Guest Article: The Day of Atonement

The man with the hammer (or axe)
The man with the hammer (or axe).

Is this still the off season for the people of the North? I hope so. I know it’s -34 fahrenheit where Marko lives so he is only riding three times a week to prepare for the Keepers Tour. It seems @souleur has a little holiday guilt and now that those damn holidays are behind us it’s time to think about the cycling season ahead.

Yours in Cycling, Gianni

The season has passed that all cyclists are cautious about. That time of year where food is abundant, and for most of us, we are in a respite as well. This calculates into a caloric excess. And we must admit, we cannot avoid it. Tis the season as we say. At work, our partners and colleagues bring in food and drink to enjoy. Our families make coveted goodies and neighbors even send treats over to express gratitude and friendship. To fully reject these things would indeed be the highest order of an asshole, yet to fully accept it is to throw away our many months of riding and training; at least that is for us north-of-the-equator types. Nonetheless, this time of year we do our best to be friendly and gracious to our friends and family even if that means eating that extra piece of pumpkin pie.

Brothers and Sisters, we must be careful. As cyclists, we know the price we pay for such friendly behavior. Because lurking in the shadows of our get togethers and parties is the man with the hammer. I know, you may not have realized this, but it is an observation I have recently made. We have indeed become familiar with him in seasons past when he visits us as the uninvited guest of our friendly bike rides. But now in the off season, the man with the hammer’s love of being the peeping Tom is in full swing. See, for now, the man with the hammer is taking notes on all of our indiscretions, each and every single one. He has a flawless memory bank and each and every thing we indulge at this time of year is officially on the record. Sure, it’s just a piece of pie, but each goodie we take in, it will be required of us one day. See, for the man with the hammer, it’s a special day he looks forward to and it’s called payback day. He’s a bored lunatic who has nothing more to do than inflict loads of hatred upon us. In fact there is nothing that he relishes in more than to take advantage of us at that perfect moment, when you are bleeding out your eyeballs, you are gasping for a short breath of air and this fifty pound monkey jumps on your back. For some, he rarely pays a visit because they are very, very disciplined. For those like myself, he visits often and repeatedly and in heavy doses. Because of his regularly scheduled appointments, I have become more familiar with him and I take note of his characteristics, his virtue, his habits. And the more I learn of him, the more he reminds me of Jack Torrance in the Shining, BAMM, there he is and boy is he ever-present and somebody is gonna pay because he is all about the bat-shit-craziness.

Yes, it’s that special day when you resume your training. That day becomes the day we recognize our sins of the past. It may be the hill repeats, it may be that perfect stretch of road that we find ourselves doing max intervals in V-locus fashion, it may be that long steady climb; but whatever it is we all will come to that pivotal point that we crawl before the alter of the man with the hammer and pay penance for the luxuries of the holiday season. The man with the hammer recalls each and every one of our sins as he checks them off one by one. He calls us to atone and inflicts loads of V commensurate our just deserts.  Sadly, some will be discouraged, but for us Keepers of the highest order, we understand this is required. We understand and accept the pain, the suffering, and that atonement is called for. What the man with the hammer doesn’t get, is when we actually sit down at the table like gentlepeople, sit, talk and take account of all that we have done, we then ask for more pain, another pounding,  a repeated mashing to make us hard as nails. Because that is exactly what we realize we need in order to become better. The problem is the man with the hammer isn’t interested a conversation and he isn’t a gentleman.

 

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91 Replies to “Guest Article: The Day of Atonement”

  1. Another well timed article. I’m in the 3rd day of suffering with the norovirus. This has left me 2.5kg lighter but without enough energy to get dressed let alone turn a pedal in anger. Last weeks outdoor riding was ruined by snow. 

    My first sportive is in 6 weeks and i need to do everything i can to avoid the man with the hammer on that ride.

  2. A-Merckx, Brother Souleur.  Right now I’m in the early stages of Training Properly after holiday excess, meaning base miles and avoiding pinning the needle on the V-Meter.  But that time will come soon, and much suffering will ensue.

  3. As a result of too much marzipan and sausage, I’ve decided to cut out the booze until my birthday, which is at the end of February. It’s been tough, last drink was on the 31st. Real tough. Thankfully I’ve got a gym 3 blocks from my house and a covered velodrome 20 minutes away. My wheat allergy makes it tough to indulge in pie, however a locally made beef jerky store and two gluten free bakeries within a 10 minute walk of my place make short work of that.

  4. I was given the go ahead today from cardio rehab to get on my bike, with the stipulation to keep my HR under 120.  I’ve lost a couple of pounds since my event at Xmas, but considering how sedentary I’ve been I’m afraid its been as much muscle as fat.  I’ll just do some easy spinning on the rollers for now. The man with the hammer is going to have to wait awhile longer, but I expect to be punished mercilessly when the time comes.

    To paraphrase Chef from Apocalypse Now “Never get off the bike”

  5. The man with the hammer recalls each and every one of our sins as he checks them off one by one.

     

    Heh, like some kind of perverse Anti-Santa.  Making a list; checking it twice; gonna find out who … gets pasted with the Hammer.

  6. I haven’t started yet and the snow is still falling! The man with the hammer has been calling may name since the 1st of January. I’m in trouble and I know it!

  7. @TBONE

    Bravo, sir. I admire your resolve. Having a VMH who has 1) a metabolism like a jet fighter aircraft and 2) a borderline Puritan work ethic, I had to bargain to avoid a “No-Booze January.”

    Okay, I just vetoed it. But I gave in to a “No Chocolate Cake with Expensive High-Fat Vanilla Ice Cream (or the equivalent) in Bed in the Evening While Reading” January. I get to drink, and she gets to suffer the lack of something that doesn’t effect her one way or the other. Win/win.

    I’m actually rather happy that I’ve put on no weight at all this holiday season. This doesn’t mean that I’m in shape. It means that I’ve been forcing myself onto the mtb enough to avoid the usual effects of the season.

  8. Nice work, Souleur! Damn, I wondered who that was lurking in the corner at all those holiday parties! The off-season conundrum for me plays out like this: I gain some weight and my bibs feel like a girdle, making me want to not ride and not reach for my drops. But, the only way to graduate from a muumuu back to regular clothes, and bib shorts, is to ride the goddamn bike.

    Just back from one of the only HardMan rides I’ve ever had the chance to take in NC – freezing rain, making the roads treacherous, braking a challenge, and my feet numb. On my way out I thought both rims had warped overnight. Nope, the mixed precipitation was freezing to them making them thump when I grabbed the levers. I stopped at a store on the way back in and when I put my hand on the counter the man said, “Is that ice?” I told him yes. I guess he just then noticed my helmet. “You’re riding your bike? How far?” I told him I was just out riding for fun.

    TBONE – marzipan & sausage? Do you eat those together?

    Speaking of TBone…holy fuck, Tyler Farrar crashed near the end of Stage 4 at the TDU. Guess who was on the deck with him, looking suspicious? Two Euskatel riders. Amazing how often those dudes crash.

  9. @Babs

    I haven’t started yet and the snow is still falling! The man with the hammer has been calling may name since the 1st of January. I’m in trouble and I know it!

    You need to take the opporchancity when it presents itself this time of year….

  10. Spur of the moment visit to manhattan.  Stuffing my face with Japanese ramen, frites, and $1 pizza.  Screw TMWTH.  My watts per kilo is almost a negative figure, and with that little extra sumtin sumptin, i hope to achieve the impossible and actually put out exactly what i put in, if you get my drift.  Great article soleur, reminds us that with all things, moderation is paramount.

  11. @TBONE

    As a result of too much marzipan and sausage, I’ve decided to cut out the booze until my birthday, which is at the end of February. It’s been tough, last drink was on the 31st. Real tough. Thankfully I’ve got a gym 3 blocks from my house and a covered velodrome 20 minutes away. My wheat allergy makes it tough to indulge in pie, however a locally made beef jerky store and two gluten free bakeries within a 10 minute walk of my place make short work of that.

    I’m just finishing up a no booze week.  That was enough.

  12. thanks all!

    @motor city that’s a helluva way to drop weight, but hey, hope all goes well

    @Nate : thanks & I am doing the same, base miles, low and slow burn…like diesel man

    @The Oracle : anti-santa, reminds me of my favorite to listen to tune, from the Melvins, Black Santa, let the man drop the hammer

    @Ron : nice work to keep it up, discipline of the highest order brother!

    @roger : true, but as cyclists, sometimes even moderation kills us, as Big George said in season ‘I eat like a monk’

    @eight-zero: been there, done that.  Actually, this year, i have added less than ever due to calorie-counter app’s, and the foreknowledge (at 42 y/o) that Masters cat and the hope to bump up to cat 3 by the end of the year, will be required of me to drop weight now, and as much as possible.  As buddy said: losing weight is free speed

  13. My wife, bless her recently marathonophilic heart, decided that a very low carb (ketogenic) diet would be a good idea, and even better if I joined her.  Though I appreciate that I’ve lost 2kilos in 4 weeks (having promised myself a carbon frame if I get below 90kg), I’ve been bonking even while brushing my teeth.  Supposedly, one adapts, but every out-door ride so far has been like a bout of influenza.

    Preliminary conclusion: Atonement: YES.  Ketonement: NO.

  14. Tyler Farrar crashes entirely too much, in my humble opinion. He’s always on the fucking deck!

  15. @xyxax

    How much to lose to get to 90kg? And what kind of frame? Having a vegetarian wife has made me get thinner but I would hate do a low carb diet. No toast? No beer? All things in moderation is my credo.

    Good luck on the new frame dream.

  16. @Mikel Pearce

    Tyler Farrar crashes entirely too much, in my humble opinion. He’s always on the fucking deck!

    I’ve been thinking that alot.  It might be that it is becoming his legacy.  I can’t remember the last time he won a stage of anything, but I have vivid memories of him bitching about some crash on the tube.

  17. On the no booze front I’m sorry to say it is the most scarily effective weight loss regime I’ve ever had.

    I’m currently losing close to a pound / half kilo each week.

    I was 85-86kg when I did the tour of Sharjah in November, but I tipped the scales at 80kg yesterday. In context, I’m 6’3″ / 190cm and I haven’t been under 82kg since I was rowing at university 25 years ago. I’ve noticed it disappearing from around my middle too – my tummy is much flatter.

    I wasn’t a heavy drinker. Never more than two beers or glasses of wine in a night, but it was fairly regular. Maybe 12-15 units per week. It seems to have been that 300-400 calories per day which was the tipping point between equilibirum and negative calorific consumption.

    As for the cycling, two weeks ago i did a new PB up Jebel Hafeet, a 9km / 700m climb with a dozen hairpins. 37 mins at a VAM of 1068.

    At the end of the day it doesn’t matter where you reduce your calories I suppose, but given that the rest of my diet is pretty well regulated, not high-fat or high-carb, mainly home-made and not processed, that seemed to be the easiest.

  18. @ChrisO

    On the no booze front I’m sorry to say it is the most scarily effective weight loss regime I’ve ever had.

    Tis sad but true, an easy  2kg a month if I don’t drink two beers a night, was told that two beers a night is the equivalent of an entire days food consumption over one week.

    Damn I love beer, good beer.

    Also stopped eating on most training rides, usually under two hours, and only drink water, no additives, I seem to need a lot less of both as I have become fitter.

    I still want to lose 5 kg…

  19. @ChrisO

    On the no booze front I’m sorry to say it is the most scarily effective weight loss regime I’ve ever had.

    Yep, agree to that. I was hovering around the 87kg +/-1kg (180cm)  when in October 2011 I didn’t touch a drop beer, wine or spirits till Christmas lunch and got down to 79 kg.  A year later hovering around 81kg and I enjoy my bottle of red or 6 pack of stubbies within a week. Also cut out sugary food like biscuits, chocolate, coffee. It was hard, but well worth the effort.

  20. @eightzero

    I added 15 pounds. Fuuuuk

    I did that too.  I’ve chosen to see it as a good thing, my metabolism is highly tuned and when the time comes it shall help me by summoning reserves of energy when I am about to bonk.

    In the short term it does mean a fight with hunger as I get as used to calorific deficit. I applaud those that can give up the beer. I’ve just purchased a small case of Duvel’s at 1-2 per week over my intended weight loss period, if I train well I have my reward, if not then I have to look at it for an entire new week.

  21. Think I’ll refer back to this one in May when the Velomibaby (F+1) arrives & I’m looking for inspiration to avoid Breeding & Blimping.

  22. @motor city

    Another well timed article. I’m in the 3rd day of suffering with the norovirus. This has left me 2.5kg lighter but without enough energy to get dressed let alone turn a pedal in anger. Last weeks outdoor riding was ruined by snow.

    You must live in GB. I know those symptoms well. I caned a bottle of mulled wine last night to make me feel better.

  23. Awesome, Souleur! Timely, indeed.  I’ve decided to screw it and just started (first time ever, maybe) Rule #5 ing it: calorie counter, core training, with negative temps doing trainer work and when it peaks a bit higher getting outside…….hopefully all pays off. It was needed though, as I’ve been feeling my knees hit my gut whilst in the drops….

  24. @Gianni

    @xyxax

    How much to lose to get to 90kg? And what kind of frame? Having a vegetarian wife has made me get thinner but I would hate do a low carb diet. No toast? No beer? All things in moderation is my credo.

    Good luck on the new frame dream.

    Ah, so you’ve lived kale chips and mushroom pâté?

    As of today, 3.3 kg to go, down from a recent high of about 95-96.

    I fall in and out of love with frames like a spotty teenager.  The 2013 Ritte Vlaanderen

    or if you prefer (which I might, with white bar tape):

    But what self-mortification will be required to justify shelling out for a worthy groupset and wheels?I draw the line at no longer beating the kids.

    In moderation of course.

  25. yea, verily…just put on your bib tights and ask your wife to tell you the truth.

  26. F**k it

    @frozen-north

    yea, verily…just put on your bib tights and ask your wife to tell you the truth.

    Love it, I just dare not..! The punches will not be pulled lol

  27. Was just looking at the Omega Quickstep team website, they all weigh between 65-80 odd kg in general. So I don’t think many of us are far out.

  28. @Babbs, Nottingham, UK.

    Was just looking at the Omega Quickstep team website, they all weigh between 65-80 odd kg in general. So I don’t think many of us are far out.

    Yep, just the small matter of punching out 500 watts for an hour or three and we’ll be ready to enter Team V in the Tour – or should we aim for the Classics first ? So hard to decide.

  29. @ChrisO

    @Babbs, Nottingham, UK.

    Was just looking at the Omega Quickstep team website, they all weigh between 65-80 odd kg in general. So I don’t think many of us are far out.

    Yep, just the small matter of punching out 500 watts for an hour or three and we’ll be ready to enter Team V in the Tour – or should we aim for the Classics first ? So hard to decide.

    At 74kg, I’m right in there, he says, after pouring down his IPA lunch, his reward for an easy 45 mins on the trainer watching Froome slow down on Stage 11 of TdF ’12.

  30. I am about to go off grog for eight weeks starting Tuesday. I meet the definition ofalcoholism when I do those shitty questionairres. Looking forward to April

  31. @Marcus

    I am about to go off grog for eight weeks starting Tuesday. I meet the definition ofalcoholism when I do those shitty questionairres. Looking forward to April

    I quite drinking by accident over a year ago, not a conscious decision, it just happened due to work and stuff and became a habit, can now sit in a tavern with no real dramas, so good luck to all.  Sometimes miss the proper german beers though.

  32. @Marcus

    @strathlubnaig

    By accident?!? The only thing I have ever quit by accident was getting regular blowjobs from my missus.

    he he, good one….long story, but it became a wee challenge to see how long I could carry it on for when I realised 3 months had gone past almost unnoticed (offshore work), and the challenge just became a habit, or not a habit really.

  33. @Babbs, Nottingham, UK.

    Was just looking at the Omega Quickstep team website, they all weigh between 65-80 odd kg in general. So I don’t think many of us are far out.

    80kg with 4% body fat is not the same as the 80kg I weigh.

  34. @Marcus

    I am about to go off grog for eight weeks starting Tuesday. I meet the definition ofalcoholism when I do those shitty questionairres. Looking forward to April

    You’re not claiming that you didn’t realize they were sheep, tho? That would decimate half the discussions!

  35. @strathlubnaig

    @Marcus

    @strathlubnaig

    By accident?!? The only thing I have ever quit by accident was getting regular blowjobs from my missus.

    he he, good one….long story, but it became a wee challenge to see how long I could carry it on for when I realised 3 months had gone past almost unnoticed (offshore work), and the challenge just became a habit, or not a habit really.

    Wait, you’re still talking about blowjobs, right?

  36. @graham d.m. +1 man, I am doing the long slow cardio, and given its january, I am just 2 weeks away from peaking and that is plenty of time to make the break

  37. @xyxax : dude, that Ritte is religous!  Being my race girl is Ridley, there is something deeply embedded in my soul that is Belgian, and seeing that Ritte makes me think about moonlighting more for bike parts/frames

    However, you picture something deeply disturbing that I am trying to reconcile in the deepest sulci of my mind. Can you even picture something Belgian without the blue?  I mean, black and white only in the second pic, albeit, it is smoking fast just sitting still, and as we say, black and white in cycling is fast and the proper colors.  I suppose it can be right, but I would have to go with blue in the inner fork, and striped down the top tuber.  Love the Ritte stuff.

    And i ride pinarello and bianchi’s too, which is right in May when the maglia rosa is up or for the Prima-vera

  38. @ChrisO

    At the end of the day it doesn’t matter where you reduce your calories I suppose, but given that the rest of my diet is pretty well regulated, not high-fat or high-carb, mainly home-made and not processed, that seemed to be the easiest.

    this is exactly right, and what i have been doing, which so far has been working

    Admittedly, I haven’t knelt to the alter yet to have the man with the Hammer pop me in the back of my head, but will as the temp migrate up ~70 here.  Will do the first race in febuary completely green, as everyone does, and build from there.  Intervals, repeats, in heavy doses

  39. @Frank

    I am encountering a strange bug where AA posts are being routed to the Velominati site.

  40. @xyxax

    That’s a lot of money for a Pedal Force frameset with a nice paint job.

    @Souleur

    Ritte brand is as Belgian as those two Americans guys who are behind it.

  41. @Mikel Pearce

    Agreed.And it is always everybody else’s fault not his.He is slower than many young upcoming sprinters and he can’t stand it so he always tries to find something or somebody to blame for his lack of top speed.

    @razmaspaz

    Did you mean this? Very American asshat attitude.To be honest I was surprised too.Even living in Gent didn’t help him.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lMeMr1pzGcA

  42. @TommyTubolare

    Ha! I wondered when that was going to come up!  PF model CG1 ISP for 1/3 the price.  The Bosberg was also a PF frame.  The chump factor of paying for paint/brand gives me great pause, but I just need the delusion for now to get through the winter.

  43. @xyxax

    @TommyTubolare

    Ha! I wondered when that was going to come up! PF model CG1 ISP for 1/3 the price. The Bosberg was also a PF frame. The chump factor of paying for paint/brand gives me great pause, but I just need the delusion for now to get through the winter.

    This again.

    its a funny thing, isn’t it.

    Ritte has a business model where they have contracted with a Chinese or Taiwanese frame manufacturer to supply catalogue frames that they then have dreamed up a marketing angle and created quite a attractive livery. From what I have read, they are continuing to develop other products with other manufacturers to expand their offer.

    The catch is that being a catalogue frame, astute observers note that the same frame can be had for much less. This, from what I understand has led to some Internet commentators to suggest that the Ritte guys are “douches” or whatever other pejorative names you creative Americans can come up with.

    The point is this; the Bosberg is an attractive package in my opinion. I probably wouldn’t go there because I’m happy with what I’ve got but livery is very important to how people pereceive the desirability of bikes.

    Take Baum for example. We all salivate over the beauty of those frames. They are desirable. Why?

    The paint, mostly, and the lines of the frames. Only the owners can tell you how they ride, and in my opinion, that is subjective at best.

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