- I need y'all to understand something. I make fun of lots of things. That's because I do a pretty serious job where I really can't make fun of everything, and an essential part of my character - abject irreverence for all that is good and sacred - is utterly repressed. So I blog. If you're offended by my comments, take a grain of salt and then a deep breath, and then remember that I'm full of crap and I know it, and I don't mean harm by it. Consider too whether perhaps you are involved in some activity that perhaps needs a bit of skewering. Hey, I'm not saying your taste in bikes deserves public mockery or anything, or your grooming or recreational drug habits mandate it or anything like that... I'm just saying... well, take it from me. There ain't no money in taking yourself too seriously. Let's just leave it at that.
- All that said, I am a strong believer in *appropriate* reverence, giving respect where it has been earned, especially at some cost. The World Championship Rainbow Jersey is a jersey that merits respect, all on its own, for what it represents. So too the wearer of the Jersey deserves respect - it is the equivalent of Golf's PGA Championship, the player's championship race. If a current World Champ is hurting in a race, other teams will help out the Champ, because the Jersey never fails. The Champ is expected to be a leader in the pack, if not the pack captain. The institution matters, the wearer is presumed to have earned it and to have earned respect. Reverence is due, and appropriate.
So I have three questions about the photo below that I'd love to see you answer in comments:
1) Is this rider giving proper respect to the U.S. National Roadrace Championship jersey, and explain why you feel he is or isn't.
2) Do you think the person taking the photo from about 20 feet away is showing proper respect to the sport and/or the jersey by taking and then posting this photo?
3) Can you imagine current wearer of the World Championship rainbow jersey - Paolo Bettini, a killer on the bike but by all accounts a nice guy and class act - getting caught out in this position by a photog, or for that matter most of the European pros allowing the jersey to be in any sort of distress? Do you think this says anything about Levi, and do you think that it has any bearing on his race performances?
[Update: I can't help but get in one final bike culture-related dig. Would it surprise you to know that the guy who took the picture is a triathlete, not a roadracer? Triathletes... they ride bicycles alright but it seems to me that not many of them are cyclists. FWIW I hesitated to post this photo but thought the point had to be made.]