Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Now let us praise great pros

How can't you love mountain biking Barry Wicks? The mountain bike and cyclocross terror who was one of the main highlights of the CX films "Transition" and "Pure Sweet Hell". He also writes a funny blog and now a column for velonews. He's not always the fastest (although often he is), but he seems to be enjoying the sport more than anyone else out there. I think it's partially because he's from Oregon.

I remember racing against Wicks back at collegiate cyclocross nationals in Portland in 2002. Which is to say, I do not have any memory of racing against him at nationals. Truth be told, after the starting gun, I never saw him on the same stretch of course that I was on--I could only see him on other portions, far far ahead of me. I got totally destroyed. By him and most of the rest of the field. I attribute this trouncing I received to several factors:
1) Barry Wicks et al. are fast. Just because people race in the collegiate division, doesn't mean they aren't just warming up for the elite division.
2) Overtapering. True, you are supposed to taper before big races, especially end-of-the-season races where your body is fatigued. However, stopping racing, and almost all riding a month before a big race will make you suck.
3) Mud. There was mud. Ridiculous mud (see "Pure Sweet Hell" for footage from these races). Not like the mud we get here in North Carolina. In fact, the past few seasons, we haven't seen much mud during cyclocross season. 80 degree weather in October? Yes. Mud? Not so much. To compare cyclocross in fabled places like the Pacific Northwest or New England with North Carolina is like comparing, well maybe like warm brie on toast points (classy smoothness) compared to Lance brand Nip-Chee crackers (crunchy dryness).

Both are essentially the same thing: cheese+crackers. But the dissimilarities are many. Don't get me wrong, I love Lance brand crackers (sponsorship anyone?) as well as fancy cheeses from France. The point is, there is really no reason to compare these things against each other. Both are great in the correct situation. Like, what's better: creme brulee on a fancy date at a fancy restaurant or an ice cream sandwich from a suspicious van that rolls through your neighborhood on the hottest day of the summer? Answer: both, especially if it happens on the same day. But I digress. What was I saying? Okay, yes. My skills are like pre-packaged snack crackers served on a silver tray by a butler.


curveship said...

Gee, and I wonder where Wicks will be a week from today?

Why, at
my Ohio team's CX race
. Yep, along with Joachim Parbo, Katie Compton and Georgia Gould.

Having seen the work the guys have put into the race, I have to toot their horn a bit. (Wait, that doesn't sound right. Ring their cowbell? Mmm, I think I'll quit now.)

You sly devil with your "Lance v. the French." You win at least 10 irony points.

felonious said...

One of the great benefits of this blog has been the chance to discover the Professor's wonderful writing gifts. He writes well and he's darn fast, too.

DukePirate said...

Ask him how he did this weekend...

curveship said...

Yo Prof, how'd you do this weekend?