It’s true. As a lowly Cat 2 rider, I wish I knew what it means to be a real racer—to be one of the boys, to go hard in the paint, to be The Boss. (If you need a clue, just check out all the emails you were bcc’d on. Oops, whatever happened to privacy?)
I want to know that feeling of setting up a lead-out train on a group ride of fellow Cat 4/5 wankers. I want to win that sprint and brag about it all night. Group rides aren’t about training, they’re all about the final kick.
I want to be varsity. I want the exotties to fawn over me as I do my hill repeats at the boat launch. I want them to know I race and ride in all conditions—so long as it’s above 70, sunny and without wind.
I’m a real man, a hard man. I suck it up and eat at McDonalds on the road, and I never complain. Heck, I can stomach Panera if I have to. I can even deal with Qudoba, occasionally.
I’m the real deal, and my Zipps prove it. Nothing shows a man’s worth like the cost of his bike. Because when I get dropped by a girl, it just makes me feel that much better. Ah, overpriced carbon and the sound of deep dish wheels on a North Shore training ride.
I’m going to win DII nationals, and I want you to know it. However many laps I need to sit out of the road race, and however many officials I need to yell at to make it happen, it’s going down. (So long as I can find a team to race on.)
I’m a strong man, and talking behind your back proves it. There’s nothing like complaining to a bunch of juniors and calling you a bitch behind your back. It makes me feel like a real, strong man. Like I can stand up right to your face and tell you exactly what I think.
I’m a good racer, and I know how to listen to my powermeter. When I go above threshold, I know it’s time to pull myself out of the break. Winning the sprint for 20th place is what counts.
I’m a team leader, and I know what it takes. I’ve been to every race weekend and have always put myself last. (Except for that time on spring break when I led a ride that was too hard for some people. I guess the repeated warnings about its length and difficulty weren’t enough.)
And finally, I’m a good guy. I’ve got my friend’s backs. I let them train in my house on my velodynes, I shoot them training plans, let them cry on my shoulder and carry their secrets. Whenever someone crosses the line, I’m there to cheer for them. Always.
If you’re still reading this (and I pray to God you’re not), I’ve got a confession to make: I’ve never set up a lead-out train on a group ride, I’m neither varsity nor a real man, I’m never going to win nationals, I race like shit and I’m no longer (after this post, at least) a team leader or a good guy.
But frankly, I couldn’t be prouder of myself. Because it’s not about how fast you ride, or how expensive your pedals are. Hell, it’s not even about how much you brag, what your FTP is or how much you pay your high-dollar coach.
Cycling is about love of friends, family and sport. And it’s about competing at your best with humility and respect. It's about fun.
Sadly, these values are out of vogue. Something has happened, and the wankers now control the kitchen. And I’m left here with my Baker Boys cupcake asking, where have all the Pro Wankers gone?