Black Knight Society

Howdy folks,

Let’s talk a little bit about something different today.

Let’s talk about the race you don’t do.

I blew off the race I was planning to do today, and while I’m pretty sure this was the right call to make – heck, it was definitely the right call to make – as I sit here writing this, I don’t feel all that great about the decision.

Which is kinda’ crazy.

But I’m guessing an awful lot of you have experienced this particular brand of crazy.

It’s endemic to Cycling, and sport in general.

So, there I am…

All my crap packed and ready to go, pre-race meal on the stove, and in the process of taping up my ankle so I can carry my bikes out to the car…

Wait, what?


Bike racing – or any intense athletic competition and training – is addictive. Really, it is.

Need proof?

Here I am, with a foot/ankle injury bad enough that I need to tape it up to carry my bikes to the car, and the whole “Can’t actually use your leg well enough to walk” isn’t even giving me pause.

Of Course I’m still racing.

That’s why they invented athletic tape.

And analgesics.

So, while I’m taping, I click the computer on and I happen to notice a Facebook post warning people of a highway cataclysm en-route to today’s race.

I start scoping things out, investigate alternate routes to the venue, do a little bit of easy math, and come to a realization…


Unless I leave right now I might not even make it to the race in time to start.

It’s an hour and a half drive to this race on a good day, and this is the opposite of that. Drive time might be doubled. It’s 3 1/2 hours until race time, and I’m nowhere near ready to go.


Looks like no race for me.

…and then there’s that ankle/foot thing.

Why the hell is it that that didn’t even enter the equation until going to the race was already a fait accompli?

Honestly, I can’t tell you. But I can say that this is the exact same sort of idiocy I’ve experienced with many, many training clients over the years.

“Tis but a scratch…”


To generalize grossly, utterly unfairly yet truthfully nonetheless, in my experience, there are three types of bike racers…

Black Knight types, who will  bite your leg off after their arms get amputated…and they will get amputated

Folks who are always looking for an excuse – a hangnail is enough to keep ’em home

The tiny, minuscule minority of folks who actually manage to maintain a balanced perspective on all this nonsense

I think we’ve pretty much established what category claims your’s truly. Maybe.

What about you?

One of the first things I have to do when I’m coaching someone is figure out where they fall in this sorting, and sometimes it ain’t easy.

Is client “A” really always hurt/sick/whatever, or are they just continually making excuses and looking for a way out?

If client “B” is really as hurt/sick/whatever as I think they are, I really need to convince them to pull the plug… but are they really that hurt/sick/whatever, or are they over-dramatizing things for their own/my benefit?


This, folks, is one of the things that can make coaching/training harder than it seems from the outside, and it’s one of the reasons that paint-by-numbers training programs aren’t quite the same as working with a coach.

Things ain’t always what they seem, and athletes are spectacularly bad at maintaining a balanced perspective on what they’re doing, where they’re at, and how the machine is actually functioning.

Is there a point in all this?

Heck, I dunno.

I’m probably the very last person who should be preaching “Balance” and “Perspective”, but being a charter member of the Black Knight Society of Idiots Who Push Themselves Far Past The Point Where Shit Starts Breaking Down, I’ve gotten pretty good at seeing the signs of same in others, and recognizing folks who can’t distinguish breaking a sweat from breaking a leg.

If you’re reading this, and doing the things we talk about on here even a little tiny bit, I’m guessing you’re somewhere on this spectrum.

So maybe think about which kind of crazy you are.

‘Cause if you’re reading this you probably are.

…crazy, that is.



~ by crosssports on November 30, 2014.

One Response to “Black Knight Society”

  1. […] you didn’t bail on yesterday’s race like I did, you should be right on schedule for a nice, […]

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