Does anyone besides me remember the Tour de Louisiana from 1984? There was a 5-mile TT, a 60-mile RR, and a crit in Baton Rouge. It rained like a bastard the last day and we all slid out over and over in the crit, picked up our bikes, and kept on riding. I did it with teammates Jimbo Martin and Kevin Callaway the Good.
What I remember more than the racing and the nasty hotel with the wet spots on the sheets was this dude in the road race. He was about twenty, long black hair, and stuffed chock-full of rage. From the moment the road race started until we dropped him with about twenty miles to go he did nothing but yell, shove, threaten, and curse.
“Get out of my way, you dick!” and “Move over you asshole!” and “Watch what the fuck you’re doing, cuntface!” and more, many more, each oath emphasized with a threat about how if you didn’t like it then get off your fucking bike right there and he would whip your fucking ass. “Get off your bike now !” he was heard shrieking when the final acceleration came that dropped him for good.
This was the first time I’d heard so many threats of physical violence in a bike race, as if the violence of falling off your bicycle and breaking your head wasn’t enough, but it sure wasn’t the last. Over the years I’ve seen so many angry, underwear-clad Little Lord Fauntleroys get into raging whup-ass-talking-contests that it hardly even gets my attention anymore.
Of course the best is when the pixie-armed combatants are old fellows, promising to rain death and destruction with their mighty fists on the object of their contumely. Leaky prostate slap fighting is high comedy of the highest sort.
Still, a few weeks ago I heard some youngsters threatening to murder one another with their fists so I thought I would repeat some words of wisdom for those riders out there, decrepit and sprightly alike, who think that because the are Sprint Beasts or Climbing Machines or TT Assassins that they are tough guys.
- Bicyclists are not tough guys, especially when they are wearing colorful underwear to highlight their shaved legs.
- Tough guys make their way in the world with their fists, not with heart rate monitors and glucose replacement drinks.
- Cage fighters, bare-knuckled boxers, knife fighters, and people who kill other equally armed people in hand-to-hand combat are tough guys, especially when they finish the job with a bayonet. Everyone else is not a tough guy.
- Cycling is a tough sport but that doesn’t make you a tough guy (see exhaustive list above), in the same way that using a hi-tech cell phone doesn’t make you a hi-tech person.
- Cycling isn’t nearly as tough as marathoning, RAAM-ing, free climbing, or ultra-off road running. But those people aren’t tough guys either.
- Even if you get off your bike and “settle it right fucking now, like men” you are still not a tough guy. You are wearing cleats on the bottom of dancing shoes that are often painted bright red or hi-viz yellow. This means you are as tough as Fred Astaire, only not nearly so because he could carry a woman over his head and danced professionally until he was almost 90, whereas you can’t even help your wife with the trunk-full of groceries and the last time you had to dance at a wedding you crushed her big toe so badly that she walked with a limp for a month.
- The toughest guy in the peloton wouldn’t last a half-second in a fight with anyone who fights for a living or even as a serious hobby. You would get the shit beaten out of you like this guy did, minus the cheering crowd and the backflips.
- Even if you go to the mat, beating up another praying mantis in a skinsuit doesn’t make you a tough guy, it makes you a bug-squasher.
- Look at your arms. Now shut up.
- If you like to settle arguments with fisticuffs, why are you bicycling in your undies? Has no one explained to you that the winner is the one who rides the fastest?
- Nowadays everyone has a video camera, and you’re about to become a YouTube sensation for all the wrong reasons. END
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