|Up your ass, Canada.|
On Wednesday, Team Jamis-Sutter home - a longtime stalwart of domestic pro racing here in the USA - folded because of a lack of funding.
Well, no shit.
If I were Jamis, or Sutter Home, or any company here in the USA that was looking to invest my advertising dollars in such a way as to make product look better to my target market, I wouldn't pay for this shit either.
WHY THE FUCK IS FRANCISCO MANCEBO RACING IN NORTH AMERICA?
Mancebo still has 20 bags of his own blood leftover in Spain, waiting for him to drop by and pick it up from Operation Puerto. Mind boggling. It's hard to continue to try to be a fan of a sport that just can't stop kicking itself in the dick.
There's simply not enough money to pay clean athletes. Ben King still doesn't have a contract to race in 2017. Jake King, a stagiare with the now-defunct Team Jamis, might come up with zilch himself. Clean, strong, good guys like the King brothers were supposed to be the future of cycling after Operation Puerto, the advent of the biological passport, Lance Armstrong's testimony, and all the other "we're cleaning up our sport" bullshit that the UCI sold us over the past 12 years.
But where are we instead? Manchebo is still somehow winning races. Valverde has raced all 3 grand tours in Europe this year. Ryder Hesjedal is riding a farewell tour across the autumn races in Canada like some kind of goddamn national hero. But the actual good guys don't have jobs.
I don't get it. Never have, actually, but this one hits a little closer to home this time (like, literally in my house.) Team Jamis-Sutter home has stayed here with me at the Rancho Relaxo the last two seasons for a week while in transit between East Coast races. To a man, left to right, they're great guys. The racers, the staff, all of them. We ate dinners together. Sebastian Haedo borrowed my fishing gear and caught some bass. Luis Amaran and I watched The Revenant in Spanish. Felix, their soigneur, read books to my kids. Most of us who ride Tuesday Night Worlds from the 22936 every week have had the privilege of watching Jake King's progress as he matured, much like we did Ben's. For me, Team Jamis folding is personal, and the lack of funding is representative of our sports' failure in general.
I wonder what 20 bags of blood even looks like? What do you carry that around in? How do you get that much blood out of a person in the first place? Clearly, Mancebo understood the benefit and was 100% committed to the process. I imagine it took months. Shame on us, the paying public, for allowing it to work for him.
There's a commonality at work here, a close parallel that you might draw between Mancebo and Donald Trump, and our own unwillingness as a population to stand up for what is right. This is way bigger than bikes. The larger picture, as always, is about us, We The People. It's like we've been desensitized to villainy somehow, by the movies, social media, drugs, the liberal media, or whatever you want to believe has brought us to where we are; but the result is simple apathy.
This is not the movies.
The bad guys win if we let them.
Up, up, up.