In cyclocross, there's a strong tradition of heckling competitors. This is a parodox, because cycling is already a painful race. Incredibly painful. You'd think because of this a little encouragement would be in order. Nope. Just pain and shouting.
Except for the brainless tedium of a road race's time trial, I submit that cyclocross racing is the most painful of all cycling. There's simply no break from the raw pain. In 'cross races, one manages their red-line for 60 minutes while punching up snarky hills, through greasy off-camber turns, and dismounting and running through barriers. The weather is chilly and quite often clammy. If you're lucky(?) the course is dry, but is usually muddy. Or icy. Or an icy-muddy rut field quagmire.
BikeSnobNYC sums it up best:
Cyclocross. Do it wrong, and it'll be the coldest, muddiest, most painful hour of your life. Do it right, and it'll be the coldest, muddiest, most painful hour of your life. It'll also be the most fun you'll have on your bike all year. Cold, mud, and pain are non-negotiable. —BikeSnobNYC
All this and heckling too?
As an infrequent cx racer, I remembered the physical pain. Unfortunately, I had forgotten about the heckling. As it was, I was barely coping with the physical stress. The jeering at my last place during a recent race didn't bode well. Not at all.
A few days later, some of us were riding cx laps at the park. During a break, Randy Crist asked me if I had a bad start at the race. While relating the early troubles I was having, I also mentioned being annoyed by the incessant heckling at the race.
Lucas perked up. "You mean you took it personally?"
Lucas' questioning was like a tight slap in the face.
Well since then, I've been asking around about the cyclocross heckling culture. Apparently, heckling is part of the cx deal. I just need to suck it up if I don't like it. Otherwise, I should consider sticking to triathlons, because there's lots of coddling going on over there. At any rate, these two cyclocross primers (#1, #2) are worth a quick read, especially if you're new to the sport and/or are as plain ignorant and thin-skinned as I was.
Perhaps this heckling culture is best summed up by our resident world champion, Mark Savery:
Ok fine. I'm good with this now.
Whew. It's been a productive couple weeks around here nailing down these tacit cyclocross rules. Last week, it took us 20 comments to get a call up list strategy put together. This week, heckling.
With that, I'm now ready for the remainder of the 'cross season. Call me up or not, jeer at me, spray beer in my face. Whatever. Do your worst.
Happy Friday Everyone