Bike Race/Human Race

I raced my third Winter Park Cross Country race yesterday and secured my 3rd win in the Singlespeed category. For as awesome as the previous race was for someone on a singlespeed, this one was bad. I rode the same gear- 32×21, and, while I usually expect gear choice to be one of compromise (gear so that you’ve got the “right” gear for a majority of the race and gut through the rest), this time I felt like I had the wrong gear- on either end- for a majority of the time. It started on a five mile climb with the last mile or so being steep, rocky forest road. There were a lot of similar sections where I was either standing on my gear at 30 RPMs or hike-a-biking. There were what seemed like an equal number of slightly downhill gravel road sections where I was totally spun out for minutes at a time.

I probably wouldn’t have had as hard of a time with the steep spots if my legs weren’t loaded up with Breck Epic training. My average power numbers were definitely a little on the low side. Unfortunately, I forgot my garmin at the previous race where I was feeling awesome, so I can’t compare between the two with anything other than knowing I felt way better last time and finished 4th overall for the women rather than 16th like yesterday (the course had a little to do with that for sure, but I’d still expect better).

So, now I rest. Of course, I’ve suddenly got all sorts of ideas for crazy rides, but I’m forcing myself to take a hiatus from them until after the Epic.

I feel like I need to take this chance of having some spare Sunday afternoon time to write a rebuttal to my own blog post from a couple of days ago where I stated that everyone needs to be humbled by the mountains so that they learn another level of respect for nature. One thing I’ve also learned from being in Colorado is that everyone also needs to live for a given period of time in a place where you see, on a day-to-day basis, the products of a large minority population living at or below the poverty line. In Memphis, you can’t get away from it. You don’t have to watch the news- it’s visible any time you drive/walk/bike in the inner part of the city. No matter how high you build your fences and how much you gerrymander school and voting districts, the crime and difficulties that result from a population of individuals oppressed by generations of lives of poverty are visible all over. There are zip codes in Memphis that have 3rd world infant mortality rates.

I’ll never personally know what it’s like to be a poor black person, but you’d better believe that living in Memphis made me realize just how privileged of a life I’ve had as a middle class white person. There are a lot of people here, living in their unique mountain bubble, who haven’t and won’t ever see, first-hand, the struggle that some people face just to exist in everyday life. It’s not their fault, and I’m also not saying there aren’t people struggling and poor in Denver. I’m saying that the crime and problems that exist as a result of a huge population of people in need are far more invisible here than they are in Memphis. The end result is a noticeable undercurrent of attitude and behavior that lack both gratitude for one’s good quality of life and empathy for those who don’t share that same quality of life. Not that people like that don’t exist in Memphis, it just seems like there’s way more of them here.

So, Colorado people (or maybe I could say anyone lucky enough to have a house, computer, and internet), some of you need to realize just how lucky you are to be in such an awesome place. Don’t take your mountains, nice weather, and generally high quality of life for granted, because there are sooo many people who will never get a chance to experience what you’ve got.

8 thoughts on “Bike Race/Human Race

  1. Not directing this at you Andrea, but I am so beyond sick of hearing all of this “white privilege” crap. I’m sure those living in the slums of Africa, whose ancestors weren’t brought to the U.S. on slave ships, could point at the black people in Memphis and cry out “AMERICAN privilege”!

    I grew up not far from Memphis myself. Actually just across the river in Arkansas, so like yourself, I have lived amongst black, poor, crime riddled communities also. Sorry, regardless of where you start out, there are ample opportunities in the U.S. for EVERYONE to make a better life for themselves. Even more so if you are minority, as they have “priviledged” access to monies that I “as a white male” do not!

    They (blacks) have a real problem within their culture/communities that no amount of handouts or government programs are going to fix. I don’t know the answer but I’m not about to sit around and feel guilty for being white and successful and neither should anyone in the beautiful mountains of the great state of Colorado!

  2. I could give you a thousand different replies, tell you to empathize and put yourself in the shoes of a poor child growing up in the ghetto, etc… but to put it very simply, if you don’t believe that white privilege is a “thing,” go open a box of band-aids and tell me what color they are.

  3. LMAO! Seriously? I’m laughing and “trying” to come up with something more ridiculous but am completely unable to.

    There are people all around me that one could say are more priviledged than myself. I just so happen to live in the hometown of THE wealthiest family in America and race bikes directly against Sam Walton’s grandchildren on occasion. Do you think those guys might be a little priviledged in life? Absolutely! However, they aren’t to blame for me not being better off than I am and they in no way shape or form should feel guilty about that! It also doesn’t give me an “excuse” to think that the world “owes” me something.

    By the way, they have been making both clear and darker colors Band-Aids for MANY years. Can’t believe that didn’t solve black America’s problems! Lol!

  4. Mark, the reason why I gave you such an oversimplified example of White Privilege is because if I spent a couple of hours compiling a laundry-list of 100% true, factual socio-economic examples as to how it’s so incredibly difficult for a person of color born in to poverty to become a “successful member of society,” you’d still not change your mind. It’d be a total, 100% waste of my time to put that sort of effort in to providing you with that information.

    Also, I am pretty astounded that only your last sentence is the one that you think makes you sound like a dick.

  5. So i live 15 miles or less from blackhawk in the mountains as well. Im at 7400 but thata not my
    Point. I agree with you but i also disagree strongly with you. People here in denver have no clue how bad the south really is. I give them example and they look at me lile im crazy and laugh. They talk about the bad areas of denver lile its 3rd world and to be honest they are luxary compared to memphis areas. They just dont get it. Everyone needs to see it to understand just how bad it is. BUT this is where i disagree. People here are so much nicer, respectful and genuinely kind than memphis that there is no comparrison. Yes some people take it for granted but no one is throwing it in your face. No one is a rude, hateful, spiteful and plain unhappy as the average person in memphis. Me personally ill never go back to memphis and the opression and drama of that life. I honestly feel and tell everyome i am lucky to have escaped memphis. And i mean it. My two cents.

  6. Tony,

    I should have clarified a little better… I think people here are incredibly nice, but often seem incredibly naive, which leads to them sort of unknowingly taking for grated just how nice it is here. I feel like someone who grown up in a city with a large, visible population of people in need have a deeper appreciation for what a great city the Denver metro area is. (sometimes… the other commenter here is a perfect example of someone who doesn’t get that).

  7. Totally agree! Keep telling my GF the exact same thing. You literally need to spend some time there to actually understand it and then be able to understand how amazing you have it here in comparrison. I agree some here really take it for granted. I love everyday here.

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