April 2, 2010

The ex-pro of excuses

Fuentes, the bastard, has talked me into doing the first of the front range mountain bike series races at Bear Creek on Saturday. I’m sure that this won’t go well at all (it’s flat, I’m out of shape, my only current mountain bike is godawful slow, whine, blah, whine).

I don’t even have my usual “well, I was on a rigid singlespeed, so whine, blah, whine” excuse available, since I’m going to be riding my trusty (well, ok, by “trusty”, I mean “free because DHL ran it over and the insurance bought the original owner a new bike, and then I bent some stuff back and welded some big plates on the places where it cracked) 4” travel 1×7 29er.

But never fear, I have a plan to explain my anticipated poor performance. It’s a standard “pro” dodge. In fact, you’ve probably heard it before from your friends who think they’re fast.

I’m doing a training race.

That’s right. This is just setting me up for something *much* bigger and more important later in the season. If I’m vague about the details, it’s definitely not because this mythical important race doesn’t actually exist. No, indeed. I’ve got to get in shape, because you never know when Lance will call you up needing a final rider for his tour squad.

Training races are great. You can go super hard at the front for the first 30 seconds and blow up, and instead of being an idiot, you’re training for those short hard efforts at the start of the big world cup races you’ll be doing at some indeterminate time in the future. Or you can ride hard for a few laps, get some glory (relative glory, anyway), and then limp home (or drop out) – because the days training plan specifically says no more than 45 minutes in zone 2. Don’t forget – you can also sit and spin for the first 90% of the race, then sprint some poor sucker for 45th at the line.

It’s a beautiful thing, training racing. Even if you’ve spent thousands of dollars on the latest high-zoot power meter, a coach, the most disgusting recovery drinks you can find, and travel and entry fees, you can go out for just a few minutes, realize you’re not going to win, and still salvage your ego.