Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Fear and Self Loathing In MABRA (And Elsewhere)

"If you're a professional hater, I got a full time job here for ya."
- The Situation

There is always a healthy soupcon of self loathing going on about cycling. You have your pro cycling hatred, which to me is a giant flaming bag of whatever. Maybe they're all on the 'roids, maybe they ain't. That doesn't make them any different from most of the rest of pro athletes out there, only generally less well paid for their efforts. If Tiger and Dara Torres were pro cyclists, they'd already be spinning on the spit of public opinion right now. Combine Tiger's libido with Torres', ahem, timelessness - she's markedly older than me for Christ's sake - and you wind up with Cipo. Now that I think of it, if you combined the two they'd kind of look like Cipo. Hmm. Anyway, pro cycling is a hell of a lot more interesting to me than some other sports but whether Andy Schleck is smoking rolled up goat placentas in some hunting lodge in Luxembourg over the winter doesn't get my dander up. A new round of baseball players getting $12mm/year contracts today gets my dander up a bit. What do these people add to the world? Take Bill Gates out of the equation and we're back to Fred and Barney and Arnold the Paper Boy. Take Steve Jobs out of the equation and not a single person reading this would know how to live through intervals. Take Tiger, Beckham, Barry, Vick or other ad nauseum out of the equation and we'd be in the same exact place we are, but maybe a trifle less disillusioned.

But I never get the plan that people like the Bike Snob are on there. That guy more than any other makes no sense on this soapbox of "the world spends too much time trying to be pro cyclists" tip. So go back to whatever it was that you were doing before you decided to chase the equivalent of minimum wage writing smarmy crap about smarmy people, and "selling out" to a magazine whose editorial calendar hasn't changed since John Boyd Dunlop (look it up) first showed us "How To Change A Flat In Record Time!"

The simple fact is that I and an alarming number of others are pretty freaking excited to spend what many would think of as an inappropriate amount of time preparing to race our bikes. Are we adding any value to the world? Other than the fact that the vast majority of those people are markedly less likely to wind up spreading Type Two Flu, and for the most part are at least quasi-social and some of them even pursue such ridiculous feats as doing things for others, not really. The latest edition of the WCP catalog could convince you that we're inspiring a nearly unprecedented amount of useless, overly high tech crap that points the means of production toward ends it should never seek. On the other hand, are there a bunch of times when I'm pretty sure that if it wasn't for the yogic clarity that cycling imparts (I'm famous for my yogic clarity), I would have definitely mowed people down with shotgun fire? Those who know me have their hands raised high for that one. Are there weeks when work is so boring/stressful/frustrating/depressing/etc that I would have sawed off my wrists just to make it stop were it not for cycling. Yuh huh. Are there times when things are going like crap but you set a new milestone or have a great result and dealing with what ain't right seems a lot easier? Check.

The thing that does get me is the amateur cyclists who smoke rolled up goat placentas or whatever else. Not that it makes me angry, it's just one of those things. Like cocaine is God's way of telling you that you make too much money, that's a pretty good sign that you're a little obsessed with cycling. And a douche bag. But even then, something can be done about it. Details on the late edition.

I'm far from perfect, as are most cyclists professional or otherwise, and as are most other people in the world. But as long as my relationship with my wife and other important people is continuing to grow and strengthen, and I'm paying attention and being productive at work, and the trash is getting put out with some modicum of regularity, seriously, f off if I want to spend a couple of hours doing intervals. I feel great about it.

All right, got to finish some stuff to get put out to bid - so I can take off and go ride.


TerribleTerry said...

There's lots of dangerous stuff in them goat placentas. Plus you got all those underground goat herders sneaking their stuff under the pasture gate. Then you got folks selling cow placentas and passing them off as goat. Don't even get me started about the stuff they add so that the placenta will stay lit.....

Stephen said...

Amen and lol!

c said...

Amateur cyclists trying to be pro's adds something to the world. They keep me in a job.

Oh wait, no, they just keep Performance and Nashbar in business.

Chuck Wagon said...

Terry - Ungummed rice paper, that's the key. The gummed stuff is all harsh chemicals. I mean sure you might have to fix it with a dollar bill but really it's worth it. Cow placenta just gives me a wicked headache.

Stephen - I have a question for you (10 of them actually) can you hit me up at dkri7358 at gmail? Thanks

C - Coming from a guy who bailed on the workaday world to put in 4k worth of base for cross season, can I take your comments with a grain of salt? Also, wannabe pros did a pretty good job of providing free labor and buying tickets for the film fest, n'est-ce pas? And most of the ones I know have pretty significant Performance and Nashbar allergies.

SD said...

Ok- here's the thing. We all have that line we won't cross to get better. Maybe it is buying a powertap and slaving to power. Maybe it is $2K wheels. Maybe it is waking at 4:00 to get 100k in before work three days a week. Everyone has a line that we won't cross. BSNYC recognizes, as does Chuck Hutch in his own way, that you just need to ride your bike. You rise to the level you deserve. Look at guys that have been 3s for 20 years, and are happy to go out and race for one or two good results a season. For every one of them there's a guy that trained like a madman for three years and burned out in his first season as a cat 2.

It's not the training that is stupid, it's making yourself miserable training. Enjoy it? Do it. Hate it? Shut up and do something else.

Chuck Wagon said...

Well said.

Chuck Wagon said...

Well said.

John Raley said...


Bluenoser said...

I'm OK with this post.