Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Couple (Elitist) Observations

First, I want to say that I am a bike snob. (Hi. My name is Big E and I'm a bike snob. Hi Big E!) And in being a bike snob there are certain rules that I hold myself up to. And I tend to judge other's by these rules.  It's not to say that this judgement completely encompasses my view on someone. But I must admit that it is a large factor in the process.

I also want to say that the stuff that I'm about ready to say is strictly in the context of bicycle racing.  All the event riders, group riders, commuters, MTB and everyone else can pay attention. But in my mind at least, these rules don't always apply to those other areas. So that being said. Here we go...

When I rolled up to the start line I noticed a plethora (Didn't know I knew so many big words did you?) of cycling faux pas.

Would you say I have a plethora?

Hair legs: I not talking a little stubble because they haven't shaved in a while. I"m talking full blown fur. Now I'm a hair guy (I mean Sasquatch kinda hairy.). But I still shave for racing. Why? Glad you asked!

1. If you get into a wreck you can actually clean the wound. Ever had an open piece of road rash that's all nice and oozy that has hair matted in it? No fun. So shave. You don't have to make it a big deal about it. But just do it.

2. It makes massage a whole lot more pleasant. But I don't get massages, you say. Well you should. If you don't go to a professional massage therapist like Connie at  Emerging Massage (She's wonderful by the way.) Then you should be giving yourself self massage at home. It will make your legs happy. And happy legs are fast legs.

3. You become part of the tribe. And regardless of what you say. Everyone wants in on this one.

4. It looks good. Theres nothing cooler than a clean pair of muscular shaved legs with an awesome cyclist's tan.

Saddle bags still on their bikes. Really!? Is this a randonneur (Not that theres anything wrong with that.) event!? No. So leave the saddle bag at home. No one wants to see your dangly bag bouncing around in the breeze. If you get a flat there are usually neutral wheels. And if there aren't any of those (And you don't have your own pit wheels.) left. Then that's the breaks of racing and you hitch a ride back to the start.

A clean bike.  I know maybe I'm being picky. But race day is a special day. It's the day you train for for the rest of the week. Treat it like a date. And what's one of the fundamental things we do when we go out on a special date? We wash our car. So do the same for you bike.

It also gives you a chance to look the bike over. To make sure there aren't any repairs or problems that need to get fixed before the race.

Personal hygiene is also very important. I've had several races where there is someone in there that either hasn't bathed in a really long time or hasn't washed their kit (Ewwww!) in a really long time. No one else in the group wants to smell your B.O. dude. So wash up and put some pit stick on for God's sake. Sheesh.

There is also a little subset of this group that have the chainring tattoo (Grease mark on your leg.) from not paying attention while your mounting/ dismounting your ride. This could be avoided by following the washed bike rule. But if in the event that you do get a mark, wipe it off. It's not that hard and not to be mean. But, it makes you look like a Fred (A neon jacket, rear view mirror, huge saddle bag, very large gutted newbie. I was one of these guys at one point too. Well, minus the rear view mirror...).

And lastly...

Fenders.  I can't believe I actually saw a guy racing (I don't believe he was in our category to be fair.) with full fenders on his bike.

 Please don't get me wrong. I'm pro-fenders. In fact I'm one of those guys on a group ride in the rain that complains when people don't have full fenders with a "buddy flap" (An extra mud guard on the end of the rear fender to keep road spray out of the face of the person behind you.). But they have no business being on a race bike during a race.  All that says to me is that they are to lazy to take them off. Very un-PRO in my opinion.

I know all this may sound a little mean. And maybe in some ways it is. But someone has to give the tough love speech.  And I guess today it gets to be me.

I would also like to say that one or two of these things I have been guilty of in the past. So I'm not saying I was above it. But I lived and learned. And now it's these guy's turn to do the same.

Rubber side down,

Big E

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