How to Lose a Bike Race, by Heidi Swift.
Perfect antidote to the “cyclocross is fun, don’t take it too seriously, let’s all dress up in costumes. Every. Single. Race.” mantra. Not taking it seriously has become a form of taking it too seriously.
Of course, this fall alone we’ve got the other end of the spectrum too: bike-tossing, fight-picking, Dugasts glued on carbon wheels in the C race, masters racers using EPO.
What I love about Swift’s post is the reminder that it’s ok — and maybe even cool — to really want to win. That it’s cool to try hard and work to go faster. That you don’t have to have to wear an ironic disclaimer (“It’s ok I was mid-pack, I was just out there to show off my fabulous drag queen outfit”) as insurance against facing up to the fact that you didn’t win.
(Confession: Outside of Halloween weekend, if you wear a costume or outlandish knee-high socks in the same race as me, I will give myself an aneurysm trying to beat you.)
And at the same time, you can race hard, focus on winning, bury yourself to try to grab the brass ring — then come up short and still be a normal human being.
‘Cross can — and should — avoid becoming either a sideshow or a grim, joyless parade of snobbery and angry masters racers. We can have our beer tents, heckling, and cupcake feeds and still race with an unironic, all-out desire to win.