*to Hanlon's razor: Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Your validation? %$#@ that.

There's a reason I have a picture of the most absurd 'dentist bike' I could find: I'll never ride one.  I don't race, so I buy comfortable bikes.  There is no carbon, nor aluminum, in my shed.

I rode with a couple of 'racers' last weekend, who were on bikes not quite as silly as this, none of which looked comfortable at all, and I had to wonder why.  I am not a true 'retrogrouch'.  I don't have a beard, buy from Rivendell, or search ebay for fifty-year old constructeur bikes.  I do not prefer 'Campy' over Shimano without scientific evidence, and quite like modern components.  I'll even admit that asinine bikes are faster for elite cyclists in specific circumstances.  Yet I do read the 'Rivendell Reader', and would buy a subscription to 'Bicycle Quarterly' if it were cheaper.

There's a place for carbon and aluminum, but not so many places as they are filling.  Short of ponying-up for titanium, steel is the best material for commuting, to be comfortable in brevets and randonnees, training rides, and I would say citizen racing too.  The fact is that a negligible number of the dudes on a 'dentist bike' are getting anything but bragging rights from it.  For less money they could get a really nice steel framed bike with dura-ace and wicked wheels (rotating mass matters much more than static mass), be as fast and more comfortable, and look cooler to boot.  If they need more cachet, have one hand built.

However, being a citizen 'racer' has nothing to do with common sense, or enjoyment that I understand.  Training regimens, heart rate zones, GM modified goo and some moderate doping?  %$#@ that.  Get out and ride a lot.  Want 'interval training'?  Commute in traffic on a fixed gear.  That is where I differ from the guys on the 'dentist bike': I don't give a $#!+ to measure myself against your performance, or against your opinion of me.  You're not on 'le Tour', and it's too late to dream.  Not that competitiveness is all bad, but it is usually a need for external-validation that has lingered too long after adolescence.  Fine, not all racers are motivated that way, but enough of them are to turn me off.  You don't get power over people by beating them, as someone else will beat you, but by not giving a %$#@.

This is why I am going to run a marathon, but 'forget' what time I got.  It will drive the 'A-types' nuts when I blithely refuse to enter their pissing match.  It's also why I like the idea of randonneuring: finish the distance within a certain time limit.  The end.

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