(This is a satire…no, not a flat tire….what, no I don’t want a Fat Tire….egad here hold my beer)
Ah the virtual world. There is nothing quite like it is there. That warm, ozone smelling land of ones and zeros where we can do or say whatever we want. Unfortunately, for the human species, that usually equates to being utter jerks. Throw in a selection of the human race already known for being particularly snippy, say elitist cyclists, an you get a virtual world that seems torn out of the pages of Dante’s Inferno.
As I have mentioned, I have been exploring the world of Zwift lately. 90% of the time, its been a wonderful experience filled with adventure, competition, sweat, mountains and valleys, incredible aquariums, and crotch pain….kind of like dinner with Donald Trump but in a good way. However, there are still some things that only happen in that virtual world that lead palm to face.
“Jumping the Front on Sub 2”
You know the people. Your setting off on that fun Sunday Sub 2 for a chill ride, and maybe even catch the game simultaneously when suddenly the front people launch off like Godzilla just joined the group. We’ve all done it once I’m sure, but there are some people who are pros at it…or at least it makes them feel like pros leaving the Sunday Church Ride equivalent in their dust.
Take the example to the real word to see the ridic.
“Good to see you guys. I’m looking forward to enjoying this fine California weather and smelling the grapes as we ride through Napa. I hear there is a wine stop just a few miles down that caters to the Lycra crowd. I say we stop there. Oh Chuck, I didn’t know your Grandma was coming too, so nice to meet you ma’am. Ok, last one to the first stop buys the bottle! Ha ha ha, I jest.”
4.0 w/kg and 15 miles later you catch up with polite jester sipping a 2013 Lewis Cabernet Sauvignon “Your g’ma gets social security right?”
The “You didn’t Use search button hard enough” Twat
This really needs no introduction. You’ve seen those posts on the Zwift Riders Facebook page, you know, that SOCIAL media website that’s all the rage these days. Ok, yes, many answers can be found by using the search function, but its not fool proof. But maybe someone is not very computer literate. Maybe its a 79 year old who is just happy to be back on the bike in a supposed welcoming community. Maybe it’s someone being lazy. But just maybe. In any case, why act like total jerk because you are online. If you are going to act like that online, why not apply the same philosophy to the real world:
“Doctor, what are the side effects of this medication?”
“Apparently laziness because you could have looked that up online.”
Think its different because you are paying the doc? How about this?
“Father, why do I feel I am going to hell?”
“Because you didn’t read the Bible enough. The answer is in there; why bother my Sunday with this?”
If your still on defense on this one, you should probably find a virtual Kentucky Derby program so you can race on your high horse.
“The Power Up Chump”
You’ve been at it. Racing ZTR B for the last hour. Gutting it out, looking at stems, dropping riders like dollar bills in a strip club. You can see that finish line racing towards you. Just you and this guy sucking your wheel for the past 15 minutes. You rear up to sprint and finish this right…..and then there it is. A shiny blue helmet. Your wheel leach rides off into victory.
Sure, we can say when power ups are allowed or not, but man don’t use that crap at the end. If that was real life, the last 2 miles of alp d’Huez would be littered with more syringes than a Staten Island biohazard disposal site.
Mr./Mrs 11w/kg for fifty minutes, you are not fooling anyone. If Lance cant pull one over us with his seven yellow jerseys, you have no hope with your 30 KOM jerseys. The usual argument is “who cares, let them do what they want.” I’m cool with that, but don’t expect any niceties from the peloton when you are zipping around Watopia on your apparent Suzuki motorcycle.
It is the one. Well Maybe. Today, I want to share with you what I see as one of the most painful journeys to self satisfaction I have experienced in a long time. No, this is not a post about mind over matter in training with ridiculous references to the Matrix. This post is a more down to earth tale about man versus screwing.
First, some background. In 2004, I bought a 150 dollar trainer from Performance Bicycle to start my trip back into the cycling world. In the years between graduating high school and 2004, I had spent most of my training doing pizza and beer repeats. Since 2005, I have been using the same fluid trainer. Yes. Three Ironmans. 8 years of triathlon. On the same trainer. Here is what that looks like:
In addition to undergoing a transition from no resistance to high resistance after about 15 minutes of riding, my trainer sounded like a train trying to stop on a dime. So after I completed and passed my medical boards, I decided to reward myself with fancy schmancy Tacx Neo. Merry Christmas to me!
Of course, the trainer was on backorder, so it took a month to even ship. No problems; I figured I had waited 11 years, I can wait another month. Then, in mid December I received word the trainer was on its way and would be arriving right before Christmas. Great, what joyous, perfect timing! Except for the fact that I missed the UPS guy! Looks like my wait was going to be a bit longer. Finally, in early January, the 60 pound box arrived, and I jumped like Ralph with his new BB gun.
Out of the box it went like a bacon from the pan. Thanks to the instructions, the assembly was a cinch. As everyone already knows, you have to buy a cassette to go with the Tacx. The hub is a cool EDCO Multisys. Basically it is a hub that excepts both Shimano and Campy. I slid on my Shimano cassette, but my Shimano cassette tool didn’t fit. So I just decided to tighten by hand as much as I could and loaded up my bike.
Okay, so I just couldn’t wait any longer and I loaded up Zwift. The trainer paired up like Taylor Swift and lipstick: flawlessly. A few minutes later, I was cruising Zwift bathed in the soft glow of LED light and navigating along automatically changed resistance. The first ride was everything I imagined. Smooth. Alive. No more crunching along in my highest gear while just barely scraping my FTP. It was like a dream come true….except for the loud clunking. Yes, the scourge of DC Rainmaker’s comment section emanated from between my legs.”Clack-clack-clack-clack” pierced through the nirvana that is the Neo.
Into emergency diagnostic mode I went. Like a patient with chest pain, I went through every possibility, proceeding from most to least levels of probability. Adjust derailleur. Adjust quick release. Check cassette. Re-tighten cassette. Oil chain. Oil cassette. Drink beer. Try different bikes. Get bike tune up by LBS. Nothing I did mattered to the Neo.
So, after two days, I gave up to the one possibility I wished to avoid: my trainer was a fluke on the assembly line. Back in the box and back to Trisports it went. Exchange went smoothly, and after three weeks, another trainer was in my hand. Rinse and repeat and there I was again, clipped into my pedals. Cadence picked up and…..”Clack-clack-clack-clack!!!” After this, my mind was as fried as Jens Voight’s legs. In one last hope of desperation, I took my bike and trainer to Glacier Cyclery in Whitefish, Montana. I gave them my story and waited for the phone call.
There are some days you remember in your life. Your first kiss. Graduating from college. Your first Ironman finish. Thursday was one of those days. The bike store appeared on my phone, and I picked up the call with the trepidation of Wesley Snipes answering a call from the IRS. Was my bike framed cracked? Quarq bottom bracket busted? No. After all that, the culprit was…..a loose cassette!! Turns out, a few more turns of the screw with the proper tool was needed to cinch down the cassette. A campy cassette tool at that. This news was sort of like texting your friend that he left his phone at your house. Hilarious mixed with 2 shots of WTF.
The story came to the end this morning. Finally, after three months, I climbed atop my Christmas, Birthday and Boards present and pedaled off onto the Ironman Kona course. Whisper quiet. Smooth resistance changing with the terrain. Beautiful.
They say that good things comes to those who wait. In this case, my problem solving skills can be looked at as an investment in awesomeness. Glad to finally have the trainer of my dreams…just wish it had arrived sooner!