2012 - Santa, I've Been Good...

christmas santa gran fondo
Christmas Eve Gran Fondo
 Dear Santa,

2012 has almost come to a close. You must have begun packing your sled for the Christmas Eve Gran Fondo - or is that a Gran-Gran Fondo. How would they add emphasis in Italian?

I'm sure you've got your team of reindeer all gunning for personal bests this year. Have you passed out their little brown lunch bags of "goodies" yet? This is one event that even WADA might agree would require a little performance enhancement to get everybody through to the end. I also received an anonymous text message that the UCI will grant Rudolph a morphological exception for his little - ahem - nose issue. But there may be donation strings attached to the exception. Ah, put him on the team anyway, and apologize later if needed!

But if you think about it, simply completing this Gran Fondo within the cut-off time will come down to managing your transition times - land on the rooftop, grab the right presents, down the chimney, drop those presents, have a quick swig of recovery drink and a bite of an energy bar (aka, milk and cookies), then back up the chimney, into the sled, clip in and you're off! Whew! That's a lot to do in transition, and it has so many places to go off the rails. Maybe you'll need a little something in your own brown lunch bag to simply manage the mental focus to stay on track?

But who am I to give Santa coaching advice? Please, forgive my impertinence! Alas, I'm no Dr. Ferrari!

Let me explain...

Actually, I think I've really been a good boy this year. I never blew-off a workout... unless it was raining. But who has time to clean a bike after a ride in the rain? But I did get caught in the rain a few times! And I didn't hide it out. Just kept on riding.

I started the year strong, riding all the way up Haleakala on Maui, all by myself. Okay, I did come across a couple of riders, but dropped them like stones before we were even half-way to the top. And later, I only stopped long enough to layer-up when I got to the Ranger Station. Despite being Maui, it gets chilly between 7,000' and 10,000' - but not as chilly as your North Pole!

A few weeks later I went with my local riding buddies to a spring cycling camp in Penticton, BC. Now these guys didn't really need my help, other than a little bit of route guiding here-and-there. But I did my share of pulls into the wind when it counted.

And that went for racing with my team too - I did my share of working when needed, and then got out of the way so the big boys could finish off the race for the team.

And at the Argyll Velodrome, I was the pawn that kept all the young guys racing strong and honest. I even helped organize some informal match sprint racing, something I dubbed "The Tom & Jerrys".

As a coach, I again led the weekly rides for our local youth triathlon club, The Gators Tri Club. My job was mainly about keeping these kids safe on the roads, making sure "No man gets left behind". And none did!

I kept the rest of my coaching duties focused on one client, BP, an up-and-coming former Junior hockey player. I believe I've done a decent job of helping BP to basically get through Cat 3, and upgraded to Cat 2. Of course, he had to do all of the hard work to get there. I'm proud of him, and hope you are too! Please be good to him!

So you see Santa, I've been giving, giving, giving all season long. Perhaps you can look over my little cyclist's Christmas Wish List, and find something there you can give me this Christmas! And please keep this list in mind for any of the cyclists you have on your list this year, I'm sure they'd all appreciate receiving any of these:

The 2012 Cyclist's Christmas Wish List

  1. Continental Gatorskin Tires - Because we all spend more time training than racing. When we can carve out that precious time to train, we can use a great training tire that doesn't leave us standing on the side of the road, changing a flat.
  2. Rollers - Even just 30mins a couple times a week will improve your pedaling technique immensely. See if you can get to standing while riding your rollers!
  3. Snowshoes - Because you want to keep sane, and still train outside, but don't really want to take up snow-cycling. Snowshoeing has basically no learning curve, unlike any form of cross country skiing. Snowshoes are quick to put on and get outside, and provide a super workout for your glutes and hip flexors. You really only need to find a snow covered soccer or football field, and you're good to go, though any kind of trail system will make it feel like you're truly out on an adventure.
  4. A cycling DVD - Like Blood, Sweat + Gears. This winter it would be really inspirational to watch the story of an American ProTour cycling team trying its level best to compete honestly on the world stage.
  5. A cycling book - Like the current tell-all The Secret Race, by Tyler Hamilton and Daniel Coyle. Because if we are ignorant of our history, we are doomed to repeat it...
  6. An awesome set of Park Tools - Because Park makes basically the most reliable bike tools out there, and they stand firmly behind their quality. Any bike tool by Park Tool deserves a place on my workbench.
  7. Socks! - A touch of whimsy can be added to any cycling kit with a simple pair of socks, and SockGuy is the go-to-guy for whimsy. They'll at least put a smile on my face when I kit-up, and maybe they'll distract that wheel-suck behind me just enough that when I drop the hammer, he gets dropped like a bag of nails!

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