Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Good News For People Who Love Bad News

Cycling is a masochistic sport. If you want to be any good at it, then you have to hurt yourself. It’s not boxing or martial arts. Your opponent isn’t hurting you; you are hurting you. You could stop anytime you want, but you don’t. And if your love for cycling goes beyond your own little world and embraces professional racing, then you’re really a glutton for punishment.

I have been watching Paris-Nice since Sunday but it has been a spiritless slog toward the mountains that will decide the general classification. So far the racing has been characterized by doomed breakaways and bunch sprints. Of the 14.5 hours completed in the first four days of the event, roughly 10 minutes have mattered. The TV announcers have had plenty of time to dissect the CIRC report, the latest laundry list of doping offenses and UCI malfeasance. I’m with the folks who understand that cycling has done a lot in recent years to combat doping and, in fact, is way ahead of other sports in its commitment and methodology. I’m with the folks who understand that the fight against doping doesn’t have a tidy conclusion but instead is a from-now-on effort to stay ahead of the bad guys.

The fight for cycling facilities is much the same: you win some and you lose some. On Tuesday the Washington County Board of Supervisors approved 2014 Resolution 66, and that will have positive implications for cycling in West Bend. But later today in Fond du Lac County, ATV advocates will argue in favor of year-round access to the Eisenbahn State Trail. High-speed motor vehicles have no place on a trail used by cyclists and pedestrians. If you’re a Fond du Lac County resident, please attend today’s meeting at 6 p.m. Right now the ATV issue is still at the committee level, so even a favorable reception by the committee doesn’t guarantee that the larger county board will eventually grant access. But cyclists and pedestrians need to step up now to protect the trail. It’s bad enough that so many existing users tune out the world with earbuds and allow their dogs to roam without leashes. Just wait until 700-pound ATVs are roaring down the trail at 60 mph. Granting year-round access to ATVs effectively would turn the Fond du Lac County segment of the Eisenbahn into an ATV-only trail, because it simply wouldn’t be safe for anything else.

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