Tirreno-Adritico Stage 6, 2013. When Sport Becomes "Entertainment"
There has been a lot of stuff going on around here as of late. From the Mountain Bike U.S. Cup round at Bonelli Park, to the San Dimas Stage Race next weekend, to the usual amount of road shenanigans and hazards to endure while on my regular rides, to some equipment testing. Heck, even Milan-SanRemo had issues and was shortened in length due to weather.
First the Shenanigans. While neglected street surfaces continue to lead the rankings in the Road Hazards Department, the Health Hazards Department is still headed by “Gardeners” with leaf blowers. Smoke and drink all you want folks, heck, you can even play Russian Roulette with greater safety than inhaling the contaminated air these leaf blowers foster. The airborne particulates we now breathe are what’s going to kill us all, not Second-Hand Smoke, Smog or “Climate Change.”
On the equipment front, I got out on my recently rebuilt by Zipp rear SRAM S40, and thus far she is straight and true. I was also reminded why I like my SRAM OG-1090 11-28, even if it is nosier than my SRAM PG-1050 11-32 (which is on my Mavic Ksyruim’s), but it is all smooth, forward motion, with just the right gear ratios for me to get the best workout I can. I also have recently been provided a 2013 SRAM Red rear derailleur, courtesy of Tweaked Sports of Glendora, California. As soon as I get my hands on the crankset, front yaw derailleur, and shifters, I will give an in-depth review of how they perform on a Trek 2.3 which came standard with a Shimano 105 gruppo.
In the Personal Improvement Department, I have located some climbs in my local area that range from 12% to 18%, and I have begun a regular regimen of tackling them to get back the climbing legs I lost over the winter. Climbing them is indeed physically challenging, but even tougher still is the mental aspect screaming out “It is too tough. Go home and drink a beer!” Get past the mental part, and it is just a hill, I say.
As for the days “Professional Racing” news (Remember, Pro’s are nothing more than people paid to do what pretty much everyone else does for free – Cheat), Milan-San Remo went down today, and down it did indeed go. In the never-ending search for ever more difficult routes, the organizers scheduled big climbs over passes susceptible to terrible weather, and the race had to be cut short with a boring race resulting. And, this is on the heels of the disastrous Stage 6 of Tirreno-Adriatico and its wet, dangerous 27% climbs, necessitating “Paperboying,” walking the bike, and flat-out abandonment by a large number of participants. Not good.
So, why my skepticism of racing these days? Well, racing has gone from being a sport worth appreciating to a spectacle designed to entertain the casual observer. This was done in the lame attempt to attract more viewers. The downside of this flawed way of thinking is that you chase away the core of the sport – The Purists. The Purist is someone whom enjoys cycling for what it is, not for what it can me molded into purely for entertainment purposes.
So, to those whom seek the spectacle, I say this: If you want sports, play it. If you want entertainment, go play with yourself.