Saturday, 5 March 2011

Why cycling has changed my perspective of sports

Will I make it to the finish?

Photo by , downloaded here - Creative Commons attibution.

I consider myself as a competitive guy. I like to win, not just in playing cards with mates but also in sports. This is how I've always been. At the same time I can enjoy when athletes I admire or look up to win, especially on the TV... They deserve it, having devoted so many hours on training, setting other parts of life aside for a period of time. Things like late nights with friends, excessive partying with friends, spending time with family. Most say they don't regret it, they just prioritise differently. I admire people who are able to do just that, seeing them in tears at the podium while their national anthem is on the speakers.

Achievements in sports
"Everybody loves a winner", they say. "2nd and 3rd place are first losers", others says. As I have mentioned before here and here, and as you all know, cycling is a team sport.
What I love about cycling is that people, at least those with some insight of the sport, celebrate the performance as achievements on their own in addition to the winners. We celebrate and admire those who have the desire and will to attack, even when they are so tired and you can se other riders' eyes are filled with despair. Those who give their all for other team mates, making sure the leaders are ready and fit when the decisive attack of the day comes. We celebrate those who each day step on their bike, although their bodies says "not again". We admire those who have devoted themselves to cycling, those riders who have that all-or-nothing mentality. We celebrate those who decide to play along with the environment instead of fighting against the bad weather that makes the riding tedious. We celebrate those who get up with the morning mist to ride their bikes.

I truly believe that sports need to have this perspective in addition to all the others. This is a perspective that won't bring the most $ in the bag, but to me it is important. Maybe we all can learn something by uphold this perspective?

The rider Michael Barry writes in the book Le Métier after completing a TT: "A mechanic takes my bike from me and pats me on the back. He congratulates me - not for the result but for the effort."


  1. So, who would be your nomination for the best of the unsung * DomestiqueS * ?

    I'll go for Matthew Hayman

  2. Hi Ash; there are many many guys who probably deserves a mention. On team sky, as I know you follow close, I will go for Kurt Asle Arvesen and Barry in addition to Hayman. They are experienced guys who are not afraid of doing their job, no matter how hard it may be. Having a pro and at the same time humble attitude is key to be a good domestique me thinks.