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My season has been over for awhile now, and I think I’ve been been winding it down quite nicely. If you follow me on Twitter @philgaimon, you’ve probably noticed my #ahhffseason tweets. The idea was that everyone tweets about their huge rides during the season, and now’s the time to brag about general laziness, and pleasant things like dessert and afternoon naps.
I started it off:
7:30 AM group ride ends at a bakery. Slept through the ride, still went for a cookie.
Hadn’t seen my road bike for a few days, forgot where I put it last. Found it in the trunk of my car. #ahhffseason
Just stepped outside of the boundaries of my property for the first time in about 68 hours. #ahhffseason
Roadies… well, they have some work to do.
Teammate Andy Jacques-Maynes tried to mark the 24 Hours of Moab mountain bike race as #ahhffseason, which made me sick, and Tyler Wren #ahhffseasoned from 12,000 feet with Burke Swindlehurst. I don’t know if they got there via road bike, mountain bike, or (gasp) on foot, but unless you were dropped off at a ski lodge via helicopter and sipped hot chocolate by a fireplace, you need to step up your game, gentlemen.
Friends and followers have joined in, with bike swag going to the winner, but the current yellow jersey wearer, @mmory, is going to be hard to top (although I personally think he might have been doping for this one):
I woke up from a nap on my couch only to continue it in my bed. #ahhffseason
Even I eventually couldn’t handle all that #ahhffseason, so I got back to exercising a little faster than usual. First, I did the Texas Gran Fondo, a two-day charity fundraiser ride from Austin to Dallas. The ride was a blast, with all the experience of a stage race, but with better food, hotels, and much-reduced suffering. The organizers let me select some of the other “Pro ride leaders,” so it also turned into an excuse to visit with friends (visiting with friends, if you’re wondering, is a very #ahhffseason activity). Ride leaders included Nick Waite (teammate from 2010, and fellow CLEAN tattoo founder), Brad Huff (teammate from 2009, and future CLEAN tattoo wearer. DO IT BRAD), Jonny Sundt (teammate from 2010-2011), and Frankie Andreu (Kenda’s team director from 2010-2012).
For reasons you can probably guess, this was a good time to hang around Frankie. In all the news lately, I have two names to drop to make people think I’m “In the know,” and they both end in Andreu. Pretty much the best names to drop if you ask me, but I’m biased.
I’m mostly done with my #ahhffseason now. After the ride in Texas, I stayed with some friends in Oklahoma for a week, and didn’t touch my bike. Instead, I ran exactly seven times in preparation for an off-road half marathon. I signed up on a whim, because friends were doing it, and it’s always good to try something new, just because you didn’t know if you could do it. Actually, that’s horrible logic, which is why I’m still sore (even if you’re reading this in 2017).
The men’s winner finished in 1 hour 38 minutes. I started in the fourth wave and got stuck behind people all day, finishing in an almost-respectable 2 hours 10 minutes. I was starting to be proud of myself when Morgan Patton came across the finish line. She’s diabetic, rides professionally for Team Type 1-Sanofi, and had less preparation than I did. Officially humbled.
As base training approaches, the rest of my time off the bike has been devoted to more normal stuff that I neglect during the season, like going to the dentist and working on my house, but I’ve also been pecking away a good bit on the computer, working on a book deal of my own (which will be nothing at all like Tyler Hamilton’s book, including projected sales), and coming up with products for my newest online stores, Podiumshoecovers.com and Cyclingskinsuits.com. Right now, you’re thinking that this is a shameless plug, but when you see the high-heel shoe covers and the PeeWee Herman Skinsuit, you’ll realize that I’m merely sharing some awesome, just like I always do.
Not that my opinion matters, but I suppose I do have to address the elephant in the room. It’s easy to look at the news and think all pros are dirty, or that pro cycling is going the way of the dodo, but it looks to me that the people involved here were really a once-in-a-generation type of criminals. The system was set up in a way that a few evil people were able to exploit it, and they did such a great job of it that good people were forced into bad decisions, and bad people rose to the top.
It’ll take awhile to undo all that damage, but the organization, loopholes in the system, intimidation, and everything else that let it get so bad were a perfect storm that could never be repeated. This might sting for awhile, but as long as people ride bikes, I’ll race them, and sponsors will soon start to see cycling as the marketing bargain it always has been.
I know everyone’s glued to the doping news, but go outside and ride at some point before it gets too cold, because that’s how we fix this thing.
And keep tweeting me your #ahhffseason activities.