A Note from Fatty About the Current Contest: Monday, I promised that today i would reveal who the mystery rider will be in the “Pick an Ibis, (Nearly) Any Ibis” contest. You know, the one where you could win an Ibis Silk SL, a Mojo, a Tranny, or a Hakkalugi, then choose a place where you’d like to ride it, and then meet Chuck Ibis, a mystery rider, and me for a ride there.
But really, in terms of sheer awesomeness, the part I did not reveal was the part that goes to 11. But let’s start with a hint. Here’s his legs (in the background of this photo by Arnaud Bachelard, Chuck is politely asking the dog to stop biting his knee):
What, you still don’t know who it is?
OK, maybe this will help:
Yes, that’s right. If you win this contest, you will get to ride with Andy Freaking Hampsten. The winner of the 1988 Giro d’Italia. And two-time winner of the Tour de Suisse. And now the owner of Cinghiale Cycling Tours.
He’s a legend. An honest-to-goodness cycling icon. And good guy.
And you can ride with him (and you will note that I have cleverly arranged so that no matter who else wins, I will get to ride with him too) if you win this contest.
And then there’s the not-minor fact that you could be doing this ride with Andy Hampsten on your new Silk SL:
Though Andy’s totally happy to ride dirt or a combination of road and dirt with you instead, if that’s your thing.
On Monday, when I leaked to Mark (I’m terrible at secret keeping) that it’s Andy who will be the mystery rider, Mark said, “The coolness factor of this contest just doubled.” I believe that is probably true for anyone who really loves cycling.
Of course, if you read BikeRadar, you’ll notice they somehow found out about Andy Hampsten (from Mark, perhaps?) and published it yesterday. Since this leak directed all kinds of traffic toward the contest, I’m all for it.
So, those of you who have been on the fence about this contest (though frankly I don’t know why you would be on the fence about this contest), go enter now.
And now, on to today’s actual post.
I Am Not Sorry. (Sorry!) Really, I’m Not Sorry. (So Sorry.)
I am sometimes reluctant to take people new to cycling on rides with me. No, not because they’re new and will slow me down. I expect that. That doesn’t bother me at all.
But it clearly bothers them a lot.
Most people — neighbors, friends, family — I take out on rides spend between 30% and 90% of their talking time apologizing for slowing me down, making me wait, and in general not magically being as good of a cyclist as I am, even though I’ve been doing this for close to two decades and it’s their first time out since puberty.
“It’s totally fine,” I will usually begin.
“I’m riding with you for the company, not to race, so don’t worry about it,” I will later say.
“Seriously, I’m having fun. Stop worrying,” I will plea, eventually.
“OK, one more ’sorry’ from you and I’m slashing your tires,” is generally my final tactic for trying to stop the apologies. Which causes nervous laughter, mainly because I can — at will — summon a gleam of madness to my eyes. Next time you see me, ask me to do it. It’s an awesome party trick.
For the longest time, I have had a hard time understanding why people will continue to apologize, when I’ve made it clear that I don’t need — or want — an apology?
But now I understand. Because I’m scheduled to go running with someone — a strong runner, someone who regularly runs marathons — today (I’ve got this notion that next season I might do some Xterra races).
And I find myself apologizing already.
I find that I am saying the exact same things to this runner that my non-cycling friends and neighbors say to me when we ride.
I say, “I’m really going to hold you back.”
And, “I hope you already got a workout in today, because you won’t get one when we run.”
And, “I won’t so much be running as moving my arms as if I were running, while I actually shuffle lamely.”
Please note, I have said all these things before the running has even started.
So I’ve been gazing introspectively and deeply into my soul, asking myself the age-old question: “What is wrong with me?” After all, I know this runner knows I am not a runner. I know she knows I will be slow. I know this will be an easy, no-effort outing for her, after which she will almost certainly go get her real run for the day in.
I think, though, I now get why new cyclists apologize to me when we ride. It’s for the same reason I’m — against my will — preparing a lengthy list of apologies to use.
It’s because, secretly, in my heart of hearts, I hope to hear, in response to my apology, “Well, you know, actually you’re a natural. I wasn’t going to say anything because I didn’t want to swell your head, but you are pushing me. I am absolutely at my limit, and am starting to cramp up. I honestly do not believe I can hold the blistering pace you are setting.”
And so on.
Which is a useful thing to know, really. So the next time I ride with someone new, I’m going to wait for that first apology, and then say, “I can’t believe you are apologizing! You are doing great! Seriously, you used to ride competitively, right?”
And, in the off chance that the runner I’m about to be crushed by reads this, I’d appreciate it if you’d memorize either or both of the above quotes and use them as appropriate.
Thank you for your consideration in this matter.
PS: Sorry I’m going to be so slow!