Saturday, July 30, 2005

Cyclocross sponsorship

One of the local shops is looking to sponsor a cyclocross rider this fall. The owner put out a message on several e-mail lists, looking for someone committed to racing, with a pleasant demeanor. It’s a sweet deal – full shop support and an opportunity to purchase the bike at cost at the end of the season.

But I had an errant thought or two about it.

Why not sign one of us Old-Guys-Who-Get-Fat-In-Winter as a sponsored rider? Think of it this way. The young, fast guys are just too skinny to provide good advertising space. Spectators catch a fleeting glimpse, at best, and think, “Whatwuzzat?”

But us older, shall we say - slightly pudgy guys offer ample surface area to carry a lot of text and maybe even some graphics. Plus, since we travel slower, spectators will be able to read the shop name, phone number, pager number, fax number, street address, zip code, and website address. In my case, they'd probably even have enough time to write it all down, including any fine print! What a deal!

Someone described a mountain bike race as a mass start event that devolves to an individual time trial. Cyclocross is like that too. The last one I was in went for an hour and one lap, which was about 20 minutes longer than my legs lasted. Cyclocross is madness! The race is both on and off-road, and includes water crossings and barriers that require the rider to dismount and run carrying his bike. Toss in some wet, miserable weather and copious amounts of mud, and you have a true spectacle! It really is fun, if your idea of fun stretches far enough back to remember being a kid in a mud puddle!

Sure, there are some awfully fast people in a cyclocross race. Think of them as swift, sleek greyhounds. Then there are the bicycling equivalents of the Budweiser Clydesdales, big, ground-pounding behemoths with one big ab rather than a lot of little ones. It’s sort of like watching those trained circus bears riding bicycles. The wonder isn’t how well they ride. It’s that they can ride at all.

Spectators have a perverse fascination with watching the big guys go by, mud flying, legs flailing, lungs wheezing, and bits of bicycles falling off. It’s a lot like watching those police car videos where you know something awful is about to happen, but you can’t quite turn away.

If you get a chance to see a cyclocross race this fall, don’t pass it by, especially if it’s a wet, cold weekend. Who knows? You might catch the madness too and think, “Hey! I can do that!”

2 Comments:

Blogger George said...

I am *totally* down with your idea :-)

I'm gonna link your entry on my blog, maybe my LBS owner will read it ......................

8:36 AM  
Blogger Fritz said...

"...one big ab rather than a lot of little ones."

I love it!!

11:53 AM  

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