Thursday, April 12, 2007

Age Discrimination Alert!...Where's Al Sharpton?, Where's Jesse Jackson?, Where's the ACLU?

I was checking into this Saturday’s Oxbow Spring Classic, a SE Minnesota gravel road race that is a nice medium for the "twitchy, geeky roadies"* to venture into some of the more relatively technical aspects of bike racing and to co-mingle with the more athletic, albeit laidback mountain bikers and cyclocrosser. I guess I was essentially getting myself all fired up for the first race of the season and in doing so, I see that the "veterans" have been marginalized down to just two laps! While the young bucks go three laps... Whatz with making the old guyz ride such short distances? Is the rationale that as a rider gets older he is only capable of going shorter distances? Only in USA Cycling would such counterintuitive thinking reign…In every other endurance sport, the old guyz are drawn to and encouraged to partake in the longer more hard-core events…The fact of the matter is that as one gets older, one may get a little slower on the sprints and shorter more anerobic races, but one also gains in experience and mental toughness, the two essential ingredients for the long haul. While in all other endurance events from mountaineering to running marathons to ultra-cycling to the Alaskan Classics athletes as they approach their 40s [and even for some, their 50s] they become more competitive as the distances and “hardness-factors” increase. In USA Cycling, the opposite is the trend, once a guy turns 45 years old they start to incrementally decrease the race distances!!!…If anything the old guys should be encouraged to ride further and longer and on harder conditions...I mean with one foot squarely in the grave and the Grim Reaper hiding around every colonoscopy and prostate check I am subjected to on a yearly basis now, I want to go further and further for as long as I am capable. Itz not like I am saving myself for my senior year or for the Olympics!!!!!!!!!! If I am a man, I’ll sign up for the longer race on Saturday…stay tuned…[*A recent Don Imus quote which does not in any shape or form reflect the opinions of this author]

Feeding the Rat: Nearly three hours heading out and past Knife River. It was a glorious day, as I rode along beautiful Lake Superior at an easy pace, I thought about the recent passing of Kurt Vonnegut. His work, Slaughter House Five, is one of the most influencial books I have ever read. Itz a complex subject matter about the fire-bombing of Dressden, Germany in the later dayz of WWII...I read it aloud to my old buddy, Pete Olson, enroute to the start of a long climbing trip out to the Grand Tetons and the Wind Rivers probably over twenty years it goes! Totally zoned on my ride with a big smile on my face, I then contemplated other anti-war books that have greatly moved me over the years... and just off the top of my head I came up with the following: All's Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Marie Remarkque, Johnny Got his Gun by Dalton Trumbo, and the very simple, yet powerful My Brother Sam is Dead by James and Christopher Collier...all these books are TOP NOTCH and all expose the dirty little secret that War is fundamentally about the political elite sending the poor to do itz killing (and/or getting killed) in the name of some abstract notion like "Manifest Destiny" or "the Third Reich" or "______________" [fill in the blank] it goes...[total minutes-173]

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