Is it Stupid?

I first went to Superweek in 2000.

“Oh, you mean Stupid-week”, someone said to me.

“Yeah”, I laughed, like I knew what he was talking about. Really I was thinking, “if it’s so stupid, why would you go?”

I told some people at work I would be taking vacation. When told that I was going to be racing each day for a week, they looked at me as if to say, “that sounds really stupid”. OK, maybe that does begin to explain it.

Take 100 guys, put them on a different criterium course each day, in the middle of summer, and dangle some money in front of them. It’s bound to result in insanely fast races, aggressive riding, crashes, tempers, and a dose of stupidity.

In other words, it’s some damn fine bike racing.

You’d think that after racing a few days in a row, your legs would be shot. But for reasons I’m not completely sure of, mine never are. After a few days, you seem to get used to that feeling. And it helps that all you do is race, rest, eat, sleep, maybe catch a movie, then do it all again the next day. The perfect vacation.

I have loved every trip I’ve taken to Superweek. There is nowhere else in the U.S. where every category of racer can race for 2 weeks straight. For Masters, outside of Nationals this is some of the best competition you will find. Most of us are used to racing against the same faces week after week. It’s refreshing to race against not just different guys, but different really fast guys. Guys who have come from California, Florida, and Texas — and not just because Wisconsin has good bratwurst.

What’s really cool about the Masters races is that after a while you get to know and recognize these guys who come from all over. I might see a guy at an out-of-state race, or at Nationals, or when I go back to Wisconsin again next year. There’s good, hard racing — maybe some tempers flare, and words get exchanged, but there’s also a general camaraderie amongst the racers.

At the end, guys shake hands, say it was great racing with you, and we’ll see you again next year.

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “Is it Stupid?

  1. ds

    No, it’s not stupid, because it’s what you love doing. Had you told your co-workers you were golfing for a week, or gorging yourself with food at some island cruise (both of which are fine activities, mind you), it would have been “ok.”

    I find myself feeling sheepish and embarassed when explaining to other non-cyclists the fact that I spend hundreds of hours riding and racing each year. I often get that “grow up, would you” look from others. But if I spent that much time at the golf course and/or at happy hour, no one would think twice about it. Weird.

  2. Brian

    I think they look at me thinking, why would you want to put yourself through that suffering every day? 🙂

    I tell them, yeah, but it’s a good kind of suffering.

    They saw me come in to work with road rash a couple weeks ago, and say, “you guys are crazy”. In some sense we are.

    Actually, a lot of them think it’s pretty cool. They ask me about the races. Some of them even go and look on line for results. I think they have to admit, it IS a bit more interesting than spending a week playing golf. (which I would actually like to do sometime … except my clubs are circa 1983. That’s like riding around on a Schwinn LeTour).

  3. Have you ever thought about what you would do with all that time if you stopped riding?

    An easy estimate is roughly 20 hours per week from March through September. And still 10 – 15 hours for the other months. (I’m including prep time, ride time, post-ride cleanup, bike maint, driving to races, etc) That is a LOT of time.

    Great quote that popped up on my iGoogle homepage one day:

    It’s only work if you would rather be doing something else.

    Whenever I’m on my bike, it is never “work”.

  4. Wanted to add …

    I really enjoyed the 7 races in 7 days that we did in ’05 (wow! doesn’t seem like it was that long ago!). I need to get back to StuporWeek.

    Oh, by the way, congratulations on taking a stage win at Super Week – that is impressive. Especially lapping the field in a 2-man break.

  5. Brian

    >> Whenever I’m on my bike, it is never “work”.

    Too bad we can’t get paid for every hour on the bike. I’d even take minimum wage 🙂

    There are some guys who work the amount of time that we ride, ON TOP OF the usual 40 hrs. I’m sure they’ve got more $$ than we do … but is it worth it? I wouldn’t trade all the riding and great races we’ve done over the years.

  6. Brian

    BTW … I got a little ‘call out’ in ‘Druber’s Truesport column, about the Cedarburg race: “… a guy from Ohio won.” At least he called it “America’s mos brutal crit course”. (I imagine that’s a bit of an exaggeration)

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