step 5. Leave thy friends behind.
Can we be honest? Your friends—they’re kind of holding you back. Quit them. If they’re stubborn (and most cyclists are), just make yourself intolerable to ride with. They’ll get the picture. You’re stronger without them.
Friends are so 1997 anyway. (Photo, cosmopolitan.com)
Step 6. Rest when thou art dead.
Know how to spot a lazy person? They’re the ones who drone on about “the importance of recovery.” Don’t buy it. You know what to call the day after five days of heavy workouts? Day six, cupcake. Now pedal.
Quitters, man. (Photo, dcnyhistory.com)
OK, enough sarcasm. Yes, endurance sports are about enduring discomfort. And the only way to get better at it is to train yourself into a familiarity with that discomfort. So go ahead. Train hard. Suffer big. But remember: You do yourself no favors when you allow that suffering to grow larger than the joy you find just riding your bike.