My wife was looking around the parking lot before the state time trial championship.
“This is really interesting”, she said.
She hadn’t been to a time trial before. The time trial is cycling’s version of an arms race: high zoot bike frames, carbon everything, disc wheels, pointy aero helmets. But she wasn’t talking about that.
“All these skinny guys in one place. You all kinda look the same.”
When you’re around it all the time, you don’t really notice. But looking around, even the biggest guys were in the skinny range when compared to the average super-sized American.
A week later, I was sitting in a restaurant in Louisville during Nationals. When you are eating out alone, you have to find something to occupy yourself while anticipating the food that you will soon worf down. (This particular restaurant, Primo, was excellent, BTW). So I was alternating between watching people walking down Market Street, and eavesdropping.
I saw a couple coming down the street. I knew, right away, this guy was in town for the ‘skinny guy convention’ (Nationals). He was dressed normally, but he had that bike racer look: lean. They came into the restaurant and took the table next to mine. I heard him talking on his cell phone to a teammate.
“Yeah, I rode the course today. It’s a lot of up and down. I’m going to use the 303’s instead of the 404’s. I figure it’s better to go lighter than aero.”
I was the only other person in the restaurant who had a clue what he was talking about.
The remainder of the week, it was pretty easy to spot the skinny guys. Guy sitting in the coffee shop with an omelet and espresso: bike racer. Guy at gas station buying microwave sausage muffin and $20 in lotto tickets: not a bike racer.