Thursday, August 30, 2012

Thank you sir, may I have...

The blast furnace that we call Summer is dying down.  This can only mean one thing.  Well actually more than one, but let's face it... I like the dramatic.  Cycling.  You say, "but we haven't stopped cycling".  Exactly.   I'm talking about more cycling, cycling that involves dirt.  It is CX season.  Time to air up the knobbies and head to the parks to run and jump over stuff.  I've been riding the CX bike a lot lately, and I'm loving it.  "If you have the means, I highly recommend you get one."  -That is a Ferris Bueller quote.

I love the mindset that the CX bike puts me in, it's like a search and destroy riding style.  This bike has a mind of it's own.  Hop curbs, cut through lawns, carve knolls, and well whatever you can handle.  Pavement -yes, Dirt -yes, Snow -yes, Rocks -yes, what else you got?  YES!

If you are reading this and have not witnessed Cyclocross or CX then you need to do some googling.  Get to work!  If riding a CX bike is not for you, then maybe you like to drink beer and swear?  Well then, CX spectating is for you.  One of the best things about CX is heckling.  Heckling? You say?  YES, it's crazy fun and totally acceptable.  Motivation through degradation.  Forget all the positive bull crap that people preach, I'm talking about good old trash talk.  The worse the better.  See where I'm going here?  Oh, man is it fun.  Come out sometime and try it, it is good for the soul.  Get all that negative energy out and hurl it at someone or someone(s).  It helps you and it helps the CX racer.  True story.

Let's face it, people who race Cross are not right in the head.  Take a perfectly good road bike and "modify" it to ride it off road -that's what mountain bikes are for, Right?  Now let's find the worst conditions to ride in, add in some sand, barriers, gravel, roots, grass, dirt, mud, and just about anything you can think of -now you have CX.  Heck yeah, people!  They deserve to be verbally ridiculed on a lap by lap basis.  Ah, Cross how we love the.

I can't wait to feel the burn of embro on the skin, cold air piercing my lungs, and frozen appendages.  I long for the feeling of sand turning my bike into a slithering snake.  The feel of rims bottoming out on rocks and roots.  The pure satisfaction of just finishing is sometimes greater than the joy of winning.  (paraphrased from Pete Smith of MadAlchemy)

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The miseducation of thebelllap

I'm going to break radio silence and drop some knowledge.  Open your minds.  Be smart, and use your brains.  People.

Lance.  Just saying that name right now will stir up a debate, maybe a fistfight, or even a verbal abuse session that you would not be proud of in Sunday school.  Love him.  Hate him.  Hate to Love him.  Love to Hate him.  I'm sick of it.  Sick of all the ignorance about cycling and cheating and doping and anything that makes people so stupid.  I know who Greg Le Monde is and what he did, but it did not get me on a bike.  Somehow years later the stars where in-line the planet was just right and this brash fellow Texan beat cancer and then Le Tour.  I got on a bike.  No, not a road bike, but a mountain bike.  I can't fully credit Lance with my cycling addiction, but he did have a part in it.

After my transition to becoming a cyclist, every July I was glued to the internet to see how the cycling world was doing.  Time passed and I learned more and more about cycling.  Lance became less and less the center of my cycling universe.  I learned names like Merckx, Hinault, Indurain, Museeuw, and Copi.  Lance kept on winning and I dug deeper into cycling.  Who knew there were other races other than Le Tour?  Spring Classics?  I fell in love with the Hell of the North.  I wanted to know what was up with the yellow and black flags?  The people dressed in orange?  What's a Tifosi?  The more and more I learned of the cycling world and history, the more it seemed to eclipse the Sun that shone of Lance.

Don't get me wrong, I hold a special place in my cycling universe for Lance, but he is by no means the center.  Did he?  Didn't he?  I don't care.  I don't.  You probably don't know this, but it really does not matter.  What he did Clean or Dirty, is still a part of cycling.  Strip him of his titles, he still stood on top of all those podiums, you can't take that away.  Can we just move on?  Can we let this dead horse lie?

We have the most beautiful sport in the world.  It is a sport that is also a lifestyle.  When was the last time you saw someone run a football to work?  Hit a baseball to the grocery store?  It is such a beautiful thing that people who do not participate have to try and break it down... because of sheer jealousy.  Don't let the masses soil a beautiful thing, don't stoop to their level when they ask about cheating and doping.  Remind them how beautiful our sport can be.  Tell them about cobbles, le alp, the Hoy, about your commute to work, the Saturday morning ride, the guy that lost 80lbs because of a bike.  Tell them.

Tell them why you ride your bike.