July 9, 2012

Armchair athletes

This year has been phenomenal to me. I know that I took it by the horns and made it happen, but luck was still on my side because I made the commitment. Watching le Tour I have at times been truly gutted for guys who crash and their Tour is over, through no fault of their own.

Yesterday we saw that Brad Wiggins was feeling the pressure of his yellow jersey when he lashed out at people on twitter commenting on his performance. I felt, minus the expletives, that his commentary is spot on. To recap, here is what he said:

Honestly, they’re just f**king w**kers. I cannot be dealing with people like that. It justifies their own bone-idleness because they can’t ever imagine applying themselves to anything in their lives. And it’s easy for them to sit under a pseudo-name on Twitter and write that sort of s**t rather than get off their arses in their own life and apply themselves, and work hard at something and achieve something. And that’s ultimately it… C**ts.

Beyond what he said, I thought there was merit in there. It preaches everything I talk about. Then I read another post, in a forum, which really got me thinking. It is written by a pro rider, towards other pro riders. Many pro guys came out in support of Wiggins. Of course they did. They hate the pressure, the constant reminders of doping, the disbelief in their abilities, their hard work. What’s not to hate.

You should read the post here.

It got me thinking about armchair athletes. You know the type:

– Spends hours trawling forums.
– Spends hours making excuses about never hitting goals.
– Spends hours talking about training and not actually doing half the volume.

I also know them to belittle every guys who makes sacrifices and cuts the clutter to better themselves. I have had my fair share of disbelief in the performances I have put out this year. Comments about my work hours and that I should be pro are weekly things for me.

This is the bone-idleness Wiggins talks about. Easier to say the other guy is lying about his training volumes and his job demands than say “Hey, I slacked off a little this year and you worked a little harder and that’s why you beat me”.

Its why I love racing guys like Tristan Kelly and Greg Goodall. No excuses.

Maybe it’s because I know they aren’t racing to fill the void. They aren’t there to make up for a lack of something in their lives.

The armchair athletes who comment without consideration, without ever having made the commitment, because its ‘too hard’ – are they the real choker collar on our sports?

For me, I am loving le Tour. I honestly don’t care about reduced watts/kg or time records up certain ascents. There is a race on and someone has to win it. This year, they are racing. Not one or two guys only. It’s real out there. It’s tough and I hear no excuses from Cadel, Wiggins or Menchov / Nibali / van den Broeck. Only respect towards each other. It’s beautiful.

In the same article, I have to applaud my buddy James Cunnama for winning Challenge Roth yesterday. It would have been amazing to see him there as I was intending to race this year. He is a guy who puts it all on the line. He has no bone-idleness – only the work ethic of a champion and the heart of a lion. Mad love. I have known him for many years and our friendship extends through times when all that has been required was to sit and talk about everything but sport to hysterical-screams-of-laughter-descending-into-blind-corners bike riding. To him, I dedicate this song today:

Go wide and go long this week. Cut the excuses and put in the work and most importantly, if you commitments are not towards sport at the moment, be comfortable with that. Be committed to that and convicted of your efforts.

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