Seven years in training, beware the Basement Guy
By Kennett Peterson
(Kennett Peterson is an Oregon-based road racer with the Hagens-Berman amateur elite squad that competes at national pro/am events around the country. This article was originally posted on Kennettron 5000).
Lurking in a dark, damp basement in a household near you there exists a monster so frightening and disfigured the mere sight of it would stop the heart of all but the strongest-willed warriors. An ugly mound of muscle, bone and tendons constructed in the form of a man, but unlike any human being you’ve ever met, this monster’s exterior is almost as disgusting and horrifying as its soul.
This terrible beast of a man is called Yuri Venjhamstan by those who know him. But no one knows him. Orphaned even before birth, he was raised at first by a pack of wolves (typical scenario). But by age three he had killed the entire pack in his lust for blood, suffering and watching the pain of others. He tore into their hides with a crazed passion that no three-year-old should have. He consumed every part of their still-living and howling bodies, starting with the heart and finishing with the toe nails. From then on, he’s lived in isolation, plotting his revenge on the cruel world that left him alone from day one. Finally, after years of brooding, he found a way to release his hate onto the world. He’s been training in solitary in his basement for seven straight years without rest. He hasn’t seen daylight since 2004. He, or “it”, exists for only one reason: to slaughter you come 2011 race season in such a merciless manner you’ll be left crippled and praying for your own death on the blood-soaked pavement while you slowly drown in your own vomit, feces, and tears.
Yuri is a monster of a man in mind and in physique. He stands well over seven feet tall, possibly taller. His quads are thick, ugly masses of knotted muscle similar in diameter to that of a juvenile elephant. I said a juvenile elephant, not a baby elephant. His skin is pale white from lack of sun, it’s contrasted by a nasty, ugly coarse coat of black body hair. Flies buzz around his head and back, intrigued by the stench of his BO and sweat-covered body as he rides on his trainer, but none dare to land, lest they get entangled in his back hair and die in a Cobra Plant trap-like death.
He sits on his trainer in silence, staring at a brick wall for eight hours a day, sweating puddles as he hammers out his warm up of 10×30 minute threshold intervals. His eyes, which are sunken deep below his neanderthal brow are solid black–solid pupil–for his resting heart rate is a mere 3 beats…an hour. His training is so complete, and his animal strength so immense, that he nose-breathes all the way up through zone 5 (Vo2). His one legged pedal stroke drills are done at 888 watts or more. His cranks break and require replacement once a week. His entire bike groans and creaks in pain. The sorrowful two-wheeled steel beast wishes for death to come soon, for it can stand not one more day of this torturous life.
Yuri wakes up at 2:20 AM every morning to start training. His breakfast flapjacks are made of ground armadillo bones, which he self-grinds with his teeth every morning, 46 eggs yolks (no whites), 7 pounds of buckwheat, and 13 habeneros. For syrup, though, he uses just a smidgen of agave nectar because he doesn’t want to disturb his insulin levels too much before his workout. During breakfast Yuri stairs at a brick wall. After Yuri has devoured the flapjacks he eats a 290-ounce steak with 3 bottles of A-1 sauce, 59 bananas, and a pound of flax seed (non-hulled), then he sits on the toilet for 45 minutes–during which he stairs at a brick wall. Right before mounting his bike, he chugs 70 ounces of piping-hot cappuccino (of course with a cool heart design in the foam), belches steam through his nostrils like a bull and lets out a terrifying death scream (you’ve probably heard this since he lives nearby). Then he rides.
Like I said before, Yuri warms up with at least 5 hours of zone 4 threshold intervals (upper end). Afterward he takes a long piss in a bucket that he keeps near his bike. This takes 8 full minutes. Then the workout begins. 12X8 minutes zone 5 (Vo2), 12×8 minutes zone 6 (anaerobic), 12×8 minutes zone 7 (neuro-muscular), 12×8 minutes zone 8. Yes, Yuri has a zone 8. After those intervals, Yuri rests at zone 4 for 3 hours before doing his pedal stroke drills and 30-second sprints (he does 300×30 second sprints). Next up is more zone 4 for 2 hours, then an hour and a half of zone 6 followed immediately by 4 more hours of zone 6. He cools down with another 8 to 12 hours of zone 6. Yuri’s bike has two drive-trains. Two chains, two cassettes, two drive-side cranks. If you tell Yuri this doesn’t make any sense, mechanically, he will stare a hole right through your forehead until your brain burns. Yuri never leaves his 58×11 (on either drive side). He eats nothing while he rides– in order to improve his body’s fat-burning capability. But for dinner he devours 50 gallons of Nancy’s vanilla yogurt, 13 raw salmons, 8 large watermelons (NOT seedless), 6 rotisserie chickens, 23 pounds of swiss chard, two Costco bags of whey protein (chocolate flavour), 9 gallons of rocky road ice cream, 36 bowls of steel cut oats with chopped up fruit and nuts and a pinch of cinnamon, a 30 pound pumpkin (raw with the rind and stem and carved as a jack-o-lantern), and 3 gallons of half and half. Then he sleeps for 16 hours on a cold slab of concrete, dreaming about killing innocent, dough-eyed baby deer and bunnies. Yuri sleeps on his side so his open but sleeping eyes can continue to stare at a brick wall. This is the life Yuri Venjhamstan has been living for seven long years…and you thought you’ve been training hard. Beware.
• “Physiology, diet and the Zen of wrongness,” Oregon Cycling Action, Feb. 13, 2011
• “How to avoid those Bonks of Monumental Proportion,” Oregon Cycling Action, Jan. 4, 2011
• “Off-season can’t slow disciples of the Harden Up Church,” Oregon Cycling Action, Nov. 3, 2010
• “Names have been changed to protect the innocent,” Oregon Cycling Action, Oct. 21, 2010
• “How I got that job,” Minneapolis Star Tribune, July 17, 2010