No need to sugar-coat it: bike racers can be whiners.
I know this, because I’ve done my own share of whining. The race was too hard, too easy, too negative, not enough prize money, stupid officials, etc. etc. etc.
Some triathletes at least have a sense of humor about it. On the Slowtwitch forum there is a standing thread with the title: “Cry like a little biatch here”.
At times we take ourselves so seriously, forgetting, I think, that ultimately we’re indulging ourselves in a hobby. I’m reminded of the incident at Superweek a couple years ago, when a bunch of 40-plus racers decided to “protest” the late start of a race by sitting on the line and not starting.
What bothered me about that incident was how it was directed — unfairly I thought — at the race promoter. It’s easy to forget that promoters don’t *have* to put on races. Any money they might make is more than offset by the amount of work and aggravation. If not for the race promoters we’d all be racing each other for city limit sprints.
Bike racing has this curious custom of paying out prize money to most all categories of even amateur racers. Non-racers usually seem surprised when I tell them this. “Isn’t that just for professionals?”, they ask.
I think this custom — while raising the competitive stakes — has an unfortunate side effect of making amateurs act as, and want to be treated as, professionals. Which doesn’t mean that we always conduct ourselves in a professional manner.
I was always impressed with how my teammate Tris would go out of his way after a race to thank the race promoter and officials. Regardless of whether he got a good result or not. I’m thinking that we all need to try to do that. Then maybe next year, when the promoter is wondering whether all that work was worth it, he or she will remember that time when a racer said ‘thanks’ for putting on the race.
The race officials shouldn’t be left off the list of those deserving thanks. I’m sure most of them can find other (less aggravating) things to do with their weekends. Though I have to admit, during the Tour of the Valley road race at one point I was thinking I’d rather be an official on the moto than on a bike climbing those ******* hills.