Friday, February 19, 2010

On modesty, Part 1: Fitness

Ok, cycling is a group sport and we all want to be accepted, if not admired by our peers.  We look up to professional cyclists because they are ridiculously strong, and we recognize that their ability to suffer and their physical fitness are way above ours.  We also would like some of that admiration to be given to us, because we suffer too.  Like the Lemond quote about it never hurting less...  although I feel like Jens has felt more pain than any of us ever have or ever will, and he just keeps on destroying.

But I digress; nobody is going to admire your efforts unless they know about them, so it becomes necessary to inform your peers of your achievements so that they can tell you how cool you are.  Nobody appreciates boasting however, so it becomes tricky business getting your awesomeness across without being a dick.  Above all, don't be a dick.

Really, you should let your riding speak for itself.  If you do well in a race, news will get around.  If you do well in a race that nobody knew about, then bragging about it is just going to get you ridiculed.  We admire strength and suffering, not the will to show up and fork over $25 when nobody else did.

If you can't do well in races, then your next best chance for ego stroking is group rides.  The key to these is to do the best you can but only expect people to care on the day of the ride.  This week, nobody cares if you won the group ride sprint last week.  So if you win it this week, soak it up.

Don't tell us all how you dropped a known stronger rider.  There is a reason they are stronger than you.   Bragging about it makes you look desperate.  Nobody cares if you put in "big miles" on the trainer this week or did intervals so hard that you puked.  First off, we don't believe you, and secondly, plenty of people faster than you found some way to get fast without puking, so you should too.

If you can't shine in group rides or races, you really should just not be a dick.  Not being a dick can go a long way, and most of us would rather ride with a nice guy than a slightly faster guy who can't shut up about how fast he is.   This goes for girls too, if not especially.

Really, the keys to the clubhouse just come from being safe on the bike, and being cool.  "Being cool" involves congratulating other riders' achievements.  A lot of these rules can be broken without ill consequences if you're just an otherwise nice person.   Be safe, train hard, ride well, and be cool, and we'll all want to be friends with you.

Next post is about how to get recognition without fitness:  buy cool shit!

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