• be the arrow

    by  • March 24, 2008 • womyn on weels • 32 Comments

    Copper0polis … 2008

    msbanks.jpgSitting at the finish line of Copper, i had a chance to speak with Hannah Banks of the Value Act Capital Team. We were discussing bike racing, i guess … but as we sat in the sun and riders passed by in sprints and spurts, our talk turned to more serious matters of safety out there for us all.

    You see, Hannah was a member of that AIS team that had members killed when a driver went crazy-stupid back in Germany. Remember that?

    oh, that was just horrible. She was one of the few who weren’t on that ride that day.

    And as we sat and talked more and more, i was able to see how articulate, intelligent, pleasant the young woman is … and all at 21 years old.

    Hannah Banks is an excellent spokesperson for any company and she will be a powerful force as she develops more in her life.

    Seeing and talking to her gave me hope that there might be more like her out there, amongst the vast herds of humanity. Talking to her almost made up for the crapfest of a start i had to my geezer race. you see, I was dinking around before the start and just rolled up to the back of the pack at the line. I was in my own little world, but very happy with how beautiful it was, how big the turnouts were for all the fields, how good it all was. and then … i looked down and noticed somebody had just tossed down a damn gel wrapper on the ground.

    bushenvironment.jpgright at the start, right in front of that person’s house we invade each year with our bike race. trash, just tossed down.

    “oh shit, you’re kidding me?” i said in surprise and dismay … and to no one at all, just to myself … but, i guess my voice carries a bit more than i often remember. And so, to the side of me shoots a quick shit of cynicism from Mark Noble of TimeFactory,

    oh, come off it!” he chirps, basically telling me that i was being a prissy-do-right by caring about discarded gel packs or bottles tossed on roadways.

    – – –

    are you f’g kidding me?

    i show surprise and disgust at some chumpbag dropping trash AT THE STARTLINE OF THE RACE and he gets all “you can’t save the world, liberal pinko” in my face.

    BULLSHIT, says i.

    so, i railed on his so-cal ass that if he needed his Escalade sent up from the caravan i’d burn some forests in smoke signal for the rest of his so-cal slutbags to unplug themselves from whatever reality-show of the minute they’re “living” in and drive-thru their asses up to our backyard to help distribute more of his garbage around, too.

    Now, i can say this to Noble because he’s 1) a good guy; and 2) a limey; and 3) needing to be told this shit. in public.

    ignoble.jpgBECAUSE, this is what is wrong with what’s going on in our world today.

    In the end, his viewpoint is ~ “are you going to save the world by doing that?”

    and mine is, “well, i’m not going to fuck it up more, am i?”

    and isn’t that the starting place? Don’t we have to STOP FUCKING IT UP MORE before we can even begin to start “saving it”?

    i’m just asking.


    – – –

    fini_copper.jpgAnyway, back to Hannah Banks ~ you see, while we were sitting there at the finish line, watching racers cross the line and cheering all the sufferings on … we continued discussing how to bridge this seemingly uncrossable gap between the driver (of any country) and the bicyclist.

    As we all know, when we’re out on the roads … sometimes drivers just flat out don’t care, or don’t THINK to care about our safety. It’s true. Let’s just be honest about it.

    So the question is ~ in the face of the deaths of our friends, our teammates, our family members … in the face of them being killed and our mourning of it, or shock over it, our righteous rage over the injustice of it …

    THE QUESTION IS ~ how do we bridge that gap to the driver, the consumer, the fellow citizen we have bonded together with in this social contract we are a part of, like it or not.

    and i’m convinced, it is to put a face to it all. put a connection in place between us humans … and work damn hard to maintain that connection. Hannah mentioned the public service announcement that aired in Australia after her teammates were killed by that motorist in Germany. Where it erred, we opined, was in that it did not have a real, honest human experience attached to it, communicating through it.

    What we need are people, drivers and cyclists alike, to see and be touched by the real and devastating consequences of our habits, be they on the road at 25mph, or at the startline with a used gel packet in our hand.

    Decide given the full knowledge of the consequences of your action.

    or get the hell out of my way.



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    32 Responses to be the arrow

    1. me
      March 24, 2008 at

      yay! the links work!

    2. richard ash
      March 24, 2008 at

      Yeh! The links work in Kanada too. Site gets better and better.

    3. Anonymous
      March 24, 2008 at

      I gotta agree with ya..I did a post race lap on the course. I still feel a bit guilty and disgusted that I rode by about 100+ gu wrappers. I f-ing hate litter bugs.

      I dropped a gu last week when I was in full bonk mode. I left it behind. my bad, but I did do some picking up of litter. This could for sure be one the hundreds reasons people are pissed at cyclists. Not to mention people throwing, I repeat throwing water bottles.

      I’ve called out a few masters on littering, please do the same in all races. How about a DQ for throwing a GU?

    4. veloandvino
      March 24, 2008 at

      opps, I also hate grumpy anon comments, sorry, just getting used to the new norcal news posting.

    5. March 24, 2008 at

      OK. I’m pissed now.

      Put saving the world aside for a moment–how much harder is it to put the damn wrapper back in a pocket? Why make unecessary work for people who promote races, piss off landowners, and scatter non-biodegradable crap all over the very places we go to escape urban sh*t? For absolutely no discernable reason, this clown encourages rasied entry fees, endangers a race course, and sullies the landscape? F*ck him.

      I’ve dropped Gu wrappers and a Clif Bar wrapper in the middle of a pack roaring along at 25 mph–but I did so accidentally after missing my jersey pockets when my eyes were in the back of my head. Nobody’s perfect. But to drop one so brazenly–and again, for no tangible benefit to himself–what a prick.

    6. Joel
      March 24, 2008 at

      I know, the GU is good enough to be carried full, why can’t you stuff it back in emtpy? I’m not even sure what people tell themselves. Is it too much work to put in the pocket? or cause they don’t to GU up their pocket? Hopefully they don’t tell themselves it’s a weight savings.

      Is it any more acceptable in crits? People do it more there, presumably cause they are all at least in a small area?

    7. Joel
      March 24, 2008 at

      And thanks for working the front on Saturday too Mike. Except for events on the last descent on the last lap, it was a fun race.

    8. anon
      March 24, 2008 at

      Interesting photos, I wonder what an official would say, would the two women who are across the line be DQ’d or would it be considered something like interference from the other male racer, who is riding almost in the center of the lane? Should he be reprimanded? Or the official who did not notice the infraction nor the finish of the race coming, and thus did not clear the finishing 50 meters?

      On trash and tragedy, I see a similar insular selfishness occurring within the racing community that also occurs among motorists. Cyclists, racers in particular, can be quite selfish in their pursuit of the perfect recovery, equipment and finishing place; they seem to forget just how much effort goes into each sponsorship deal, each tuning of their bike, each pedal stroke by a team mate. In addition all too often there are group rides that seem to choose not to share the road, in a self righteous indignation. So too do motorists often cling to a selfish belief of their driving prowess, regardless of the distractions of cell phones (hands free or not), sleep depravation, alcohol, age or general emotional malaise. And often seem to think that a few minutes time gain on the road is worth a risky maneuver that could end disastrously.

      Each of these things, for cyclists and motorists can be understood in relation to complex social issues. For example the pedestal upon which athletes are placed often feeds into an egoist state- that could lead one to think the effort of putting a gel wrapper back in their pocket is an unnecessary burden. Another problem is the creation of a car culture that posits the vehicle as a continuous extension of personal space, such that an affront to the car’s movement becomes a personal issue for the driver. And in the case of the elderly- common perpetrators of car/bicycle accidents- there is a dearth of social support systems such that independence requires clinging to a drivers license, long past a safe time.

      What is so easily forgotten in the selfish illusion is that every moment in our world is shared, we never act in an isolated space, separate and alone. This is most noticeable when we move about, regardless of the method, and yet, ironically in movement into the world we find some of the most selfish of acts occurring.

      So the point then, is that every day we need to remember as motorists we are driving a cocked deadly weapon- which will go off with just the slightest moment of inattention. As cyclists we must remember we share our trails and roads with other recreational users, as well as folks trying to get on about their business, and animals who don’t want to eat our trash.

      The goal then seems to find a way to remind our selves and each other every day of our shared existence- with out laying on emotional guilt. For guilt only breeds resentment, and resentment defensive anger. And then suddenly we are back to battling over tragedy, instead of healing and changing.

      After this ramble I think again about the sprint photos, and about the complexity of putting on a race. And perhaps in this instance, really, no one should suffer the consequences or feel the guilt. Neither the two women over the line, nor the guy who, we presume, was come upon unawares, nor the officials who were no doubt busy attending to many matters at hand. But it is a good reminder that at any moment you might need to share the space you think is yours, so stay alert, cyclist, racer, motorist or hiker.

    9. Michael Hernandez
      March 24, 2008 at

      that’s hot

    10. banks
      March 24, 2008 at

      Couldn’t agree with you more on the point you make regarding adults should be responsible enough to clean up their own mess or not make a mess in the first place.

      However, totally disagree with Joel. Your damn insistence at keeping the pace high on the backside of lap one and over the feedzone hill on lap two cooked me just enough to blow apart the second time up the main climb.

      Well, I probably would have blown up anyway. But you’re my excuse nonetheless. It’s all your fault you bastage. Quit trying to lead by example. Lazy people like me hate it.

    11. March 24, 2008 at

      hannah rules.

      apparently GU has a litter program where you send in your used gu wrappers and for every 10-ish they send you a free one. i have not checked it out myself but i have a stash i am saving up to send to them!

      sweet new site. i am a fan.

    12. ddt
      March 24, 2008 at

      Yeah, people who figure “someone will clean it up” whether it’s wrappers on the road or public restrooms really cheese me off. It’s the whole “the world OWES me something” attitude — I can jump the turnstile because the train’s still going to be going anyway; you should get out of my way as I dive my car for a parking space rather than make me wait until it’s safe.

      It’s not so hard. There’s the “campground” creed of leaving a place better than when you found it (not a bad life goal). Or the superhero creed which, I admit, I actually did learn in kindergarden. See how comics warp young minds?

      If there are no cars around, okay, cheat the light or stop sign, maybe. But blowing through them? Against cars? Not cool.

      On other topics: sorry to hear about Martin’s crash. Any news? And glad to hear there are people spreading the good-guy gospel (though sorry they have to pick up the slack of the, uh, slutbags? Really?

    13. March 24, 2008 at

      After having sat behind 100’s of guys that throw their
      wrappers, or there empty bottles. I couldn’t help but
      think that we live in a society of monkey see, monkey
      do. We see the pro’s do it, so it must be the cool acceptable thing to do. Wow, I think to myself as I sit behind someone that tosses a wrapper. This guy must be fast. I’m thinking, he’s shedding weight in case he’s in the big sprint! If you see guys tossing garbage while they are racing, email their team, and sponsor, and let them know you don’t approve. Like Mike says, it has to start somewhere, and YES it is a big deal.

    14. Ron
      March 24, 2008 at

      One word:
      Gel Flask

      Oops…Two Words:
      Hammer Gel Flask

      Damn it… OK, Three Words:
      Hammer Gel Flask with…OH NEVER MIND!

    15. Socal Sarci Limey Slutbag Whore
      March 24, 2008 at

      Glad I was able to rile you to pull for miles and mile and mile….worked a treat, so proud of you.
      After all the fun, I picked up my ‘huge’ purse, slammed the the pedal to the metal on my huge Escalade, cranked up Rush Limbugh, waved hasta la vista to your liberal norcal pinko arses. Throwin’ Micky D wrappers out the window all the way home. Life is good!
      Kidding aside, I’m on your side…really.
      Interesting thought, I think we must have burnt 30 gallons plus getting to Copperopolis from SoCal: There’s the crime if there is one…and no I don’t drive and Escalade. So yeah….you have got to be pulling my plonker!

    16. Michael Hernandez
      March 24, 2008 at

      that’s why he’s the NOBLE.

      great racing, mark. as always. hopefully see you at Ojai again. that was a huge bit of fun that should be repeated.

      see you out there,

    17. Pingback: “It’s copper, hey, is that why its called Copperopolis?” - Doh!

    18. Lloyd
      March 24, 2008 at

      the arrow = quite a good post this one.

      btw.. the site is looking very dapper.

    19. Anonymous
      March 25, 2008 at

      Love the post! can I continue it?

      and another thing…

      Sea Otter…every year I hike the trails the day after and pick up bags and bags of trash, no elves do it, no officials or Sea Otter Volunteers (they try to pick up on race course not the whole area)…just the locals that use it everyday to enjoy the beautiful scenery. I must be getting old because each year my grump-meter gets dialed up 10 more notches when I pick the sh*& up. Leave no trace are words to live by.

    20. March 25, 2008 at

      Sweet looking site

    21. March 25, 2008 at

      great blog michael! i am frequently disturbed by how many people seem to disregard the planet that we are a part of….that they somehow seem to miss the connection between the environment and themselves, as if we are disconnected from the rest of nature. it reminds me of an act that makes my blood bubble, and that is people who toss their cigarette butts out the window—makes me want to run them off the road and make them eat them while still burning…it’s bad enough that they pollute themselves so badly, and that they add more poison to a toxic world in the form of smoke, but then to pollute the rest of our world with their nastiness……..well…………grrrr! there is such an importance that we recognize and respect each other, and this fading planet that sustains us too…………rock on!

    22. March 25, 2008 at

      Right on! I can’t wait for the Hernando-Noble rematch at Ojai. Will be there with camera in hand to document the battle. BTW, Mr. Noble, I think you better skip out on San Dimas just so you can train more for Ojai…

      ps. Great scribblin’ Mike, and not all us SoCal’ers are sluts.

    23. Michael Hernandez
      March 25, 2008 at

      but you’re not a socal’er, funelli.

      well, sometimes you are…

    24. anon
      March 25, 2008 at

      Make that 3 things wrong with the sprint finish. Looks like another rider is over the yellow line.

    25. Morgan
      March 25, 2008 at

      Can I get upgrade points for doing a lap after the race and picking up racer-discarded wrappers?

    26. ddt
      March 25, 2008 at

      Wow, only 15 or so W1/2/3 raced Copper? Compared to the zillion and a half M1/2 — why the disparity?

      And great to see the juniors out there, hammering away.

    27. intheIofthebeholder
      March 27, 2008 at

      Hmmmm i admire your stance on littering, however your rude way of expressing yourself in this situation shows poor judgement and sets a bad example. If your little exchange had happened in front of my mothers house, she would have been more upset over your language than a harmless little gel pack. Part of what is wrong with the world today is people like you who have decided that THEY know whats best for others.

    28. March 28, 2008 at

      upset more at my language than the “harmless little gel pack?”

      well, there’s a nice little illustration of the point, i suppose.

      your moms might have stood around, then … and gotten confused when Noble and i went straight from ‘bad example’ litter scene, to our smiles and congrats talk about his son, ChanceNoble going to TourofPA and how big a deal it is and how happy we both were about Chance’s fun future prospects.

      yeah, she prolly would have been really confused and not understood what the whole point of it all was.

      i guess that apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

    29. intheIofthebeholder
      March 28, 2008 at

      MY point which you obviously didn’t get either, was the world is poluted and some people do so with rude & crass language. We used to have higher standards, you might have been having fun with Noble but other people might have interpreted it otherwise. You obviously agree with the end justifies the means point of view, but without much consideration of other peoples interpretation. A fine example you set for any children within earshot. I am sure you figure kids hear worse everday so that makes it right.

    30. intheIofthebeholder
      March 28, 2008 at

      Behavior is not changed by shedding light on the consequences of ones actions. Behavior is controlled by the enviroment you were raised im, unfortunately we are seeing the consequences of hippies having babies, live & let live I am not hurting anybody. OOOOOpppps i guess we were, those nasty strict disciplinarians who preached waste not want not, taught us to live by rules and have respect for ourselves and others might have had it right. No those were the same people who told us we shouldn’t swear so i am sure they were wrong…

    31. Mike Hardy
      March 28, 2008 at

      Funny – similar thing happened in the E3, but I assumed it was accidental, and pointed out to a teammate that his bro had dropped something. They conferred, picked it up, we nervously chattered about the start and we were cleanly away.

      I watch a lot of the pro races (you can download them if you know where…) and I have to admit I’m always annoyed when I see the pros just so casually littering. I just don’t get it at all. Strange sport.

      We don’t have to be like the pros though, and I don’t intend to be. Fight the good fight and all

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