Illness Is My Friend

So, it turns out that LA won the tour the old way. Hard work, good preparation and my two favourites; intimidation and drugs. His only crime in my eyes was having no style. 

Anyway on to more pressing matters.

A few of you have been off the bike, “sick”. A real bike rider races no matter what…. What do you think the chemist is for?? Sometimes you can turn a thick head cold to your advantage. 

Once you have a real store of really heavy green on board go on a group ride with people you are going to race against real soon. Cough a lot and don’t do turns. Whinge. (You lot should find that bit easy.)

Lots of nose blows, but pull forward and off to one side to make sure everyone gets to see at least one oyster being born. Lots of snorting, lots of spray flying out on both sides.

On the race day, fill up on pharma. Warm up somewhere else and then show up at the last minute looking sad. Rub your nose a little raw. Never do a turn. Cough pathetically every so often during the first half of the race. This should allow people to totally underestimate you.

If you have done it right you will have about 48 hours to celebrate your victory because you sure won’t be able to sleep.

Another tactic is to level the playing field. About two weeks before an event go to the coffee shop by yourself. A little late. Give all the guys a wave and park your bike with theirs.

Now when you have a cold on a ride you can’t help but to have some “residue” on your hands. So touch every brake hood or handlebar you can. Innocently of course, admiring a bike, stabilizing a badly parked one and such like.

In two weeks you should be fine, and immune as it is yours anyway, and they should feel like shit. Beware of the above tactics. If you think someone's performance might be boosted by racing tackle bought through adverts in Horse and Hound magazine or one of those backyard "supplement" providers - find a way for him to lose his biddon. One hour in he will be so dehydrated it won’t matter how much go juice he has, his blood will be just short of being clay.

Anyhow it looks like a long hot summer is on us and I want to start back on the track. One month on 48x18 coming up. Details to follow.


The Crank is the embodiment of archetypal cranky veteran bike riders, whose worn out bike riding stories are embellished each time they are recounted. Hard as nails The Crank is a devious scoundrel who rides roughshod over anyone who has the misfortune to meet him. This Crank story by John Caskey.