As some might attest ... i'm a serious admirer of women's athletics. Not sure when/where the bug crawled in me ~ or when i turned away from the everyday-americana love of gridiron and pine tar ...
While running through the adventures of the young ~ i was one of these catwons who checked sporting columns daily ... scouring over batting averages and punt return yards and All-Star votes ... yipping out exclaims of joy or disgust at the previous days hits and runs and calculations.
A scrawny, ragged-brown boy scambling down frozen or baked morning steps to scavenge the neighborhood of the moment for a sporting fix of data. boise or rapid city or cheyenne or riverside or oxnard or torrence or ...
I was a ballsport yute.
Until ... i saw the '84 olympics. That stunning strength of Mary Lou Retton and the women's gymnastics team. The robotic Mary Decker running collision course with bare-footed Zola Budd. And, of course, Connie Carpenter - a person i'd be honored to meet one day. That Carpenter/Phinney family seems just kick-ass in my book.
And so ... nowadays, my vision tunnels two-wheeled a bit too much, some would suggest. And when i focus on the kind of pedalers to be admired ... honestly, a huge percentage of them are women.
Compton, Olds, Carey, Barbarella, Greer/Gomez, Carroll, Abbott, Rais, Lloyd, the Lunas, Kerlin, biscuit (too busy with marriedness), 'Tash, Thorburn, Neben, Patella, Mactier, McLaughlin, Ash, HARPER, Dombrowski, KatTobin, Pic, vanBodyGilder, Suzy PRYDE, vHowelings, Eaken, mints & bellas, CRANMER, zell, Sato, Lauraleen Fenech ... to name a scant few of those admired.-
And so, back to Katherine the Great.
I've read her words, seen her race, and even given her a few good-natured heckles as she dieseled her way through a cross course, or three.
I loved watching her at Sea Otter this year - she Cah-RUSHED that mtb short track race. Holeee crap ~ there was some serious ball-shrinkage going on amidst the boys in the crowds as we watched Compton THROW herself down the slickery-dickery-dock descent. So impressive.
But more impressive to me, was that she got up the next day and raced the two-lap sufferfest that is the SeaOtter X-country race. During that race i had planted myself on one of the lonely peaks a few miles from the finish, collecting racers' faces of pain and resilience as they humped it up those final agonizing climbs.
Compton is the kind of rider I'm drawn to ... fierce on the bike, but good humored and professional ... and downright homey every step of the way. She bristles up to challenges and doesn't appear to crow too throaty when the inevitable success settles into her iron grasp. She is a conquering giant that probably would be the first to spot you a beer & burrito if you forgot your wallet back at the pad.
at least that's what i want to see.
being a fan kicks ass.
But, there are those who are going to gauge her bone-shattering success and perhaps wonder at the size of her proportions, and perhaps question a sponsor like "spike."
or the associations with other faces of Spikedom ...
i just won't think about it. it is what it is, mon' amie.