Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Favorite

Let’s face it, there’s nothing more PRO than the V. Taking the win with arms outstretched is always irrefutably, indelibly hip. But even among victories, delivering the coup de grace as the rider all eyes follow gives satisfaction greater than any passing grade.

But that final attack is hours, weeks, even a whole season in the making. And even after the training kilometers culminate in peak form there is the start. As a previous winner there is the introduction, the reminder to the competition of the previous successes. Imagine many of the world’s best PROs, guys unafraid of the greatest names in the sport, guys who wouldn’t cower in the presence of even Lance Armstrong, looking at the favorite and wondering, “Can I take him?”

After a previous win a favorite must roll out knowing every contender on the day has marked him as surely if a bullseye were on him. Win a second time and he will be watched by not just other riders with ambitions, but every domestique for every rider with ambitions.

The favorite gets no rope, no privileges. Even the smallest acceleration is met by response from the whole of the group.

Every rider present is united in purpose: Their team can’t possibly win if he is allowed to escape. For some, knowing it’s you against the world would be too much and the pressure would sap the legs. And yet, there are those rare riders immune to the pressure.

It would easy to dismiss the pressure as a numbers game; the strongest rider surely will have one attack more than the competition. But the numbers never tell the story, do they? Who can know how many attacks one has?

But we all know it’s not as simple as math. That would make accounting exciting and the unknown of a race the chaos of an earthquake. A reservoir within holds the knowledge of what it took to win before, holds the immunity to self doubt, the power to vanquish all those working against him, a power surely fed by those screaming to see the drama unfold.

Image courtesy John Pierce, Photosport International


AH said...

Yeah, but a smiley-face temporary tattoo is fretty frikkin' un-PRO.

Anonymous said...

On the other hand, kicking your own team mate's ass to win the Grio is.

Anonymous said...

This post doesn't even make sense. Whoever wrote this tried way to hard. If they can put so much effort into trying to be philosophical, they could have at least proof read it before posting.

Anonymous said...

i really like this article their is soemthing to be said about taking the presure and putting the weight on your shoulders and preforming. choosing to be the hunted and outplaying the hunters. that is kind of my problem with garmin and vaughters...pretty soon they need to get their underdog mentality, "we have nothing to loose" turns me off, calling your shot frankv style is way pro

Anonymous said...

*rid of their underdog...

Anonymous said...

Yep the smiley face is very un-PRO, as is putting your team on the front to chase the break where you already have a guy in the break....or maybe that is beyond PRO.

Joe said...

I saw a set of BKW shoe covers on Molly Cameron's blog....asked her where she got them....she said to check with Radio Freddy. Any chances I could sneak a pair? Those things are so dope! Let me know how I can make it happen..Thanks!

mathias_d said...

hey howard,

molly cameron is a dude. you might want to avoid making that mistake again, even though without reading his blog it would be an easy mistake to make.

just a heads-up.

jas said...

Cadel Evans should take a page out of this book... One doesn't win the tour or fans by following.

jza said...

hey goose,

When a favorite has a teammate in the break, that teammate is sitting on, only doing enough work to justify his presence there. Makes it that much easier for his team to pull things together and put the leader where he needs to be.

Basic tactics, bro.

Geoff said...

Hey Mathias,

You might want to tell that to Molly

Just because she races in the men's field, that doesn't mean that's how she views herself. Easy mistake to make.

Just a heads up.