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CX Education

As I near the end of my first season of racing, let’s look back on the knowledge gained and lessons learned during the Cyclocross Race Season of ought-eight, which Alan Greenspan wearily describes as “irrationally exuberant”. These nuggets of wisdom contain a number of words that I do not understand, but I can remember my professors using them often and therefore assume that they are important. Not important enough to look up, but important. I’ll be updating this whenever I hear exciting new words.

Races entered: 12

Wins: 0

Top ten finishes: 0

My value as a cyclocross racer: -2

Net Worth: No matter what happens in a race, tell people that you were winning before you had a mechanical. Because your actual race results obviously have nothing to do with your actual skill. In fact, OBRA results should really work more like the free market, with complicated derivitives and futures markets that will allow us to rank racers based purely on perceived value and avoid all of the “I would have won if that guy hadn’t clipped me” talk on the online forums. The calculation is more complicated than a credit default swap, but I can tell you right now that a Master B racer with a shaved head and yellow booties that enjoys listening to Beyonce deserves to finish 3rd in Hillsboro. Change the music preference to Steve Miller, and that goes down to 6th. Change the bootie color to red, back up to 2nd. 

Pint glasses purchased: 1

Pint glasses stolen: 1

Net Pint glasses: 0

Opportunity Cost: The stronger you race, the later you get to sleep in. This is a renumerative incentive, with the benefit being sweet, sweet slumber. Beginners need to get up early. A’s get to sleep in and have a nice breakfast. There are, however, diminishing returns on your racing investment. If you become too fast, you have to race for 60 minutes (which is what economists call “fucked”). Mathmatically, the Pareto efficient racing position is top five 5 singlespeed finisher with a OBRA race number ending in 8. Proven. But don’t ask me to show my work. I’m a scientist and I don’t have time for that.

Perceived Value: Attractive people get photographed more. I am rarely photographed. Don’t think that I don’t notice.

Number of photos takenby me: 1,322,984,293

Number of non-blurry photos taken by me: 6

First Mover Advantage: You should always pedal beyond your abilities for the first 100 yards, even if you consistently end up in the bottom 5% of your class results, ignoring the behavioral economic theory of bounded rationality. There may be what are called “externalities” involved. For example, the plague could hit the 90 riders behind you who are, ceteris paribus, faster than you. Killing them all. In which case you may be able to gently pedal to a top ten finish. It could happen. And any race could be the race that it does. So don’t bother to start slow. Get out in front. 

Deflation (or Stagflation if you stop riding): Cowbells are a beautiful part of cyclocross. Except when they happen at the finish line line. Because you hear the cowbell before you see the lap counter than that says 4 laps left to go and feel your heart crumble.