Sunday, June 22, 2008

We Might As Well Crash

Johan Bruyneel recently had a book published called We might As Well Win.

Okay, while I envy the Belgian since the day he was born and now the money that he will rake in royalties, I may have a concern too.

Cycling is not all about Team Discovery Channel.

Anyone with me on this? Yeah? Yeah? Can I get some hands here please?

And cycling is also not always about the 'winners'. Wow, if we just concentrate on winning, sport would be terribly boring to watch. Its like cutting off its personality and making it all look the same - winning, winning, winning, podium, wine bottle, go home.

We have so many winners these days, its becoming a drag just watching victory salutes.


I'm so bored with winners that these days, I switch onto cycling channels just to watch who crashed, how and where.

Then, I take a laugh.

Sometimes I rub my teary cheek.

Then I switch off the channel.

End of story.

Good for the guy who won.

Who cares.


No one would ever talk about cycling as being one of the most dangerous sports if we all concentrated on winning. What about the risks involved? Whoever made it did it in some special way, but who didn't make it? What happened?

If cycling didn't have risks, none of us would get the 'kick' and the 'thrill' of both riding ourselves, or watching someone else do it. Its something in us that makes us humans.

Face it, watching people crash is, as much horrifying as it sounds and looks, gives us entertainment. Half our cycling conversation would be cut off if we had nothing to talk about in crashes, injuries, risky corners, tight descents, scorching days, melted tar, long climbs, dehydration and fatigue.

Its like being in an amphitheater watching gladiators maim each other.

Turns out, very little people would be watching gladiators had there been no losers.

Someone's got to be on the receiving end too, right?

Losers makes entertainment.

We like to watch losers.

Here's the one side : Some of us are losers ourselves so hey, it feels good not to be alone. Had there been no losers, we would not enjoy the journey ourselves.

You know that saying, 'Oh, its not all about winning, its the journey that counts?'

Well, our journey was pleasant to us because we had some losers to provide company to the finish line.

Hell yeah.

I definitely for one wouldn't want to be alone in that journey.

I'll take as many prisoners of war! Then, I can sit and talk about the journey as if it was the sweetest thing that ever happened to me.

And here's the other side : Some of us are too strong for anyone out there, that it gives us some deep, dark secret pleasure to watch a person suffering.

If there were no losers, how would you gauge your victory? Your season fitness? Your strength? How on earth would you ever make it a classic day?

Hence, my underlying theory : Losers contribute as much to the pleasant journey for all of us losing cyclists as much as they contribute to the relative pleasure and training goals of winners.


Hence, with the above commentary, I seek to go somewhat along Bruyneel's lines and publish my upcoming "We Might As Well Crash".

Enough of books on winners, history, doping and Lance Armstrong. Terribly boring now, yoohoo.

We need a different book to spice up the shelves.


By the word crash, normal human beings mean falling to bed after a tiring day and just drifting off to wonderland. Its recharge time for many.

Cyclists crash and also fall into bed too.

Except, its in an ambulance before a much needed trip to the hospital.

What are we talking about here?

So, if you didn't crash until now, somethings wrong with you.

You're not a serious cyclist.

C'mon, whats the whole point about shaving those legs?

Go hit the pavement. See how it feels. Take a little nick here and there.

If you're in a comfort zone in cycling, you've too much skin on your body my friend. Thats what Coach Joe Friel missed out on.

So punch a few medical bills. See what you're missing.

Thats what makes cycling cycling.


Experience comes with crashing. With experience, you'll know exactly how to tweak your crashes. See, yes... there are ways to tweak crashes. Believe me.

If you worked your butt off, never made it, and think the podium guys are going to take all the talk of the town, make your point known to all : YOU are IMPORTANT too. How come the Lantern Rouge never gets a jersey around here, huh?

Hence, you may reserve the most brutal crash from your matches for this scenario.

I call it The Selfless Kamikaze. Here's a gift from a martyr to all the boys back in the peleton. I mean, wayyyy back in the peleton.

Then there's the "I Got A Funny Feeling" type of crash. You're shouldering a huge responsibility in the race, everyone thinks you're strong, and you think you are too but obviously this is not one of your good days. You're either bonking bad, legs are itching to be off the saddle or your taint is rebelling.

Best way to forfeit the race?



It takes a man to crash and forfeit the race than simply hopping off the bike, throwing it off into the fields aside, and getting into the team car.

Look at it this way. It makes losing more heroic than simply quitting and walking off. It makes losing look good! It overwhelms a mechanical. It overwhelms any internal problems in your own engine. It puts the limelight back on you, where it belongs. I need my limelight, and I need it NOW!

So obviously, this guy below wasn't man enough. I didn't see him crash. Too bad.

You can make a crash as subtle as it needs to be. This is handy if you have family that depends on you to return home in one piece. This is the Subtle Crash.

You can get creative with this. First, in order to cull speed, you need to let the brake pads touch the rims. Too much speed results in bigger crashes and I'm sure you dont want to end Kamikaze.

Then, you can try loosening a seat post bolt, or buy a custom made bike with a 5% chance of shimmy, not more. Try picking races with a lot of railroads, or potholes. Or something along those lines.

Or pretend you're going to win and then do something foolish.

Then, its all a matter of waiting.

Trust me, you will crash.

And you can get creative with this.

And then, there are the "Sponsored Crashes". Some big single day races may be so easy, pro's use them as training for victory salutes.

No promoter of a big race wants to make it so easy.

Well, when you have the die-hard winners at the starting line, what do you do right?

To turn this situation around and project to the media the idea of tough tough day, race promoters may sign secret deals with losers to crash. Often, these lucrative deals have led to some dubious crashes before the finish lines.

If many crash, well...turns out it was a hard race after all. Even though it was just a 60K run, with no hills. C'mon, that sounds easy, but it was tough. Look, just look how many crashed will you??


Wow, how do I go on about the types of crashes and crash control? If I do write everything here, I'll give my book away and the huge profits associated with it so I won't resort to that.

Hence, get ready for my upcoming thriller : We Might as Well Crash.....

....coming to a Cycling Mailbox near you.

* * *


bikingbadger said...

Classic. You peaking for the season?

Cycling Phun said...

*Caution: The years of psychology about to be unleashed.*
I think part of the reason we enjoy a good crash is that we need to be lifted up. We've all done it, it hurts like hell, and more-so than physically, it KILLS the ego. so when we see a pro wreck we feel human, better, normal.
OK, great post, but I need to ride... later.

Ron said...

Actually Zac, we might as well put your picture on the we might as well crash cover page. I might as well cancel the waiting list.