I’d been off a bike for several years. In fact, I didn’t even own one. I ridden most of my life but graduate school, law school and work created a time-induced pause on cycling. But, I knew I would ride again if for nothing else fun.
When I finished law school (the last of my ‘big’ degrees, but not the least) I bought a second hand bike. It was strictly for fun and fitness. That lasted about 8 weeks before moving up to a better used bike. That bike became one of three bikes, once I bought the third and I’d found a group to ride with.
The group was filled with State Champions, National Champions, and World Champions. It was a mix of about 50:50 pure cyclist and triathlete. A few were professional athletes. Occasionally Olympians would train with us. It was an amazing group of athletes.
On my first ride with the group a fellow said to me, “We’re not even on our outer chains rings, it is going to get hard now.” It wasn’t shared to be friendly. He was taunting me. It pissed me off. I might have responded if I’d had enough breath at the time.
Years later, when I was representing the USA as a Team member at the ITU World Championships in the Long Course Duathlon I thought about that jerk.
In early 2014, I’d been shooting a bow for less than a year; I was struggling during a 3D event. This fellow said to me, “You’re never going to beat us.” I had plenty of breath but I held my tongue. No point debating a fellow with a weapon in his hand.
I think about that comment nearly as often as I think about the cyclist rudeness. Neither is any sort of motivator for me to work harder. Both comments are mysteries of rudeness that simply would never be uttered by me. I wonder what kind of a person thinks of such to say.
The cyclist that made the comment remained with our training group, as did I. After a few months I began to reclaim old form and the rude rider never made another nasty comment. Or at least not one I ever heard.
That group of archers that ‘I’d never beat’ well I haven’t seen them in years. Most of them are really decent archers. Could I beat them now if our paths crossed in some tournament? No doubt in my mind. In fact, the last time I saw them they were shooting in a 3D IBO World Qualifier were I was getting my ticket. I didn’t shoot against any of them. As I recall, their max distance was 35 yards and mine was 50 yards.
We were all shooting the hunter class the distance typically is max at 35 yards for the amateur divisions. I was shooting 50 yards because I was qualifying for the Pro Hunter division. I won the qualifier and had the highest score for the day overall.
No one from the group, especially the fellow who’d mocked me months earlier said anything rude toward me. What I’ve never understood is why make a stupid comment to begin with?
I don’t expect to see any of these fellows again. We shoot in different circles these days. If our paths were to cross – well, I’d be pleased to see any of them.