Ride your bike to ward off cycling’s Zombie Apocalypse

In the ancient poem “The Epic of Gilgamesh,” the Goddess Ishtar proclaims:

I will knock down the Gates of the Netherworld,

I will smash the door posts, and leave the doors flat down,

and will let the dead go up to eat the living!

And the dead will outnumber the living!

There can be little doubt the Zombie Apocalypse has begun. At least it has for professional cycling. A zombie usually is characterized as the living dead and as a mindless, flesh-eating nincompoop. In some instances, zombies have been rumored to eat human brains. 

If the figurative “living” in cycling are the fans who love the sport, the zombies are clearly those who run the International Cycling Union (UCI) and some of the sports’ biggest stars.

The Zombie Apocalypse begins with an outbreak of some kind that spreads. With cycling, this outbreak has been slower, but its roots can be traced to one of the seven deadly sins: greed.

Lance Armstrong was the undisputed star of the sport with a global audience. At one point, Sports Illustrated had him listed as one of the 10 most powerful and influential athletes on the planet, and he has earned an estimated $281 million.  When he became a zombie is unclear, but at some point, he began to consume the hearts of those who opposed him, and he apparently had an insatiable appetite.

The leaders of professional cycling today are definitely zombies. In their mindless quest for “globalization” of the sport, they have created their own promotional arm and have sold races to the highest bidders. These leaders, too, devoured the flesh of those who opposed their plans to conquer the world. If they aren’t zombies, then these people are safe, at least from the type of zombie that craves human brains.

The professional peloton itself now seems to be the domain of zombies. This is where the outbreak really seems to have gathered momentum. The zombie riders now have no minds of their own. Every move is dictated by the mastermind managers driving the cars in the caravan behind the peloton. The lack of spontaneity and creativity must surely be a sign of zombies. 

Another sign the professional peloton is infiltrated with zombies is evident with their training methods. Every minute on the bike is now chronicled and detailed with power wattage, heart-rate zones, lactic acid threshold levels and so on. No human being with a beating heart and a curious mind would succumb to such mind-numbing monotony.

Finally, the selectors for the USA Pro Cycling Challenge are clearly zombies. For the third year in a row they have devoured the flesh of the Grand Valley and taken their show to the elites of the mountain resorts of Colorado and the Front Range.

With so many clear indications of a Zombie Apocalypse in professional cycling, it seems imperative that we, the fans and lovers of the sport, take drastic offensive measures to protect ourselves from becoming zombies as well. These are trying and dangerous times, so it is important to be vigilant and observant. As we reread the excerpt from the poem above, the first two lines gives us an idea of a possible solution:

I will knock down the Gates of the Netherworld,

I will smash the door posts, and leave the doors flat down,

This is a call for action, action against the rulers and leaders of the sport, and the Netherworld is the UCI headquarters in Switzerland.

Actually, vigilance, observance and action are exactly what we don’t need. We have enough of that in the professional ranks already. If these are not the answers, how then do we, the ones still living, not get overrun by the zombies?

The solution is quite simple: Ride your bike. Any bike. Relax and enjoy your ride. Forget about what Contador or Cavendish or Lance are doing and just ride.

Enjoy the scenery of Colorado National Monument and look for the elusive bobcats, bighorn sheep and mountain lions. Slow down and communicate with your friends and family while on a ride. Take a ride with your kids around the block. Enjoy the bike and the ride for the experience in itself.

Riding a bike is living; it requires a beating heart, and it is the best defense against zombies.

Good riding!


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