One of the heroes brought up some remembrances about doing the NorCal District Champyships a couple ten-spots ago. It's the MeatCalf ... and his placing only differed by a six-pack between the decades.
fukking show off.
Anyway, the question arises ... where have all the flowers gone?
Casey gives us some numbers to ponder ~ registered racers ages 20-29:
2007 : 6,456
1988 : 11,241
isn't that bizarro? almost double the number of young people were racing their bikes back in the days when Lemond's neon yellow shades made their first run at fashion. So, what's the story? Or as Kev asks, where have all the racers gone?
i have a theory.
Bike racing is, as we all know ... fringe. Maybe not as fringe to the American consciousness today as it was back in '88 ~ but still fringe.
When you sniff around the jockstraps of the homeland's middle and high schooleries ... you're gonna get a whifter of that true-blue sweat generated by god's favorites ~ football, baseball, volleyball, basketball ... all those silly ball-oriented activities. And i guess you can toss in a little bit of running as a lost sock in the pile 'o dirties.
it's lost on the landscape of youth nowadays. And just what is cycling? What are the necessary traits of the cyclist? Who are the types of people that would be attracted to this world of fringe and outsiderdom?
Cycling is for the obsessive. Cycling is for those with the endurance, both physical and mental, to sit absorbed in a mind-numbingly repetitive activity, punctuated by moments of absolute intensity and froth. Cycling is for the weirdo who has energy to burn and nowhere to set the match.
Video Games ~ they have stolen all the cyclists of our day.
i mean, think about it ... fringe-dwellers on the outside of the bubble, looking for something to expend their significant powers of concentration upon ~ to obsess over, to spend countless hours hunched around as they advancing in skill through endless sessions of practice, practice, practice.
and the fight, they love it. they battle ogres, speed around the most challenging of tracks at mind-zapping speeds ... they live for the contest. They live to ... compete.
And yes, television gluttony and fast food absorption plays a role. And yes, the american fascination with ball sports suck most potential athletes into its own vortex. But, there are always the fringe-dwellers looking for a niche to nibble upon.
and i believe a large portion of those fringers who had all the skills and kick-asseyness to become cyclists have already had their minds sucked into video gamery. and they are excellent at what they do. there are cat1's out there huddling over control pads, putting a bunch of pixels and microprocessors through burn sequences of agility and decision-making that you and i have no concept of.
But, there are breaths of youth in this sport that i believe are making a difference. i'm a fan of the Frishkorn. i dig how he pens it, how he rides it, how he styles it.
i look at the L'Abitibitibi results and hope for a good crop of result'ers on the horizon to keep us competitive in the world market.
but, that's not what it's really about.
i just hope the sport attracts young people to it ... because, it's a beautiful way to spend an afternoon.