Okay, wankers, take a deep breath. It’s not the off season for you. Why? Because you don’t have a “season.” So it’s impossible for you to have an “off season.”
Off seasons are for other people. Not you. What kind of people? Take this handy dandy quiz to find out if you’re entitled to an off season. If you answer “yes” to each statement, then and only then do you get to have an off season.
- You are a professional road racer with a contract.
- You did five Pro Tour events in 2012, or at least 50 UCI races ranked 2.2 or higher.
- You logged 10,000 km in last year’s off season.
- You will have logged at least 30,000 km in 2012.
- Your team manager has said, “Okay, it’s the off season for you.”
No “buts,” please
I can hear you wailing already.
“But I did 47 Cat 4-5 events this year!”
“But I did two dozen double centuries!”
“But I did all the races on the 45+ SoCal calendar!”
“But I’m completely worn out, mentally and physically!”
“But I need a break!”
These are all great reasons to take a break, or to ride easy, or to hit the gym, or to spend more time with your significant other or cat. They are not reasons to call your cat time, or your gym time, or your break time an “off season.”
For the same reason it’s not okay to call your club kit and bike discount a “pro deal”: Because it’s not. Pro deals are where you get everything for free as part of your contract and are obligated to wear and use the gear no matter what. Club deals are where you get a discount and then get to go to all the races using different gear and talk shit about the stuff that’s part of your “pro deal.”
There’s another reason it’s not okay to call the next four months an “off season.” It implies that your dedication, seriousness, effort, and commitment to your bicycling hobby is equivalent to what professional athletes do.
Pro football players have an off season. Pro basketball players have an off season. Pro road cyclists have an off season. You think that if you can just borrow the word “off season,” it will get you, along with your pro kit, your pro bike, and your pro coaching regimen one step closer to being an actual pro.
It won’t. No matter what you call the next few months, you’ll still be a flub-along bicycle hobbyist like the rest of us, which is fine.
What’s not fine
What’s not fine is that once you start bandying about “off season” like it’s some sort of professional injunction mandated by the pro cyclist’s union or the terms of your contract, before long you’ll be trying to impose your “off season” on the rest of us.
“Hey, slow down! Don’t you know it’s the off season?”
“Yo, Wankmeister! Quit hammering! It’s the fucking off season, you idiot!”
“Ah, you guys need to chill on the NPR. It’s the off season.”
“Look, it’s the off season, so let’s go easy on the Donut, okay?”
Nah. It’s not okay, because it’s not really the off season. What it may be is time for you to rest your worn out, arthritic, creaky old joints and give some recovery time to your weathered and withered and beaten down body so that you can do it all over again come January.
But that doesn’t mean that the rest of us wankers have to follow suit. Most of us don’t ride or race enough to be tired by September, and since it’s not “off season” at the job where we still have to sweat and slave and toil and stress, these weekend flailfests are still important times for us to go out and forget about life for a while. Moreover, it’s hardly the off season for the wankers who are just now getting geared up for ‘cross. That whole exercise in insanity goes full bore through January…a few hard efforts during the week are just what the doctor ordered.
So what’s a fellow to do?
Rather than loudly proclaiming your off-season-ness to the world and trying to make everyone else go slower, you should find a group of like-minded, equally deluded imaginary pro riders (trust me, that won’t be hard to do), and go spend your off season with THEM. Or, you can go ride by yourself at your “off season” pace.
What you can’t do is show up on the group ride with instructions that the rest of us quit riding like today is the biggest race of our lives. Well, you can do it…but don’t be surprised when no one listens. The Switchbacks weren’t put there for “easy.”