10 short days stand between us and the Pantani ride, that ride being Sunday, Feb 10th at 10 AM.
Realistically, by the time you read this, it's probably more like the night before. And you're up late, thinking about throwing in the towel, blaming the weather, your spouse, your kids, your bike, your bike shop, anyone; trolling the Internet for info that might lead you to believe the Pantani ride has been cancelled on account of a doping scandal or local pestilence, and generally behaving like a small child.
In that case, welcome to the ride. We'll see your unprepared, lazy ass tomorrow. God help you.
But in the event that you've actually ended up here 10 days before gametime to get the skinny on how to prepare, you're probably still too late. Cram training a fortnight before an event has been proven to be *detrimental to your performance (*citation needed.) But, what the hell, since it's this blog you've turned to, it is this blog that will point you in the right direction, that direction being almost directly up.
Pantani Ride Training and Preparation Recommendations (10 days out.)
1) Ride the skinniest, iciest singletrack you can find. Now since it's, you know, January, your options on this should probably abound. Unless you live anywhere around here, and the 70 degree, two-day deluge that we just got soaked the white stuff right into the brown stuff, rendering it impassable. Have patience. Clearly, you already have that mastered, given that you're training for an event the week before it, but chances are we'll get some more snow between now and then, and you'll be able to prepare your power sliding and out of control brake squealing adequately to make it down Wyatt mountain in one terrified, trembling piece.
|This experience brought to you by The Giro D'Ville. There's strong, and there's Girostrong.|
2) Tire selection. Give some thought to this, and of course, watch the sky. I know this has been debated to death, not just tire width but also tire circumference, tire color, and tire smell, but honestly it's pretty important. Having formerly come from the school of thought that it's hard to go wrong with those nokian 2.5 DH's, I've turned a corner in the last few years and subsequently thrown up a lot less on steep, hard climbs, of which the Pantani Ride has 5. Worth considering.
3) Recon. Notice I don't actually call this training. No,indeed, it will do you very little good at this point to go climb brokenback ten times in your big ring unless your goal is to be on the couch with ice on your knees for the next month. But a little spin around the lollipop, or across fox mountain, or even just driving out into Greene county and having a look at how terrible that stuff seems will likely get you in the right mindset to either show up stonefaced and ready for a fight, or quit early.
4) Take up running. This isn't actually my advice, but apparently that's Kev29ers form of preparation leading up to the big day. It's sad. Watching your old riding buddy at a social event trying to line up a man-date for the next day to go running at Ridge Road feels a lot like seeing a toe tag on his cold, stiff corpse. I went through that. It hurts. But I do have his big bike still stashed in my basement from the last time we went riding (2 months ago) and his brakes failed. So his memory will, if nothing else, live on. Or maybe he'll show up looking runner trim and, dare I dream it, Basque, and get to the front and stay there?
Fuzzy, soft, and blissful is the recipe for forgetting. Thanks Mom.
6) While we're on the subject of winners apparel, wash the KOM Chapeau and the Pantani jersey. Zach, the Chapeau probably needs a sound, deep cleaning, maybe use some turpentine, bleach, scrub it as hard as you can, and whatever you do, never ever feed it after midnight. Qwadsworth, I know this probably goes without saying, but a real winner dry cleans the Pantani jersey, has it starched and pressed, and shows up looking dapper. Dress how you want to perform, that's all I'm saying.
7) Steal pictures from other cyclebloggers websites, try to draw them out to participate in an effort to feel better about your own poor performance. OK, that's just for me. But here we go.
|I can't get more blatant than that.|
8) Buy booze. I'm looking at you, Metro. Not only the highly-caffeinated, prize for the fastest dad kind, but also the mid-pack, hoppy, ease the pain before the ride home kind. I know that you know that I know what I'm referring to here, and that's good enough for me. And probably good enough for David Reid again as well.
9) Establish allies. Teamwork, as a part of cycling, is often credited for winning at the front. But it's far more often overlooked as credit for just finishing at the back, and that's a shame. Sometimes, just having a friendly, agonized face to suffer near will get you over the hump. If it helps the process, take a little road trip out to Kentucky the weekend, car-talk your boys into a little strategy, and watch Cross Worlds happen in person. Because, if nothing else, you might absorb some speed via osmosis.
10) Consider that the painful part of cycling, which is sure to find you on Sunday the 10th given your very late consideration of the subject, is actually what makes it good. If it didn't hurt, everyone would do it, which I have difficulty even imagining but I don't estimate it would be quite as fun. So by that logic, pain is what makes the effort worthwhile. Remind yourself of that a few times on the way to the top of your own mediocre finish.
Above all, enjoy the ride.
Up, up, up.