Confessions of a Keeper: Descension

Confessions of a Keeper: Descension

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The only thing worse than being two months from peaking and too fat to climb is being two months past peaking and in the middle of the season of rapid weight gain. At least with the former there is something to look forward to as you measure the incremental gains of your training as the almost daily rides of the season accumulate on your Strava profile. The latter can seem like a long dark tunnel that leads only to fat and slow. For those of us living in the Northern Hemisphere, on the tundra and ice-covered roads, with only 8 1/2 hours of daylight, a proper road ride and last season’s gains can seem like a distant dream. The juxtaposition of climbing well for your weight and expanding into a larger jersey size before your very own eyes is a cross the Velominatus must sometimes have to bear.

2012 was perhaps the best season I’ve ever had on a bike. It actually began on the trainer on New Year’s Day as I started training for the Keepers Tour. After returning from the trip of a lifetime riding the cobbles of Norther France and Belgium I was able to hold momentum at the start of the season at home. Next up was the Almanzo 100 in May, a very hard gravel race in which I was happy with my result. Then, the guys began gathering for our Tuesday group rides. On the whole, the group really got after it this year and we pushed each other to some great levels of fitness. Coupled with my almost daily solo rides, I was seeing progress early and often. Then the season was punctuated in September by a 15th placing in the Heck of the North, another gravel race. I had timed my peaks pretty well for an amateur and as my Strava numbers got bigger La Volupte and I had become closer acquaintances.

Then November happened. I hold about as much appreciation for November as I do for March in this part of the world. That is to say none. November and March are the shoulder seasons and the only time of year when running actually seems like a plausible way to stay fit. In November the Rule #11 chickens start coming home to roost, the roads can turn to shit and aren’t safe to ride, and graveling becomes an exercise in survival as half the month is slotted for deer hunting. Mates that haven’t been seen all summer start to wander into town again for Happy Hour beers at the local micro-brew. Food becomes laden with butter, chocolate, and carbs. This November was exacerbated by the fact that I went down for two solid weeks with a viral infection. I was so fucking sick I shit the bed one night. For Merckx’s Sake it took a lot of the V to recover from that one. Now I know how Thor must have felt about this year’s Spring Classics campaign. The only difference being my spring was better than his and my fall was his spring.

So let me have it. Tell me to Rule #5. Tell me to get out and ride my bike, set up the trainer, stop whinging. I probably deserve it after all this. I’m banking on the fact though that there are others like me out there. Others who have witnessed their own precipitous descension from peak form to shit in the matter of weeks. It really is incredible, the difference in how long it takes to build that form and how quickly it disappears. So please, grant me this one confession. Share your own despair if you like but then let’s move on. Let’s share in the fleeting catharsis that being a little bitch can offer and then begin the long, painful, and awesome slog back to the V together again.

 

// Breaking The Rules // The Rules

  1. @Marcus You should know us South Aussies like to pretend Victoria does not exist.

    Should be good though, who’s riding besides Gerro? Also looking forward to my week in the Alps for the Alpine Classic.

  2. Inspired from THIS MACHINE KILLS COBBLES - thanks!

    This winter:

    Keep warm;

    Out riding, dress appropriately for the weather

    Take care when stepping outside from dark rooms

    Too cold for a ride outside, stay indoors and exercise: (Squats Sagan & Basso style)

    The above should be able for your to start next season like this;

    Thanks THIS MACHINE KILLS COBBLES! great pic collection!

  3. @sthilzy

    Fuck me!

    I want legs like that! Must stop eating Tim Tams.

  4. @mouse

    @sthilzy

    Fuck me!

    I want legs like that! Must stop eating Tim Tams.

    I don’t know what Tim tams are, but I need to stop eatin period. That last picture is beautiful.

  5. The gun of a guy in my team. Fucking Vegatarians!

  6.  

    @RedRanger  @mouse

    @sthilzy

    Fuck me!

    I want legs like that! Must stop eating Tim Tams.

    I don’t know what Tim tams are, but I need to stop eatin period. That last picture is beautiful.

    Mmmmmm….. Tim Tams - hibernation food! It’s won’t you DON’T eat to get legs like that!

    I suppose you could smear Tim Tams over your legs to get close to that tan?!

  7. @sthilzy

    Fuck me!

    I want legs like that! Must stop eating Tim Tams.

    That’s why I ride, Mmmm Double Coated Tim Tams!

  8. @Daccordi Rider

    The gun of a guy in my team. Fucking Vegatarians!

    Biggest, mostest blood pipes I’ve ever seen! Any muscles? Get a pic when out of the saddle, stomping, like a hill sprint!

  9. @sthilzy

    @Daccordi Rider

    The gun of a guy in my team. Fucking Vegatarians!

    Biggest, mostest blood pipes I’ve ever seen! Any muscles? Get a pic when out of the saddle, stomping, like a hill sprint!

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/baronvonthierry/7861993982/in/set-72157631247816100

    Try this link, the guy on the front. You don’t want to chase him up a hill, he is an animal!

  10. Hit the wrong button, as a comparison my uncut and unmuscled guns (me on the front). But this attack 7km into a 60km race took 2 with me and stuck till the end where I was outsprinted.

  11. @sthilzy

    If you’re hibernating for the winter and your SPD pedals are doing nothing, found a use for them;

    You can do this with most pedals, but not Speedplays.  #1 reason to run something else.

  12. @Marko

    @Marcus

    @Daccordi Rider dont have to wait for the Tour Down Under. Herald Sun Tour starts Jan 3. Arthurs Seat stage on Sunday the 6th will be a massive day!

    Yeah, we’re firing up the VSP early for that one.

    Tell me the Keepers are not stooping to this.

  13. @Nate

    @sthilzy

    If you’re hibernating for the winter and your SPD pedals are doing nothing, found a use for them;

    You can do this with most pedals, but not Speedplays. #1 reason to run something else.

    Shit! You can do this with the pedals are on the bike for a post ride drink.

  14. @Nate

    @Marko

    @Marcus

    @Daccordi Rider dont have to wait for the Tour Down Under. Herald Sun Tour starts Jan 3. Arthurs Seat stage on Sunday the 6th will be a massive day!

    Yeah, we’re firing up the VSP early for that one.

    Tell me the Keepers are not stooping to this.

    These things have never been good at conveying sarcasm.

  15. @RedRanger Totally.

    @Marko Phew.

  16. Ok. So the ride home from work is usually the best part of the day.

    Not today. Road construction; back track to find another route. Up some steep, 20+% grades through Bellevue. Then across the I-90 bridge and I snapped my chain coming up another punchy little climb. Removed busted links and then absent-mindedly crossed my chain shortly thereafter and lodged my chain in the block so tight I had to take the wheel out to get moving again.

    Rode home in the little ring.

    All this in the rain. It still beat work, but in this instance the ride in was the best part of the day.

  17. @frank

    The wrinkles on your hand are creeping me out.

  18. @Marko

    Prune hand from the rain. Its super extra fragalistic expialodocious.

  19. @Marko

    These things have never been good at conveying sarcasm.

    If only there were a way to convey a facial expression in text.

  20. @Nate

    @the Engine What do I win?

    I’ll collect some birch twigs on my next MTB outing.

    Mrs Engine says I’m always too quick to go for the Finnish.

  21. @the Engine Superb. Good thing I’d just finished my coffee!

  22. @RedRanger

    @Nate

    @sthilzy

    If you’re hibernating for the winter and your SPD pedals are doing nothing, found a use for them;

    You can do this with most pedals, but not Speedplays. #1 reason to run something else.

    Shit! You can do this with the pedals are on the bike for a post ride drink.

    I prefer this to not have to stop pedaling:

  23. @frank

    Ok. So the ride home from work is usually the best part of the day.

    Not today. Road construction; back track to find another route. Up some steep, 20+% grades through Bellevue. Then across the I-90 bridge and I snapped my chain coming up another punchy little climb. Removed busted links and then absent-mindedly crossed my chain shortly thereafter and lodged my chain in the block so tight I had to take the wheel out to get moving again.

    Rode home in the little ring.

    All this in the rain. It still beat work, but in this instance the ride in was the best part of the day.

    So with all this hard core commuting you’re doing, I’m just wondering:

    1) Have you reconsidered your stance on mudguards?

    2) What about Rule #66? No rethinking given your new forays onto the interstate highway system?

    3) Finally, are you still using your Soloist? I thought you would be looking for a full-on commuter rig by now. A perfect excuse for an n+1.

    Based on the other posts here, it sounds like you’re the only one actually still riding your bike.

  24. @scaler911

    @minion

    Worst fucking day of the year here is Jan 2nd. Holiday over, fat, hungover, cold, wet and dark most of the day. But the night skiing is good.

    I’m belting the shit out of myself at the moment. About 80km per week of commuting, track racing tuesday night, crit wednesday night, training sessions 2 mornings a week and a couple of bunch rides on the weekends. Hasn’t rained here for weeks. The tan lines are sharp and state champs are coming up. What the fuck are you people talking about? Do you even do bikes?

  25. @minion Heh, yeah, I’ve never heard so much whinging in all my life.

    I was hurting tonight at crits because it was 34 degrees. What’s winter?

  26. @mouse I agree. weather? What weather? Warm and humid at 6am here. Perfect for a pedal.

  27. @minion @mouse @girl

    So I guess you’re all prepping for the Adelaide Cogal right? Right?

  28. You too @Skip?

  29. @minion

    I’m belting the shit out of myself at the moment.

    Situation normal then.

  30. @Harminator

    You too @Skip?

    Dude, I’m in Spain.  Might be bit far to travel for a Cogal. But if I happen to be down there I’ll look you guys up.

    Weather here is sunny but cool.  Still getting out to ride a good bit. Reading about everyone else’s hardships makes me appreciate the weather I’ve got and motivates me to go outside and ride.

  31. @Skip

    The thing is what do you say to a post like that…

    Responding to a woebegone tide of weight, whiskey and non-riding with tales of sun, slimness and glorious rides would be like hearing about someone’s divorce and telling them how happy your 20 year marriage has been.

    I have winter at the moment and it’s fabulous. High 20s during the day, high teens overnight, which will get down to 12C in a few weeks.

    I’ve started wearing an undervest and using lycra shoe-covers, and soon I will put on the full winter ensemble of arm warmers and long-finger gloves, with a gilet and knee warmers for extreme (below 10C) weather.

    As for riding I have good sensations halfway through the racing season. This morning I was knocking 5 or 6 seconds off my usual interval times, and I didn’t feel I was going any faster or harder.

    I have barely touched alcohol for weeks and am close to reaching 82kg from my normal 85kg.

    But I’m not posting all that…

  32. @ChrisO As another desert dweller winter is my favorite part of the year. I can finally enjoy going outside. this is what the forecast looked like yesterday

  33. @minion

    @scaler911

    @minion

    Worst fucking day of the year here is Jan 2nd. Holiday over, fat, hungover, cold, wet and dark most of the day. But the night skiing is good.

    I’m belting the shit out of myself at the moment. About 80km per week of commuting, track racing tuesday night, crit wednesday night, training sessions 2 mornings a week and a couple of bunch rides on the weekends. Hasn’t rained here for weeks. The tan lines are sharp and state champs are coming up. What the fuck are you people talking about? Do you even do bikes?

    Ummm: a deep, hearty “Fuck You” to you…………..

  34. @sthilzy

    Inspired from THIS MACHINE KILLS COBBLES - thanks!

    This winter:

    Keep warm;

    Out riding, dress appropriately for the weather

    Take care when stepping outside from dark rooms

    Too cold for a ride outside, stay indoors and exercise: (Squats Sagan & Basso style)

    The above should be able for your to start next season like this;

    Thanks THIS MACHINE KILLS COBBLES! great pic collection!

    Wait a second:  I realize that this is a cycling site and all but the above pics were posted and all anyone mentions is the blood pipies?!?!?  God DAMN, that’s some hardcore fanbase right there.

    @mouse

    @sthilzy

    Fuck me!

    I want legs like that! Must stop eating Tim Tams.

    I want an ass like that, and not my own!

  35. @Buck Rogers I know what you mean, the girl in the second photo has her socks all wrong and need some proper cycling shoes.

  36. @Buck Rogers I got the ass, now I just need the legs.

  37. @Chris

    @Buck Rogers I know what you mean, the girl in the second photo has her socks all wrong and need some proper cycling shoes.

    She has feet???

  38. @Buck Rogers Fuck knows, but her jersey is too long.

  39. @Chris

    @Buck Rogers I know what you mean, the girl in the second photo has her socks all wrong and need some proper cycling shoes.

    Has Scaler verified it’s actually not a dude?

  40. @mcsqueak

    @Chris

    @Buck Rogers I know what you mean, the girl in the second photo has her socks all wrong and need some proper cycling shoes.

    Has Scaler verified it’s actually not a dude?

    I don’t know about you but Scaler isn’t my go to guy for gender verification. So far I’ve coped pretty well on my own.

  41. @Skip

    @frank

    Ok. So the ride home from work is usually the best part of the day.

    Not today. Road construction; back track to find another route. Up some steep, 20+% grades through Bellevue. Then across the I-90 bridge and I snapped my chain coming up another punchy little climb. Removed busted links and then absent-mindedly crossed my chain shortly thereafter and lodged my chain in the block so tight I had to take the wheel out to get moving again.

    Rode home in the little ring.

    All this in the rain. It still beat work, but in this instance the ride in was the best part of the day.

    So with all this hard core commuting you’re doing, I’m just wondering:

    1) Have you reconsidered your stance on mudguards?

    Not my first rodeo. So, no. Not reconsidering it.

    2) What about Rule #66? No rethinking given your new forays onto the interstate highway system?

    Not my first rodeo. So, no. Not reconsidering it. Looking behind you still involves all the same factors as riding normally would. The base fact is that the mirror will do nothing to help you avoid getting rear ended.

    3) Finally, are you still using your Soloist? I thought you would be looking for a full-on commuter rig by now. A perfect excuse for an n+1.

    Since I’m using the commute largely for training and its 90km per day, I can’t think of a worse decision to buy a real commuter rig. The 5km climb on the way home sounds particularly appalling on anything but a fine road machine. Rule #12 notwithstanding, of course.

    Based on the other posts here, it sounds like you’re the only one actually still riding your bike.

    The true Velominatus will always find a Way, even if he strays from the path occasionally. I’m not worried about those of us not riding, however; it is through straying from the path that we may rediscover our resolve and dedication to The Work.

  42. @frank

    The true Velominatus will always find a Way, even if he strays from the path occasionally. I’m not worried about those of us not riding, however; it is through straying from the path that we may rediscover our resolve and dedication to The Work.

    So does this mean that it’s ok for me to go Spinning again tonight rather than risk it with the club on the ice (even though Mrs Engine brought my nice new Giro Monza helmet back from the LBS not an hour ago)?

  43. @the Engine

    She’s encouraging you to ride on ice. I recommend swapping wine glasses when her back is turned.

  44. @Buck Rogers

    @Chris

    @Buck Rogers I know what you mean, the girl in the second photo has her socks all wrong and need some proper cycling shoes.

    She has feet???

    That’s a chick?

  45. @scaler911

    @Buck Rogers

    @Chris

    @Buck Rogers I know what you mean, the girl in the second photo has her socks all wrong and need some proper cycling shoes.

    She has feet???

    That’s a chick?

    If it’s warm enough to go sans shorts, it’s surely too warm for the winter-style cap she appears to be wearing, non? Who does the set-up for these fashion shoots anyway? Most of them feature crap bikes or good bikes badly set up with the models wildly inappropriately dressed. Sounds like they need some Velominati on hand to ensure rule compliance. I shall henceforth volunteer to undertake such arduous tasks.

  46. @wiscot

    @scaler911

    @Buck Rogers

    @Chris

    @Buck Rogers I know what you mean, the girl in the second photo has her socks all wrong and need some proper cycling shoes.

    She has feet???

    That’s a chick?

    If it’s warm enough to go sans shorts, it’s surely too warm for the winter-style cap she appears to be wearing, non? Who does the set-up for these fashion shoots anyway? Most of them feature crap bikes or good bikes badly set up with the models wildly inappropriately dressed. Sounds like they need some Velominati on hand to ensure rule compliance. I shall henceforth volunteer to undertake such arduous tasks.

    And I can come along for “educational” purposes.

  47. @scaler911

    @wiscot

    @scaler911

    @Buck Rogers

    @Chris

    @Buck Rogers I know what you mean, the girl in the second photo has her socks all wrong and need some proper cycling shoes.

    She has feet???

    That’s a chick?

    If it’s warm enough to go sans shorts, it’s surely too warm for the winter-style cap she appears to be wearing, non? Who does the set-up for these fashion shoots anyway? Most of them feature crap bikes or good bikes badly set up with the models wildly inappropriately dressed. Sounds like they need some Velominati on hand to ensure rule compliance. I shall henceforth volunteer to undertake such arduous tasks.

    And I can come along for “educational” purposes.

    Surely! A second opinion/pair of eyes is always welcome.

  48. Only had enough time today for a quick 25 km but heck, even a short ride is better than no ride! And I realized that rather than pretending I can work hard for 8-10 hours straight it’s far more useful to throw in a short break involving a spin ’round.

    And despite some parts of the off-season being tough one nice thing is to just ride and not worry about form, times, distance, etc. Just get the hell out there, enjoy the cooler or cold weather and rain and just be reminded of how awesome it is to ride a bike.

    I might try and ride every day from here until 1/1, unless the world ends before. (and my commuting wouldn’t count, since I always do that.)

  49. And the random articles section of the site delivers again, this thread sounds very familiar! http://www.velominati.com/the-rules/breaking-the-rules-33/

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