Monday, April 5, 2010

Yet another reason why I seldom ride with others: I like to take naps mid-ride

As I've mentioned before, I'm going to Europe this week in order to watch Paris-Roubaix, and ride part of the course. I'll be in London the week after the race, so email me if maybe you'd like to go for a ride. Why am I telling you this? Because I probably won't be updating this masterpiece/blog until Monday April 19th. I know. I'm sorry about this. If for some reason I'm able to post while I'm away, I will. Perhaps I'll be able to capture great images of cycling fans, much as I did last year at the Tour de France stage in Andorra.

But if I don't post, don't send me angry emails, death threats, or worse yet subscriptions to the Primal Wear jersey-of-the-month club. With that bit of administrative business out of the way, let's get on with today's post.

Intervals, zones, repeats, efforts, watts and kilojoules. As I understand it, these terms have a great deal of meaning to most cyclists. They train, they race, and they enjoy doing both. At least I think they do, even if their permanent frowns (and their lack of waving back at you) say otherwise. Speaking of units used to measure things within cycling, I would like to propose that we all start using the sheer size Cipollini's head as a new measurement unit. As in:

"I got a proper bike fit last week, it turns out that my saddle height should be three Cipollinis (CNs), not two and a half."

If you don't know what I'm talking about, look at the image below. The innocent bystander on the left (not, that's not me...I'm roughly the height of the average sixth grader) has a normal sized head, while Cipollini has something atop his torso that resembles one of the massive stone figures on Easter Island. Think about it, that extra amount of cranial protuberance was probably his winning advantage in most races where a photo-finish was needed. The guy was physically predisposed to win from birth.

It's a good thing Cipollini is now retired, because his head is so astonishingly lengthy for its diminutive width that I doubt the UCI would allow it, since it clearly violates the 3:1 ratio rule. It's for this very reason that Sarah Jessica Parker has failed to break into the top ranks of cycling, since her facial structure also violates the 3:1 rule, while looking like a size-13 foot. Before you leave a comment saying that I'm being cruel, let me remind you that even Google agrees with me.

Yes, it's a real screen shot. In case you're wondering, other options that Google offered were "...looks like Dee Snyder", "...looks like a witch", and my favorite "...looks like a boiled horse".

But let's get back to numbers, and their deep meaning to those how train and race (versus people like me who simply ride and ride). I admire these people, and their commitment. Racing is something I haven't done, but perhaps will do one day. I'm not sure if that day will ever come though, because there are significant differences between me and those who race, differences that I believe simply can't be resolved. One of these differences is so significant that I'm devoting this entire post to it (that's not saying much, since I pretty much devoted an entire post to the fact that a filling came out of my tooth not long ago). The difference I'm talking about is huge, and its something I keep track of like others track their power output. What am I referring to?

I take naps during my rides.

Yup. I nap, and I'm not using the word "nap" as a euphemism for something else. I mean it literally. I stop, I lay down, and I sleep. It's fantastic, it's relaxing and you too can benefit from it. Let me tell you about it, but before you judge me (in case you haven't done so already), let me clarify. I don't take a nap during every single one of my rides, although I would like to. I only take naps during one ride which I like to do often. This is how it all began.

Early last spring, while trying to plan a new weekend ride on Google Maps, I came across a nice route with a substantial amount of climbing. The ride would take me to a fairly secluded park which sits about 25 miles away from my house. The park is more like a wooded reserve than a place with a dog park and swings. I had never been there, and decided this would be a nice ride for a chilly Saturday morning. I put on my wrestling singlet, my fancy tap shoes, and off I went. When I arrived to the park, the temperature had magically risen into the high 60s, which at that time of the year felt insanely warm. As I rode through the park, I saw a beautiful clearing in the woods, which was surrounded by a creek and covered bridge. Sadly, I didn't have my camera with my that day, so I can't show you exactly what the picturesque scene looked like. Luckily, I was able to arrange something far better. I called up my friend Thomas Kinkade (The Painter of Light™), and spent nearly six hours on the phone describing the place I found that day during my ride. After the long phone conversation, Kin (that's what I call him) went ahead and painted this astonishingly accurate depiction.

For some reason, The Painter of Light™ depicted me as an overall-wearing farmer, instead of as the chiseled cycling warrior that I am. I think there was some confusion regarding my attire, the bib shorts in particular. I described them as having "suspenders", when Thomas asked me how they stayed up, hence the misunderstanding. Oh, and he also painted my bike as a medium-sized golden retriever. Minor detail. That aside, the painting is pretty accurate.

Additionally, I should mention that I'm pretty sad that during my trip to France, I won't be able to visit the Louvre in order to see their extensive Kinkade collection. Maybe next time.

But let's get back to the ride. As I went past this idyllic scene, I realized how much of a waste it would be to simply go past it, and not enjoy it. It seemed almost criminal. Luckily, it so happened that I was a bit tired at that moment, so I conveniently decided to stop. The sun was shining, and the birds were chirping as I put my consumer-grade bike down on the grass. I took my shoes off and decided to lay down for a bit in order to enjoy the surroundings. I could hear the water in the nearby creek, and the sun was pleasantly warm. I didn't mean to fall asleep...but I did. I guess I was a bit more tired than I realized, and 45 minutes quickly flew by. When I woke up, I was well rested, in a good mood, and in a bit of a hippie daze. I was one with nature, or whatever it is they say you're supposed to feel in moments like that. It was fantastic. I got back on my bike, and rode home.

Not knowing many routes out of town, this ride has quickly become my favorite. Depending on the route I take, the ride can be 38 or 50 miles long...always broken up with a mid-ride nap. When I started to do this, I told my wife about it. I described the spot where I would nap/rest, and she seemed interested in seeing it. Now, when I go on this ride, I give her an estimated time when I'll be at the park. She's drives there, along with our beloved miniature dachshund Emma. Once there, we sit on the grass, we play with our dog, we talk, we rest and sometimes kinda' sleep a bit while laying on the grass. It may sound silly, it may sound corny...but it's a fantastic way to spend an hour or two. The days when my wife can't make it, I still stop and lay down for a while. Sometimes 20 minutes, sometimes an hour. That's what I did just last Saturday. Perhaps taking a nap mid-ride is not the most efficient thing on earth you can do. I know that it doesn't make my legs stronger. I also suspect that it hasn't made me a better climber, and that it's greatly at odds with the regimented nature of cycling...but damn it, it's fun and pleasant. Isn't that supposed to be part of bikes and cycling? It makes me very happy, and it's for this reason that I recommend everyone try it. Remember how happy you were during some moments of your early childhood? This had nothing to do with the simplicity of your life at the time, and the general lack of concerns. You were that happy because you were getting regular naps. It's a medical fact, I don't make this stuff up people.

This is the profile for a stage at the Tour which I proposed to the UCI and ASO last year. Note the "nap time" icon. Sadly, both organizations rejected my proposal. While many cycling fans bemoan the UCI's handling of issues such as doping and equipment regulations, I will continue to criticize their unwillingness to implement a mandatory nap time in both one-day races and grand tour stages. Is it so wrong for athletes to be well-rested? Why does the UCI hate naps? Why does the UCI hate happiness?

So continuing on the subject of naps, I should tell you that the image at the top of this post (of the Garmin Edge 500) was not augmented or changed using Photoshop trickery. Oh no. Because I'm now an official part of the cycling media, Garmin sent me a free Edge 500, customized with a nap-counting feature. Upon accepting the package at my front door, I signed what I thought was a simple FedEx slip. As it turns out, what I signed was a legally-binding contract. Because of that contract, I am now obligated (like every other member in the cycling press) to say that Dave Zabriskie, his jokes, facial hair and product nomenclature are hilarious. Additionally, I now have to say that Jonathan Vaughters' hair, not just his sideburns, have always been "both tasteful and fashionable." It's a substantial price to pay, I know, but I feel the nap-counting feature was well worth it.

Vaughters, you can try all you want...we all know that you're just a third-rate Joe Parkin copycat. We've seen your kind before. His hair is the real're just a poser.

So if you invite me on a ride, and you tell me it will be 60, 70, or 90 miles...don't be surprised if I ask how many miles into the ride we'll stop to nap. I really need to know, so I can plan accordingly.


  1. I realize you make fun of a lot of things and generally I hate oversensitive people who can't take a joke, BUT, my wife and I actually received a Thomas Kincade as a wedding gift and it wasn't funny. No, it wasn't funny at all. Also, thank you for the nap exposition. Now I know what happened to David Millar-he didn't get dropped, he spotted the ideal place for a doze and hit it. Perhaps some fans with a camper flagged him down with the international sign for "down comforter." Cancellara is probably in sleep deficit right now. I hope its worth it.

    Have fun!

  2. Mandos,
    Did you really get a Kinkade? At my old job I made fun of him at a meeting, and quickly found out that a very important person who was there considered himself an "art collector"...guess what he collected.

    Good point about Millar at Flanders. I don't think he got dropped...he just needed a little snooze. i mean, he just disappeared suddenly. Cancellara didn't nap, and he won. big deal...i bet you anything that he's all grouchy right now. In contrast, Millar didn't win, but he's probably really happy and well rested right now. Looser? I think not.

  3. Interesting topic. I prefer to nap at work. Now if my job was pro-cyclist instead of pro-desk jockey then maybe I would still have this affinity.

    Also, great line about the required enthusiasm for DZ and his antics. In other cycling news, I, yawn, um, pedaled, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz, 50 ....... million kmssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss

  4. amazing, as always, brother. the idea of naps during pro races is great. i often doze watching races. paul sherwen's voice is like a lullaby. so, it would be awesome if i could wake up from my nap and not have missed a thing, cuz the riders were napping too!

  5. In the blog world, the success of this post is what we refer to as 'socking a dinger'. I think baseballers use the term from time to time as well.

  6. Holy crap, we are in the presence of greatness! Look above my comment folks...that's THE Stevil. I have arrived! I now look forward to getting more stuff from Garmin in the mail, since I'm now officially a blogging demi-god. Stevil, your kind words are very much appreciated. I look forward to disappointing all of you in the future with sub-par posts.

  7. It's always good to see a champagne blogger "giving props" to another champagne blogger. Makes me feel like the world makes sense after all.

    Thanks for the snappy email response Lucho. You're a gentleman.

  8. Yes, we did get a TK in that was not an ironic gesture. The weird thing about it is the print kind of scared me. It just was so busy and horrible-like pointalism with botchulism. We half-heartedly tried to sell it back to a TK store in a mall, but they weren't having it. It was not listed in the assets of the divorce.

  9. What i do is, wake up early to go for a ride, dismiss the idea, then nap. No napping on ride for me. Hpwever my method means i rarely GO for rides.

  10. Thank you so much for alerting your readers to the greatness of Thomas Kinkaide. My grandmother has an impressive collection. Guess who is going to inherit those beauties someday... her favorite grandson! When I get them I plan on opening a Kinkaide museum, quitting my job, and going on lots of long rides with naps in them.

  11. Once again, Deathrace speaks truth to power.
    When you're alarm goes off at 6:15 on a Saturday, THAT'S the time for a nice long nap. Fuck the group ride.

  12. At the airport, heading to London.
    Tried to say my bike was a tradeshow exhibit, and the lady looked at me with her dead eyes and said "there's an extra charge for bikes", and i told her it was not a bike, but a tradeshow exhibit. she said "okay, but there's an extra charge for bikes." i couldn't fight it any longer. she said i would also get charged for it being overweight. my poor bike is already sensitive about her weight, and now this lady is calling it fat? plus the amount she was quoting for the bike fee was nearly double what their website said. luckily i had a printout from their site, so she waived the overweight fee, and made it what the webisite said. in retrospect, i should have altered the printout, and made it say that the charge was $20. oh well.

    I'm so happy to see that this blog can serve as a place for discussion about serious artwork, like the work of Mr Kindade. Conrad, I'm so sorry to hear about the fact that you'll inherit those masterpieces. It must be like finding out that you've inherited some deadly illness from your ancestors, and that you are (in essence) a ticking time bomb.

    I see your point. If napping is such a great thing, why bother with the riding? this brings me to something i've said for a long time. when asked what my dream job or goal in life is...i've always responded the same way: I want to be a stay-at-home Lucho. Not a stay at home father...just home. doing nothing, except perhaps for napping.

    "pointalism with botchulism". you are a wordsmith sir. they should make shirts that say this.

  13. You could devote an entire blog (not just a post, the whole damn thing) to airlines vs. bikes. Way to fight the man, Lucho. The air-man.


    I have to fly with my sweet ride in July. I'll let you know what happens.

  14. I'm flying tomorrow to meet Lucho there and I'm flying Virgin. Their site says there's no extra charge for bikes, but we'll see...

  15. In London now. saw lots of commuters riding this morning. I'm sure I could crush them all.

  16. crush them with the taxicab you're in, im sure.

  17. So could it be that when Millar hucked his bike he had just missed his nappy time? Maybe that's what happened to Theo Bos in the Tour of Turkey, and Daryl Impey was just teasing him about it.

    I guess it's only a matter of time before we hear the excuse..."It must be a false positive because I missed like, both naptimes on the Queen Stage!"

    Will there be a napping points jersey at the Tour? What will it look like? Light blue with fluffy clouds and sponsored by Serta or something?


  18. at the Tour, they will have a Serta Mattress-sponsored vehicle in the caravan. As far as lack of nappy time, lots of cycling's most important moments can be blamed on it. beloki's crash? you guessed it. theo bos? yup.

    i look forward to the interviews after races, with great descriptions about tossing and turning, and rivals who were snoring or farting loudly nearby, thus keeping riders from getting proper rest. i'm telling you, it will revolutionize the sport.

    last thought: London appears to be a very lycra-friendly place. i'm amazed by how many commuters are rocking the tight attire. people in the city must be desensitized to it i guess. i saw no heckling yesterday.

  19. No wonder the racing authorities rejected your nap proposal. It's halfway up a Category 1 climb. The riders will wake up, think it's a descent and go careening back toward the start. They will probably crash into the guys that were dropped.

  20. Jefe, to be honest my proposal was failed in some ways. the nap time should be at the top of the climb. i admit, my thinking was flawed, but i still think the letter from ASO was way out of line. they didn't have to call me an "ignorant fool" whose "tomfoolery" would only hurt the sport. come on, that was uncalled for.

  21. Mandos Awakes (cranky)!April 8, 2010 at 4:32 PM

    Sandman-ery, more like. Quit winging about bike travel-ry. Try taking a longboard anywhere.

  22. a longboard! wow. Since I play the drums, I once complained about how difficult they are to carry around and load into venues when your band is on tour...then i thought about what hell it must be to play the harp!

  23. All you haters suck my cobbles.

  24. I'm in France now. Euskatel are staying next door to our hotel. Poor guys, they're like cattle waiting to be slaughtered on Sunday. Still, it's pretty damn cool to see their bus and the trucks.

    Ballan suspended? Naughty naughty.

  25. Lucho since you are there in person were you able to witness Millar's snooze? I think he sacked out early on this time, from what I could gather from cyclingnews. You should have woke him up, I really wanted the Garmin team to do well. Tyler Farrar stated that he was riding in support of his teammates at Paris-Roubaix. Do you suppose that involves dropping back to the team car to pick up some pillows? I would have loved to see that.

  26. Cancellara was amazing, but I still wonder, do you think he has left-leaning political views like his (nic)namesake Sparticus, or is a right-wing loon like the actor that played him, Charlton Heston?

    This keeps me awake at night and i think you, Lucho, have the power to investigate and answer this important question.

  27. Waiting impatiently for my dirt nap to begin.
    Sad that one can never improve one's time in the great time trial of death.

  28. This is why you would make a great randonnuer. You don't mind solitude and you enjoy taking naps. There is nothing quite like a ditch nap in the middle of the night (or day!)

  29. Being a randonnuer is like listening to Anthrax: to be admired because it is so boring.

  30. Ah, come on. Is riding fast around an office park any different? I'm not sure it is.

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  32. You admire me! Thank you!

    (I can read between the lines)

  33. I'd love to go for a ride, I live about 20 miles north of London. Probably too late now, and I've been tied up with stupid work for the last week, but you never know. If your up for it we can sort something out. I'll check back here tomorrow to see what's going on.


    ps love the blog


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