Welcome to the Kermis. It’s not a recycling, it’s a reintroduction. The idea is to repost an old article that still resonates today and see where it goes. We will endeavor not to abuse this feature.
I’ve referred to Frank’s fantastic Perfect Amount of Dumb article at least five times in my own posts. My reference is usually that I’m dumb but it’s cycling related dumb. I’ve got the dumb part covered, not the Motorcus part. I so love his unexpected title and the post, it needs to do another lap.
I was just watching Tyler Mini Phinney’s post Dubai TT interview thinking, this kid has the perfect amount of dumb to be great. He shops at the Big and Tall shop, so I like him already. And his brain is way up there, in the thin air, so he choses his words carefully, like climbers at 8,000 meters. He’s got It.
No American Cyclist has won a Monument. Abandy has won more Monuments than LeMan? Merckx forgive me for uttering that last sentence. Greg was our last best chance but this new Phinney-Carpenter hybrid might somehow, someday get on the stones, get really incensed, and prove he has the perfect amount of dumb.
I find professional athletes – cyclists in particular – an impressive bunch. They are hard, disciplined people who ply their trade in some of the most atrocious conditions imaginable. To become professionals, they have to be good at what they do, and smart enough to learn how to continue succeeding despite the gaps between the top of the sport continually narrowing. They have to learn to live right and train right. They have to listen to their coaches. They have to learn to control their mind and to override the signals their bodies are sending. They need to be smart enough to read an ever-changing race and smell the right moment to make their move; disaster and glory can be separated only by a split-second reaction born out of intuition mixed with experience and intelligence.
But the best athletes are also a little bit dumb. Men like Fabian Cancellara, Jens Voigt, or Tom Boonen; these are the men who flog themselves for hours on end and, when their bodies are about to break, dial it up a notch and lay it all out on the road. A smarter man would, under those circumstances, say, “You know what? This is nice, but I can also go less hard.”
Not asking that sort of question after dropping the flashlight deep in the pain cave is the perfect amount of dumb.