Sunday, August 23, 2009

Survival Tips for Cyclists, Or, How Not to Find Your !@# On the Street Next Season

And they're from a real live lawyer, too!*: Okay, kids, it's damn near September, and you don't have a ProTour contract, or even a contract with the desperate Continental publicity whores over at Team We Heart Doping Rejects, so let's face it: you need help, and it's time to get moving before you end up spending 2010 on the couch hypersnorting nachos and pork rinds and replacing your team kit with an ever-larger series of stained sweaty undershirts to contain your ever-growing beer gut as your podium babe runs off with your ex-soigneur. Ergo, Your Handy Survival Tips:

1. See Your Doctor: yes, you're perfectly healthy, but yes, unless you win or at least place respectably in the last few races of the season before you even get formally rejected for your national Worlds squad, you can kiss your next year, and that bangin' fat bank account it brings you, goodbye. What better way to guarantee the results that honest hard work and training can so often fail to bring, than to visit your dru--I mean, physician--for some last-minute IV dri--I mean, advice? Caveat: if you've already got a good thing going, nimrod, now is *not* the time to mess this up. Remember, discretion is the better part of outsmarting the narcs!

2. Semantics Count: repeat after me, o unemployed roadie: you are not "a dessicated bag of bones," or "one of the oldest riders in the peloton," you are "a mentor for the younger riders" or "an experienced Grand Tour stalwart." Conversely, you are not a "neo-pro," a "newbie," or an "unknown quantity," you are an "up-and-comer," a "raw new talent," or "the next Lance Armstrong/Mark Cavendish/Alberto Contador." Nor are you "pack-filler"--you are "an invaluable part of your sprinter's lead-out," or "crucial support in the mountains." Now stand there and shout it 'til you mean it, you worm!

3. Show Them the Money: everyone likes to get riders on the dirt-cheap, and while that's not exactly a challenge for the women's peloton, you pricey boys can dangle the lure of existing or imminent bike-gear and supplement sponsorships to coax the reluctant team into a low-end, but still perfectly valid (and better'n anything else you're likely to get this late in the season) offer. And hey, will your team ever get *buckets* of free gels from that company and save money on the back end, too! Believe you me, kid, never underestimate the power of making an accountant's heart go pitter-patter. Which brings us to:

4. Think Outside the Box: okay, they don't want to shell out any more dough, but that don't mean you can't still arm-twist 'em into giving you some pretty sweet schwag instead. A limo ride to the stage start away from the team-bus riff-raff? Your own masseuse? A private suite at the Ritz while the other saps on your cheap-!@# squad go bonkers listening to each other snore like a rhino all night sharing a room at the sexy local Motel 6? Can't go wrong with that, and yes, they *do* think you're too stupid to count how much less that costs them than actually shelling out a few thousand extra euros for your contract--use it to your advantage!

5. Think Looooooooong and Hard About That Morals Clause, Honey: because no-one knows you like you do, darlin', and you don't want your personal peccadiloes interfering with your obscenely lucrative gig as a glorified Big Wheel enthusiast. Timing, here, is key. Come on, your pen's literally in your hand hovering above the signature line. And everybody else worth hiring is already snatched up, or banned. So the sponsor's really gonna waste another $600 an hour for 8 hours making their attorney wank over an inconsequential little word like "knowingly" or "blow"?

All right, you nervous Nellies, you're doing great--and you're almost, almost there. Just keep (apparently) clean, don't break anything important in your last few crashes of the season, and for heck's sake, whatever butt-end-of-nowhere squad you're forced to sign with, by golly are you excited to be working for 'em (at least while the cameras are rolling)!

*Disclaimer: this doesn't constitute legal advice, so don't be a jerkface about it. In fact, if you *do* take this crap seriously, you're clearly far too dim to legally sign a contract anyway. No, that's not legal advice either--lighten up, you freaks!

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