Thursday, November 11, 2010

Pro's versus Prose

prose - noun \ˈprōz\ Definition of PROSE 1 a : the ordinary language people use in speaking or writing b : a literary medium distinguished from poetry especially by its greater irregularity and variety of rhythm and its closer correspondence to the patterns of everyday speech 2 : a dull or ordinary style, quality, or condition (Taken from Merriam Webster)

I think that there may have been some people that confused my point in the previous post and thought that for some reason I was laying blame or pointing fingers at Professional cyclists. I would like to make it clear that I was not referring to Professional Cyclists with the multiple references to 'Pros' in my post on entitlement. In fact, I think that our domestic professionals are some of the most underrated, under-appreciated and hard working folks out there. We are lucky here in New England in that we have regular contact with numerous current and former Professional Cyclists. Guy's Like Ted King who gets back from the Giro and shows at at the Auburn Road Race or at Orchard Cross. Jesse who comes out for a local MTB race. J-Pow who puts on an awesome fundraiser ride. Adam who is not only racing and or promoting the races, but is at the local bike socials , doing the UCI thing, coaching tons of people or generally getting busy. We've got Frankie Mac who takes the time in the winter to break out on the skinny skis and beat up on us old Masters or Mark who runs 'fun and social' spring centuries from his house.

These folks show up at many of the same races that we do. We line up against them as equals regardless of whether we have the true 'credentials' to do so. They also happen to travel around the country, living out of a suitcase, staying on friends couches, eating three squares of Steel Cut Oats to be able to get to the races. It's not glamorous and they don't get paid all that well. I suspect the term starving artist is a good and appropriate analogy in many cases.

Nope, I don't have anything against these guys who are just trying to make a living doing something they love, I don't think that they are the root of all evil in the US cycling scene, nor do I idolize or wish to be them. I do, however, respect their ability and desire and respect, I'll argue, is one of the most difficult yet precious things one can hope to earn in this world. Cycling is my passion but I recognize that it is not my profession. I like it that way. I'm good with where I am as it gives me the right life balance.

So, why do they do it? Why do they kill themselves to train harder than the rest of us, sacrificing more than most, for far less pay than many of us? I assume that it is simple. Passion. A passion that we all, as cyclists, share. It is what drives us as racers to strive to improve and it is what unites us, if we let it. But there is a dark side as well ...

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