Why you can’t train

It's not about the bike

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Lots of people call the Wanky Hotline™ to get help with their bicycling problems. Below are the top five issues for which our offices receive requests:

  1. Where’s that creak/squeak/clank coming from?
  2. Is the higher number the faster gear?
  3. Is a kilometer longer than a mile?
  4. What is the best bike for me?
  5. Why can’t I train?

The answers to 1-4 are easy: 1) Your bottom bracket. 2) That depends. 3) Only in the Northern Hemisphere. 4) The one you can’t afford.

No. 5 is much more difficult. Rather, it’s easy to answer but lengthy to explain. The reason you can’t train is because you are not in control of your time. This very different from time management, a complex topic for which business gurus charge a lot of money to help you with, $3.00/mo. and up. It is also something I know little about.

Basically, time management is how you divvy up time according to fantasy-based work productivity applications like Outlook. For example, Outlook’s calendar allows you to organize your workday into important tasks, meetings, research, client calls, and etc., all of which you ignore until about 3:30 because you’re checking emails, texts, watching cat videos and arguing on Facebag with crazy people about various constitutional provisions that neither of you has ever actually read, much less understood.

Time control is a wholly different beast. Time control is where you grab time by the scrotum and make it your slave. Time control is predicate to time management. For example, let’s say you were a lion tamer for a circus and you wanted to manage the lion for the show (time management). It would be a terrible idea to simply scoop a lion off the jungle street and try to manage him, as he would claw your face off and eat you. First you would need to subdue the creature and stuff him into the parameters of the little cage. This is time control, taming the lion before teaching him to stand on a stool and roar.

For the time-crunched cyclist who has already been duped by Chris Carmichael and other time management gurus, you need to examine the three key battles to winning the time control war.

  1. The Pillow Battle.
  2. The Me-Time Battle.

Okay, that’s only two, but if you win these you’ve pretty much won the war.

The Pillow Battle begins when your alarm goes off and ends in a complete rout after you’ve hit snooze four times and then rush madly into the bathroom to get ready for work in such a way that it doesn’t look like you shaved with a bread knife or put on your makeup with a paint gun. Most people lose the Pillow Battle the first seventy years of their life until they are too old to sleep more than four hours at a time, by which time it is too late, literally and figuratively.

However, only by winning the Pillow Battle can you control the day. And worse, you pretty much have to pop out of bed no later than about 5:00 AM. Since you need seven hours of sleep, complex math indicates that you must be in bed no later than 10:00 PM, which is related to the Me-Time Battle, which I’ll explain later.

Anyway, there is no easy way to get up by five, so I can’t help you there. You just have to do it. I know it’s hard, but look at it like this: Once you’re dead you’ll never have to get up again, even on Mondays. And scientists believe that since the universe is at least 30 billion years old, the actual time you are going to be alive and struggling to get out of bed, assuming you live to be 80, is only .000000266666667 percent of the time your molecules will be around, so it’s really not all that much.

The Me-Time Battle is the other half of the war. You get home after a long day of Facebagging and checking emails (but not answering them), eat dinner, and then it’s eight or nine o’clock and you think, “This is me time, time for me. Time to relax and recover from all that hard Facebagging.”

So what do you do? Instead of getting ready for bed, which really consists of nothing more than feeling guilty about not brushing your teeth and putting on an old t-shirt, you prop up in front of the Tee Vee and pretty soon it’s 1:00 AM and you’re deep into the bowels of the Mesothelioma Lawyer Ad Campaign time slots. You crawl into bed and ain’t no fuggin’ way you’re getting out of bed at five.

The solution to the Me-Time Battle is to give up on the concept that some special part of the evening is “time for you.” That’s b.s.; evening time is bedtime, so put on that t-shirt, don’t brush your teeth, and go to bed. Now. If you do, you’ll be up at five, doing hill repeats or some other such nonsense by five-thirty, and slobbering asleep in your cubicle by ten.

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