An Equal Opportunity Offender


Friday, March 2, 2012

The dichotomy of, oh fuck you! I'm making fun of racers.

The fact that ScRAM and SRM are both pursuing this market goes to show that there really are only two types of riders. And no the two divisions don't have to deal with mountain or road or CX or XC or pickles. Racers are divided by how they react to the world around them. There are those that are so uptight they have to use a heartrate monitor during the morning dump to ensure they stay under threshold and those who are blatantly unaware of the mechanical side of their sport.

Racer type #1 manifests himself to the service side of the industry about six weeks before any event that he will be participating. A properly scheduled appointment is made. They show up hand over the bike with that ever annoying, "whatever it needs," comment. (This comment is annoying because it really says absolutely nothing, are you really gonna be happy if I completely replace your drivetrain without first consulting you? Didn't think so.) However, they usually do mean whatever it needs. They understand that their bike should not limit their performance and therefore are willing to do what it takes to make sure it is in perfect working order. They will also schedule a second appointment to bring the bike back in the week before the event just for a check over to make sure nothing has settled. 

Anal Racer is not willing to leave anything to fate or chance. Any type of measurement device they can buy will be purchased and used. Data will be analyzed to a level that makes NASA look like amateur scientists.
They will spend $3500 on a power meter with the hopes of moving up two places in the CAT 5 local road race.

Racer type #2 is the guy/gal who loves to ride. They may be new to the sport or old timers who have been racing for 34.2 years, regardless it is the pedaling that gets them going. Nothing else matters other than spinning the cranks. Do they care that there drivetrain is precariously close to complete failure? Absolutely not, nor do they have any concept of what that means for their race. I've seen this type of rider show up for 500 mile road races and are planning to race solo with a bike that hasn't seen more than just chain lube in the past 20 years. And no joke, they will probably be riding a Softride.

Clueless Racer will show up, without fail about 16 hours before their event. Oblivious to the fact that there are another 1500 riders in the area doing the same event and they all want their bikes tuned up as well. They really just want you to check it over because everything is working well. By working well they of course mean that when they push down on the pedals the bike goes forward because that is all that matters. Not only have they put the tech in a bind because they waited to the last minute, but they really don't want anything done. Mention the worn out drivetrain, the cable with radials protruding out the side, the lack of brake pads and the creaking coming from the headset, to this type of racer those are trivial matters that they will deal with when their home mechanic friend has some time to fuck over their bike a little more.

This is my experience. Some of you may be tempted to point out that this dichotomy is too vast and that their are myriad types of racers in between. I must reply, that is nonsense. These are the only two types I have ever come in contact with. Any racer that fits outside these two types isn't really racing, they're just riding their bikes for fun. 


  1. They seem to be able to get away with riding a bike that has many components that could easily fail and cause death, but if you ignored that condition on your own bike, it would kill you. So either a) ignorance is bliss or b) my jinx will transfer to them (Murphy's law subsection 5R) if I mention the problem. I told a guy not to brag about riding without a helmet, but it was too late. He crashed that night. Limped in the store the next day, bought a helmet and asked if I had a doll with a pin in it in the back room (voodoo? don't need it).

  2. The solution? Easy, Don't race. No worries, no problems, no wins and no losses either. And it's fun without the pressure.