It’s fitting that I finished today’s queen stage of the Tour of Utah up the fierce Snowbird finishing climb with Ben King. My (not actual) brother from another mother, Ben and I share a last name, are good friends, yet we are entirely unrelated. However, presumably because we are both awesome, the number of times people cheer for me and yet yell, “Go Ben” — or vice versa, motivating Ben onward with shouts of “Crush it Ted!” — is far beyond what we’re ready to count.
So finishing in a petite group of three with Ben, it made it simple for the hoards of fans to just yell Ted and Ben interchangeably and make us both happy.
And with that said, let’s go over some rules for cheering since some of the stuff we hear uttered borders on ridiculous, even though that’s seemingly not the intent. Here are a series of examples we hear along a finishing climb or otherwise tough section of bike racing parcours:
• “You can do it!”
Thank you. We know we can do it. We may look like we’re struggling or are in a world of pain, so even if we’re in the midst of some serious bike humping and/or paperboying, we’re not about to hop off our bikes and walk. Just like Obama says, yes we can… do it. We know that and don’t need this obvious encouragement.
• “Keep going!”
Much like the above, of course we are going to keep going. In all likelihood, even if we’re deep into hating life at that very moment of a climb, chances are that if we keep on going up, then down, then wherever else the race takes us, we will very likely be traveling the shortest distance to the finish. So unless you have a BBQ and exquisite selection of microbrews lining the road with your absurd cheers causing a detour into your front lawn, we will probably keep going.
• “You’re almost there!”
This isn’t so absurd. However we are generally quite aware of where we are in the race and within the climb itself. So please save this cheer for when we are actually almost there. A la, within sight or even spitting distance of the top/finish.
• “5 kilometers to go!” (or “1 kilometer to go!” or “so-and-so distance to go!” et cetera)
Again, similar to the above, this one can be shouted freely and with all the might of your billowing lungs, but for Pete’s sale, ONLY SAY IT WHEN IT’S CORRECT! To “warn” us that there are five kilometers to go when there are really, oh say seven or six or eight is just a real jerk thing to do. So kindly shut your mouth or else be at least mildly accurate.
As fitting alternatives to the above, here are a brief list of appropriate things to verbally spur us on:
• “Your King of the Road Jersey is Amazing!”
You’re absolutely correct, Not-Ted-King! Yes, it is. It looks like this and if you haven’t purchased one yet, then what the crap are you waiting for?!
Yup, that’s a real ax, those are real logs, and I really have not personally chopped them. And profits go to a real charity.
• “Pedal faster!”
We actually hear this one a lot. It’s astute, to the point, and does the job. Because pedaling faster will make us go faster which will make us, err, ride faster. Plus it’s curt and witty and is just annoying enough to make us pedal faster.
• This isn’t actually something to yell, but we encourage you to HAND OUT DOLLAR BILLS!
There’s some dude here in Utah who is in a Sasquatch suit (or maybe it’s a ghillie suit, but it looks hot and miserable in the Utah’ah heat so I doff my hat to you) and he hands out dollars to cross eyed cyclists. You’ll see us pedal just that one iota harder when we see a dollar or twenty on the line.
Yeuup, the dollar you see atop this post is the actual dollar bill from today’s race. Thanks Ghillie Man!
• “There’s a burrito at the finish line for you!”
Just like the above, this will have a lot more meaning if a) there is a burrito at the finish line for us or b) there is a burrito cart at the finish line, so while the burrito is not yet built, the potential is there so in due time there will be a burrito. This, however, is rare — in fact, I’ve never seen such a thing. The European alternative to a burrito is a kebabs; meat and veg and a little splash of authentic sauce all wrapped up in a warm and comfy flour tortilla-like thing: YEAH delicious food!
Oye, massage time. G’night.