We find Dr. Spalm is a bit of a cranky mood today. Not sure if his supply of home-made narcotics is running low, he needs something to eat or he just feels like taking out his own issues on poor unsuspecting readers, but since we paid for this column, we thought we would share it with you and then have beer to wash the taste out. Enjoy?
Dear Doktor Spalm - I see a lot of people out riding their bikes in the snow and cold and rain and misery this time of year. Many of them are training for racing season and will be faster as a result. How can we make them stop it so that it is a level playing field when it's time to start racing?
A Late Starting Racer
Dear Lazy Racer - It is a uniquely American idea that this so-called "level playing field" exists anywhere or at anytime. In the country of my childhood, we recognized that there was never such a thing. No matter what the area, someone is more talented or smarter or has more resources. Some are more dedicated, some have better equipment. Some have better genetics or better performing enhancing drugs. It doesn't take cheating to make a contest unfair; it only takes the second person or team to show up.
Bike racing is hard. No matter how fit you are or how fast you go, if you are racing against anyone of comparable age or fitness, it is hard. If you want to race against one-legged grandmothers, you will probably win the race but lose in every other way. They say that training more doesn't make it hurt less, you just go faster. The reality, however, is that your amount of fast is dictated by a hundred things that have nothing to do with fair or even. In short, you have shown yourself to be unsuitable in temperament or intellect for racing. Please do not.
Dear Dr. Spalm - I am trying to get in shape for the cycling season, but I don't know the best way to go about it. What should I do?
Dear Supposed Cyclist - As an erudite and accomplished scholar, I am loathe to quote such low-brow entertainment as movies, but your statement that you are "trying" to get in shape forces me to quote Yoda, "Try not. Do or do not. There is no try."
For you, however, the quote could be modified as follows, "Try not. Ride or ride not, but don't waste my time asking stupid questions when the answer is quite obvious. Ride your bike."
Did you expect that just because I am paid by the word to answer questions that I would blather on about yoga classes for cyclists or power meters? Those things are discussed by people selling something and those with little integrity or intellectual honesty. If you want to be good at something, do it. And then do it more. Keep doing it until you are good at it or you are not, but don't pretend that there is another answer or way. Do or not do. There is no try.