Thursday, June 12, 2014

It's not you, it's me (an open letter to Strava)

Dear Strava,

Let me say that before I met you, I had heard about you from our friends, and I wanted to meet you. You seemed too good to be true and I had to find out for myself. Everything I had heard made me excited to get to know you. When we met it was magical. Love at first sight. You were good for me. You encouraged me to ride my bike. After a ride you would brag to everyone and you made me feel like a king. I was a King I was King of your Mountains. The sex was amazing. My friends and people I didn't know were giving me kudos. I was on top of the world. You put me on top of leaderboards with people I knew and total strangers. We were a team, I was your champion and you my cheerleader.

Then you started to withhold things from me, and wanted me to pay for "it". This should have been a red flag, but I was so into you, and you were great for me. Then you started talking about other guys and how good they were. This was rough at first but it motivated me to do better to be better for you to win for you. Then you started telling me that other guys were your King, and this truly hurt me to the core, but I found motivation out of it and worked harder. This is where it all went wrong. It's not you, I got weird, I started acting different. I would go for a nice ride and I would only think about you and what you would think and all of the other guys in your life. It made me angry it turned me into a Strav-A-hole.

My darkest days were in the saddle riding with the taste of blood in my mouth -just to prove my love to you. I had enslaved myself to your opinion of me and of the others. I no longer rode my bike for me. I had you in the back of my mind telling me that someone was better and they were your King, not me. I was crushed and I rode with a black heart, my passion was no longer pure. Rage flowed through my veins and clouded my peace and serenity. The love was gone. I became a monster, a slave, an idiot to an ideal that I could not achieve.

We had some great times, some crazy times, and I do love you, but I am not me. Not the me that I need to be. I wish I was a stronger person and could handle your lifestyle, but I am not, and I do not like the person I have become when I was with you. I have to leave you so that I can re-find myself.

With love,

P.S. I have all your stuff in a box, just text me when you can come pick it up, and can I have my key back?

Monday, June 9, 2014

Here is what you should think

Now that we are on the subject of opinions, let me give you yours. Seriously, media (especially marketing) is the Devil. He wants your soul, I mean money, he does it with glossy ads in mags, videos on Youtube, and "PROs" who have already sold their soul to the highest bidder (paycheck). He tells you what to think, what to buy, what to ride, and then you become part of the zombie squads with no thought given. Don't get me wrong marketing is a great means for us consumers to gain knowledge in the form of information, but one has to realize that the information that the Devil gives is always great. Nothing is ever Substandard, Partially, or Marginal. It is always Improved, the Best, Better, Newer, Faster, Lighter, Stronger, but most importantly Newer and ready for you to buy.

Sorry but that was my segue into my actual thought about innovation and technology. I am constantly arguing with co-workers and other cyclists about innovation and technology. First, no matter what side of the fence one is on, there will always be progression in the sport of Cycling. Cycling as a sport is race driven, as long as people saddle up and try to go faster than the next guy, this will happen. It is inevitable don't fight it. I am all for the technological progression of Cycling, but in the same sentence I must state that I also love the history and the beauty of the bicycle.

This is the paradox that I live. I am thrilled to see exotic materials and bikes that look like Star Trek props, but I also dig sexy lugged steel frames welded by someone my Dad's age. So where does one draw the line? How can one maintain heritage but embrace the electronic age of robots making gear selections inside my rear derailleur? Oh so torn. When Tullio Campagnolo invented the derailleur did cyclist at the time scoff his newfangled tech, or did they welcome it with open arms and applaud the ability to change gears without removing the rear wheel?

I am not a fan of electronic shifting, but it is technology, it is the future: and it is, to be honest, really cool. So, do I like it? I don't know. Do I need a 2x11? NO. Do I want a 2x11, sure. But, only if I don't have to buy a new freehub body, and well a whole new grouppo. Well, I guess for now I am stuck in the 2x10 world. Poor me. And yes, I know that 9spd is enough just as 8 was enough. We as humans will always want bigger better, faster stronger. As I type this I can't help but think about "gear heads" and how they have their classic cars. We as cyclists are no different, we may ride the fuel injected computer controlled showroom floor beauty but we lust after the fire breathing supercharged classic muscle from years past.

Ignorance and opinions are like

Crazy uncles, everybody has one, but that doesn't mean that you should always talk about him.  He's crazy and he is an @s$.  Seriously, Cycling is full of Crazy Uncles. Everyone has an opinion about everything. If it has a brand name, color, a size, design, materiel then someone/everyone has something to say about it. Right or Wrong, intelligent or otherwise, everyone is their own self-appointed expert and they want to tell everyone what they know. "Don't use product X, it is dumb, because I am the King of products and I deem it as such."

Can of worms each of which opens another can chock full of other worms that have their own can of worms. Wheel size, in the mountain biking world, can illicit long conversations/arguments that will end up with name calling, hair pulling, crying, and a whole lot of duchebaggery. If you are looking for a good fist fight -try it. Just make sure to stick to your guns and don't listen to anything that the other opinionated has to say, 'cause they will not be listening to what you have to say. You want to know what I think about wheel size... Yeah I bet you do. I'm all for wheels having size, I'm all for people having a choice as to which size of wheel, frame, tire, saddle, handlebar, etc... Choice is good, as long as you make it for yourself and it is an educated choice based on knowledge, not on the Crazy Uncle whispering dirty jokes into your ear. Size does matter. You have to be the Goldilocks of wheels when it comes down to "what size?" is right for you. What works for me will not always work for you, and what works for you will not always work for me. This bed is too soft.

I've got a whole musette bag full of opinions, but I also have ears, and I listen. I like to think of myself as a Student of Cycling. I don't know everything, but I am learning, as should everyone. Sometimes one should shut their mouth and open ones ears so that one can hear and possibly learn. An open mind will expand knowledge better than one that is closed.  More to come... I hope.