I can never forget one reason I walked away from this beautiful sport for seven years. It’s called attitude and ego. And the number of guys who are full of it.
Why the rant? Guess you could say I have had another run it with a local cycling team. My former team. Despite the fact that I am racing with a team out of Austin, I paid my club dues for the local team, thinking I could use the camaraderie and join them on their team ride. But not! I’ve been removed from the club and cannot access the members only section.
Notice I said “another run in”. Last season, I took a subtle bashing from someone who had not raced at all during the season. He was pissed for not wanting to race with the 4s and 5s and race with the Masters in the last road race of the season. He said he wanted a win, not necessarily for himself, but for the team. The whole email read like it was all about him.
I replied back to the whole team stating “this is a year of accomplishment for me, getting back on the bike, and learning to deal with Crohn’s, and I felt it was best for me to race with the masters” He replied back..”There will be no undue pressure from me to you to suffer for the team. Geez, I don’t even know this guy, and I was getting an attitude.
Let it be known, I’m not trying to play my Crohn’s card. In fact, few people know I have it. Its something I have to live with, something I have adjusted too. And I will never use it as an excuse, or a reason to try to get anyone sympathy. But, unless someone lives with it, or knows someone who has it, I don’t think anyone could understand what it takes to deal with it.
If that’s the way they want it, fine. In fact, I probably have my most productive training ride when I ride by myself. And since I’m racing masters, I would be racing by myself.
Yes, I am a team player. But I also know what my physical limitations are. And I also know what I would like to accomplish thru cycling.
So, I’ve been thinking about the whole ego thing. And realize how many there out there.
There’s the bike shop attitude that you can sometimes run across. . Don’t have money to spend on top end, don’t waste their time. And speaking of spending top bucks, there are the people who spend top dollars on high end bikes and component, thinking it will impress others. And make them ride faster. In some cases it will, others not. ( I remember hearing the story of someone who, at the Tour of California, commented to a Rock Cycling team member how nice his bike was. Instead of saying thanks, he said “It should. It costs $10,000. But then again, this was Rock Racing . I wouldn’t expect less)
There are the guys who think it’s all about them. If I were being paid to race, it would be different. But geez, this is local amateur weekend warrior stuff. I was president of team in Texas back in the late 90’s. We welcomed all interested in joining, regardless of their ability or cycling goal. I was contacted by more than a few people who didn’t ask “how can I help” or “what can I do for you team” . When we received a substantial monetary sponsorship, it was “ what can your team do for me”
I was surfing the cycling blogs this morning and found this at The Road Bike:
The moral of this story is that cyclists are, alot of times, nothing more than jerks. If you encounter a jerk, politely call them out, and move on. Don’t hang out with them. Don’t continue to ride with them. If you join a local club that turns out to be full of snobs that claim there is only one way to do things…quit the club and start your own. Get out and ride. There is most definitely a “correct” way of doing things in cycling, but if it comes down to it, the most important thing is riding.
So, Clint from Portland, if you are new to cycling, and you are wondering if you will fit in…the answer is no. But, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you are part of cycling. We want you to be part of us. Ask my friend Billy that rides an early 1980’s Schwinn Le Tour. We still let him ride with us because the most important thing is that he rides. (By the way, Billy easily out-rides me on his 50lb LeTour)
Just get out and ride. Forget all that hierarchy stuff in cycling. Forget the snobs. You are welcome on a ride with me any day
So what it it about racing that breeds selfishness? Are we just a sport populated by well-to-do mostly spoiled kids? I have meet a number of fast racers in my years of racing. And I have met many amazing, interesting, humble riders
And there is their pretentiousness of some upper-tier cyclists. They need to forget their self worth, or how expensive bikes they ride are. Their wattage, their bikes, and their results, matter but likely do not define your existence and surely do not justify their conceit.
I have a treasure chest of examples of cyclists whose selfishness makes me cringe. My family once hosted a few guys from Columbia University who ate our food, dirtied our sheets and towels, pissed on the side of my house, and forgot to say any kind of thanks after it all. I have hosted bratty (but oh so promising!) junior riders who cared too much about their cycling development to share gratitude for the free housing and personal inconveniences. I have raced the collegiate scene for six years, during which I’ve seen many A riders who are just too fast to get up early and cheer for their slower teammates. I raced for four years with a guy named Andrew who never once asked me how my race went. Andrew had thousands of dollars worth of carbon TT equipment and all the cycling entitlement in the world. He also had a team who couldn’t give a shit if his threshold improved by four watts or if he won the race.
I am continually amused at the number of semi-pros, elite amateurs, and self-professed awesome riders who maintain blog shrines to themselves. These blogs can be identified by tables of personal wattage conquests, self-centered race/training babbling, and the distinct feeling that nobody is reading them. To be clear, I’m not against setting personal goals, tracking progress, and sharing training thoughts with the world. I am against boring posts, inflated egos, and the thinking that going fast somehow qualifies one to be a pompous ass.
I love cycling and am anything but bitter about the people with whom I share the activity. Yet there persists an ugly hubris amongst its upper ranks. These people forget that fitness is frail and a privilege. They have forgotten, or never experienced, what it is like to get dropped from every race one enters. They operate under the disillusion that the world watches their threshold power progress with bated breath. Their passion for the sport is wed to a desire to accumulate gear and count kilo Joules.
Am I glad I’m back? You bet! Despite the fact that attitudes and ego still exists. And always will.