Breaking Up is Hard to Do Feb13

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Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Racing for a team is like being in a relationship. Many of us pick a cycling team when we’re young and impressionable. Experimenting. Dabbling in cycling and justifying our team-less bachelorhood with excuses like “No, I really like my new Tickle Me Elmo Primal Wear jersey!” We’re often on the fence about racing, but we get drawn in by the pretty colors. In the beginning it’s fun and flirtatious. Excited to have this new gang of similar-clothes riding buddies, you walk around proud and confident. You start going to the grocery store in your skin suit the way others do in their sweatpants. Because you’re sure that everyone envies you, and you know that they’re all thinking “How did that guy in the condiment isle score that sweet, sweet spandex?” (FYI: They’re not. They’re actually laughing at you. All of them. Even the people in the sweatpants.)

But time passes.

The next thing you know, you’ve got┬áhundreds of dollars invested in┬ámultiple team kits, all with variations of the same design. And you’re trapped. You’ve put too much time an energy into this thing to quit, but the magic’s gone. You second guess your decision. What if these aren’t the colors I want to spend the rest of my life with? What if I can do better than “Cost +10%” ? Should I be on a team that has a nicer “team van” than the ’78 Datsun I’ve been riding in?

You begin to spend your time looking around, checking out the sponsors on other peoples jersey pockets. Apathy sets in. You’re no longer wearing your new sexy spandex, instead wearing the ones with the holes in the ass. You put your bibs in the dryer on high heat without even thinking about the lifespan of the chammois.

The spark you felt at the beginning is a distant memory. So what do you do? How do you get out when things can’t be repaired?

Cheat.

Go ahead. Try on some other spandex. See how it feels. After riding Verge for years, you might find yourself comforted in the caress of a foreign chammois, breathlessly thinking to yourself, “I never knew Hincapie could make me feel like that“. You don’t need to fear being spotted in the streets, because everyone looks the same when they’re kitted up, identifiable only by the squareness of their jaws, the color of their accessories, and the sponsors of their spandex. No one will be looking for you in-cog-neato.

Will you feel guilty? WiIl you second guess yourself, and spend your later years pining for the team kit that got away? Perhaps. But messing around in new spandex is like a coin toss, helping to show you which team you truly want. And in the end, if you don’t love your team, get out. Because every picture of you and your kit together will only grow more painful with time.

Happy Valentines Day. The porn shop near my house has put out a special sign that says “Get Your Heart On”, which seems to say something about this holiday. I don’t know what. But something.