New Year's Eve Tips For The Romantic Peddler

[There's not much connection between the cover pic and this week's post, but who doesn't like a good Skinsuit Sunday shot??] Ride Happy has over the years proffered advice on a number of topics, from Jersey selection for the recreational cyclist to whether to disown your son over poor bike taste and how to handle office douchebags. Sometimes this advice has been well-received. Sometimes not (hello triathletes! I love you deep down, really).

I apologise first of all for the back-log of emails asking for Lisa's Mum's advice that I have yet to get to. I always love getting them and my responsiveness does not reflect my enthusiasm for reading them. Please keep them coming. Send them again, if you could. I would love to get to them... I just need a prod sometimes.

Now that it is almost 2013, my thoughts turn to New Year's Eve and the veritable treasure trove of romance that awaits the drunk and opportunistic. Being now a single lass, I see New Year's Eve through different eyes... those eyes being slightly blurry and prone to distraction. However, having been out of the game for 9 years a while, I felt in need of a strong guiding hand in the romance department.* And so it was with a steady hand that I unlocked the cupboard under the stairs and thrust a steaming mug of Earl Grey into the hands of a dusty and neglected Lisa's Mum.

Lisa's Mum is a well-recognised authority on romance, having married 5 times and ghost-written the bestseller Fifty Millimetres of Sock Height, a racy novel enjoyed by cyclists in private around the world. Her thoughts on romance are so advanced that it is said that even Mario Cippolini himself would consult Lisa's Mum prior to any romantic encounter during Grand Tours (a practice that coincidentally coincided with the introduction of Telekom Italia's maxi-cap mobile plans). And so, with tea freshly brewed and pen poised, here are Lisa's Mum's tips for navigating the peloton of love this New Year's Eve:

  • Make sure you have a pre-race strategy: There is nothing worse than being the sucker who goes on the attack too early. This is the Paris-Roubaix of romantic nights: you have one shot at it and you need to get to the Forest d'Ardennes ahead of the bunch. Remember, everyone is twitchy; just keep your head and don't be the one who brings the whole bunch down.
  • Course selection: A one-day classic requires a different approach to a Grand Tour. Both have their merits. But consider: are you a sprinter or endurance romantic? If you like a one-day race, New Year's Eve is for you... but you had better be sure you have a fast finish on you. No one likes a choker.
  • Keep it realistic: There is no point if you are a punter to be aiming to win the Tour de France. Keep your sights within reach.
  • Get a good domestique: A domestique, or 'wingman' in layman's parlance, is worth their weight in gold. Practice a few moves together and make sure they know how to lead you out and how to deliver you to the line when you need it.
  • Equipment selection: Give all your equipment a good wash. That's what the pros do, and they do this all the time. Make sure all your gear is in good working order. I've been beaten by players with lesser machinery, and it hurts.
  • Stay off performance-enhancing drugs: It will cloud your judgement and you won't respect yourself in the morning.
  • The best time to attack is when your opponent is distracted: Maybe they're in the toilet. Maybe they've ordered another beer. Get your domestique to do some blocking moves so that you have a clear run at the prize.
  • Above all, learn to Sit In: Girls, you should NEVER hang out in the wind. Stay tucked in and don't be the one leading the charge. You'll need to conserve your strength for later when the real race starts.

Good luck... and may all your efforts end with your arms in the air.

Ride Happy.

*Those who are in the loop on Target 30/30 - the most awesome new year's resolution of all time - will agree with this.