Sunday, November 9, 2008

Paint Drying (1), Bike Racer Blogs (0)

I'm sick today--sick enough that I had to bail on a 'cross race in 55 deg weather (no, you don't have to call an ambulance). It sucks, and since my body is preventing me from doing anything useful, save maybe talking about training with Eric tonight, I thought I would do a little research on other bike racer blogs on the internet, for inspiration of course. Conclusion: Bike racer blogs are less interesting than watching a river bottom turn into sedimentary rock. The authors should really take a few pointers from Colin. (EDIT: To clarify, there are some bike racing blogs that are good, and that I read. They just happen to be a pathetically small minority)

In the spirit of Bike Snob (this man is a genius). I've come up with a few rules, some of which are specific to race blogs, though most of them apply to any sort of internet-based masturbatory activity, provided it is of a literary, as opposed to cleanup-necessitating, variety.

1. You may not start every paragraph with "I", which, by extension means that you DEFINITELY shouldn't be starting every sentence with it. Sure, the blog is written by you, about you, and you probably think a lot of yourself for believing that there are people in the world that will spend their valuable time to read what color kit your wore at the 24-hours of Someplace Flat and Midwestern, but I don't care about you. ("So, I", "Well, I", and "Then, I", though clever attempts at veiling your own narcisissm, still count, BTW) I DO care about your opinions, ideas, and possibly knowledge or wisdom if you happen to have some, so write those down and I'll be happy. It also helps if you're funny.

[Edit: Don't take the fact that I don't care about you too hard. It's nothing personal, I just don't know you. I care about you as a human being, as in I'd be sad if you were deprived of your human rights or hit by a bus, but I'm not particularly enthralled by your day-to-day life.]

2. Following directly from (1), I don't really care very much about your family, friends or Saturday nights out unless they're inherently interesting. Not only do they have nothing to do with bike racing, but most cyclists generally don't have very noteworthy lives outside of cycling--you're always asleep or riding your bike when normal people are having fun, and there are a lot more normal people than cyclists. The odds just aren't in your favor.

3. Posts are better when they have an editorial point, which ideally, should be elucidated in the first paragraph. This, again, follows from (1). For example, the point of this post is: "if bike racers could write, they'd probably be getting paid to put their prose in print as opposed to smearing it all over the internet like it was the wall in a Starbucks Employee's worst restroom cleanup nightmare." Having a point gives you focus. Having focus helps you win races, build a bridge people! (or have you not been winning races lately?)

4. Race reports are only interesting when something exciting or unusual happens, or they make a point (see 3). The "I woke up at 6. I felt OK. I had some coffee. I got to the start. It hurt a lot during the race because I was going really hard. I finished 3rd." report totally ignores the fact that I don't care about you, and tells me nothing that I can come away with to make me a better cyclist, a better person, or more fun at parties for having a good story to tell. Introspection about racing isn't a bad thing either. It's sort of like looking at your training diary from last year except you don't have to dig your head out of your couch cushions first, and everyone knows how important training diaries are... (note: As Colin correctly identifies, this one is null if I know you, you can make me laugh or I was at the same race you were)

5. Content. Not everyone is funny, exciting, or fast, but there's a good chance that you know something I don't. PLEASE TELL ME WHAT IT IS, especially if it has to do with gear, or tactics, or training or the cycling community at large, provided you don't belabor the details so much that I get bored or just repeat the marketing jargon that's posted on the manufacturer's website. That being said, remember, I don't care about you, which means I don't care what bike you ride, what you eat or what intervals you do on Tuesdays. I care about WHY you ride that bike, do that interval or have two cheeseburgers after 'cross races but only bratwursts and IPA after a MTB race. Your individual training plan is not leisure reading either, even if it's the only thing you read, but why you did X in your training plan as opposed to Y, by contrast, could be worthwhile.

6. Broadly stated and thinly supported generalizations that reinforce or utilize generally accepted stereotypes about cyclists or cycling for the purpose of making me laugh so hard I snarf my morning coffee all over my laptop are highly encouraged.

7. It's time for a sandwich.

One can only hope that identifying these rules in writing will remind us to follow them ourselves...

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