First off, let me just say that I wish, with all my heart, that I could be heading to Southern Utah and racing with you this weekend. You know there’s nothing I love more than a good roadtrip.
Alas, I have other responsibilities. I’ll be traveling for work for the next two weeks, and just couldn’t bring myself to ask my wife if I could also be gone this weekend.
It is this kind of wisdom, my friends, that has kept me married for nigh on 20 years.
Since I cannot ride with you, however, I wanted to take a few minutes to offer you some practical guidance for your race this weekend.
Many people arrive at a race thinking that if they just ride their bikes like they always do — only faster — everything will work out just fine.
These people are fools.
If you want to have a successful racing experience, be sure to follow these simple rules:
- Make sure your equipment is in tip-top condition. Is the chain lubed? Plenty of air in the tires? Shifters (if applicable) and brakes in good shape? Wheels true? All of these things are important, unless you’re Dug. In which case, since you haven’t even scraped the mud off your bike since the last time you rode it (five months ago), you should pick the bike up and slam it onto the road a few times, just to knock the big clods off. Maybe check to see if the chain has rusted solid. Otherwise, don’t worry about it.
- Dress for success. The fact that you’ve never won anything before doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t win this weekend, so picture yourself on top of the podium, and then select a jersey you’ll be proud to show off during your moment of glory. If any of you want to borrow my Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup jersey, just swing by my house on the way out of town.
- Bring plenty of water. I know that this race will last only an hour or so (or two hours, for Rick Sunderlage [not his real name]), but you should never underestimate the importance of staying properly hydrated. Here’s a rule of thumb: for every minute you’re racing, you should consume five ounces of water. So, for an 80-minute race, that means you ought to carry 400 oz (just over three gallons) of water. For convenience and speed, You may want to tow a 5-gallon drum full of Gatorade in a B.O.B. trailer. Don’t worry about this slowing you down; everyone will be bringing that much to drink.
- Bring plenty of food. Top nutritionists agree that during a race you should consume one calorie per second, which comes out to 3600 / hour. This is not as easy as you might think. The best way to avoid a calorie deficit is by continuously eating sticks of butter during the race. Oreos work great, too.
- Use proper passing techniques. While not likely, it’s at least possible that sometime during this race you will want to pass somebody. If this happens, yell “TRACK!” nine times, in rapid succession. Then — and this is important — yell “On your left!” or “On your right!” The confusing thing is, my friends, if you yell “On your left!” it means you want them to move left, because you want to pass them on the right. Don’t worry, though. Everyone racing knows this. (Note: It’s vital to have a clever quip at hand for when you pass an opponent. I recommend saying, “I am much faster than you!” in a Peewee Herman voice.)
- Don’t be ashamed to ask for directions. With all the people in this race, it’s easy to get disoriented. Don’t be ashamed if you feel the need to pull over and ask a bystander whether you are on the proper course. Be sure to follow up by asking whether you are going in the proper direction.
- If you fall, stay put! If, in the unfortunate likelihood — for Brad, almost a certainty — of an accident, stay right where you land and wait for police and emergency medical personnel to arrive. I repeat — and I cannot stress this strongly enough — no matter how angry other racers get because you’re laying right in the middle of the course, do not move. Even though you feel just fine and think that you could easily get back on the bike and finish the race, stay seated and wait. Don’t make a bad thing worse by trying to move yourself. You may be injured much worse than you think. (Note to Kenny: If you fall, yell “I broke my hip! I broke my hip!” because you probably did. You may also want to yell at the other racers to get offa yer lawn.)
- Be prepared. Yes, I know this is the Boy Scout motto, but it should be everyone’s motto. In particular, I recommend you be prepared by having ready an interesting and compelling excuse for why you lost. Don’t wait until you’ve actually lost to start getting this excuse ready. Begin now and try to have it as fully-formed as possible by the time the race begins. You can then flesh it out — add details and events from the actual event — during the race. When you tell your story, it’ll seem practically believable!
I hope you find this advice both practical and valuable. Good luck at the race, guys!
The Fat Cyclist
PS: Today’s weight: 162.0
PPS: Thanks to everyone who nominated me for the VeloNews site of the day. The editor’s sent me an email begging me to cut it out, so I think I’m now either a shoo-in for site of the day, or banned for life.