"Life is a highway. I want to ride it all night long." Rascal Flatts
I like to volunteer at races when I'm not entered. Those of you who do understand the pleasure you get from helping others, many when they're really in need. The first time I was a bike catcher, and was handed a pair of disposable plastic surgical gloves for the job, I was completely baffled. I have three bikes at home including my old mountain bike and sure I get a little grease on me now and again but so what?
"These people do all kinds of things and leave all kinds of stuff on their bikes. Put 'em on, you'll be glad you did."
Truer words have not been spoken.
Each of us thinks differently about that two wheeled machine we spend so much time on in training. We spend hours making sure that it's in peak condition at the start of a race so we don't have a bike related mechanical issue. It's our platform for our nutrition plan. It can also be the site of emptying one's bladder, something learned the hard way (following too closely) in draft legal races. I present to you a few before and after images to show how some spend their 112 miles and whether you think their nutrition plan a success or not.
Peeing on a moving bike.
When I was standing in the registration line of an Iron distance race a few years ago, I saw a man about my age and we began talking race strategy in this very slow moving line. When I asked if he thought he'd need to stop to pee over the 112 miles, he exclaimed, "STOP!? Why would I do that?" He then went through the details of how to get this bodily function accomplished. "When you're on a downhill, stop pedaling and put most all of your weight on the pedals. Then relax, and just go. Man or woman, doesn't matter." And according to him, just a little "Swish, swish, swish with your water bottle" to the crotch of your bike shorts, and you were done. Hmm, sounds simple enough, how could it possibly go wrong?
I'd watched videos of the riders in the Tour de France coast to the back of the peleton for a "comfort break" per Paul Scherwin, undo their bike shorts and just hose down the curb, the trees, race fans, cars, whatever happened to be there as the group was going 30 mph. It didn't seem like something in which I was interested but this new method seemed more civilized and if things worked out right you could still PR on the bike. Cool! I tried it on race day and it worked great. In fact, I may have been a little over hydrated as I was able to "practice" the technique a couple times.
Important Note To Athletes: Wash out your bike shorts immediately following the race. I did not. In fact, I packed my bike to run bag just as I had picked it up from T2 into my suitcase. And to make things worse, when I got back home from Hawaii, I just took all the tri gear and threw it outside on our screened-in back porch to get to it another day. Well, we all procrastinate sometimes, eh? After about two weeks, my spouse decided to "help" me with cleaning up my stuff. Nice woman. Bad decision. When she opened this particular bag, in the words of Gilda Radner as Roseanne Roseannadanna, 'I thought I was gonna die!" Apparently, it let out the aroma of ten dead skunks, or worse! Maybe eleven! Her only possible course of action (she said) was to throw it all in the trash, "Life is too short, John," which I heard about four times during supper. I decided that the safest course was to not complain about the loss of bike clothing and merely say thanks.
I wash out the "new" bike shorts now.