Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Cyclocross turns you into a D&^%!

Forget excited happy cheering faces as you lap your way through some manmade obstacle nightmare frought with ruts, potholes, walnuts and natural log crossings! Forget about people smiling and wishing you well telling you how good you look or reminding you that you can make it across the finish. Those fans are rare and for the most part…DO NOT EXIST! Cyclocross racing is about being a real a$$ (insert other derogatory body part here) to all your friends (the term "friend" is subjective meaning they may be real friends or only weird stalker types you have accepted a request from on Facebook). Even if you are in first place with a 20-second gap on the nearest contender…you will likely hear something to the effect of “STOP SUCKING!” or “You are going to get lapped!” as you try to maintain your lead. This robust and barbaric activity is not limited to the fans…it is accepted as part of the cyclocross culture on and off the race course.

Smack talking starts with the sound of the whistle

Not actual commentary but somewhat close...  
If I had to trace the origins of such banter, I would say it was a bunch of Vikings. Basically when I think of anything barbaric....I think of Vikings so that's how I relate the two. Who else but a group of bearded burly men hell bent on proving their manhood could only have conjured up the carnage, pain, and dire stress one voluntarily puts their body through called cyclocross. Okay, the Vikings had absolutely NOTHING to do with cyclocross but you have to admit, it would be really bad a$$ if they did.

The cyclocross scene is a menagerie of odd personality types from the happy go lucky family guy with wife, 2-3 super cute kids in tow, and a dog wagging his/ her tail to the hardcore biker guy who drove over 4 hours to race and hour and will probably sleep in his car before hitting the road back home to eat a can of Spaghetti O's he has had in his trunk for a week. He will not smile or talk to anyone because he must affirm his seriousness of the sport and general “bad-assness.” Either way….when the race is on, smack talking slicks up the ruts and tight turns much faster than any rain storm. I know what you are thinking…”what about the women? Do they do that too?”The answer is YES…yes, the women are JUST as rude to each other.

I'm pretty sure this was the EXACT thought going through my head at that moment
The docile sweet creature known as “woman” is generally thought of as nurturing, caring and incapable of being mean. NOTHING could be further from the truth on the cyclocross course where shouts, spitting, and name-calling start from the first pedal stroke after the whistle. That “idealistic” view of women that we are helpful creatures is nothing but bologna on a course where at any minute you will crash, fall or wreck your body into a tree. Even when a fellow rider falls and you see her slap her head against the ground (it bounced), you keep going and hope to not be tangled in the mess of legs, hair, and bike parts.

So this means during a race, every side is yelling obscenities, insults, and preying on all of a riders weaknesses. As if the embarrassment of a skin suit weren’t enough to show off ANY bodily flaw…try having someone suggest they have to adjust their shutter speed because you are going too slow. Try having someone within inches of your face say “you might want to start pedaling today so we can get home before dark"...When racing I have found it is best to laugh briefly and NOT engage in any further chatting as that will destroy your breathing. You will get your turn when you get on the other side of the tape.

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