It's no secret that male road racers have a reputation for being the bad boys of competitive cycling. Unlike other disciplines of cycling, roadies seem to take on a unique mental state while on the bike. Look around races and other road events and you'll see scowling faces and a high-stress environment.
Track riders are a close-knit group who all know each other and can gather at the velodrome to share stories and tactics. When the competition is over, they enjoy the company of the other competitors off the track. Mountain bikers appear to have a more laid back attitude as well, which helps contribute to a more festive atmosphere after the racing is over.
Even cyclocross events have a more relaxed feel—they're almost a party compared to road events. So what's going on with roadies? Why is everyone so angry and impolite?
More: Is Your City Cycling?
Back in the mid-80s, racing teams in Colorado didn't accept walk-ons. You had to be somebody. Potential riders needed to have a proven record before being invited to join the team. Teams like Pedal Pushers, Team Monger, and Levis'/Raleigh had high-powered amateurs whose names everyone knew. There were the same guys who found spots as extras in the movie 'American Flyers' with Kevin Costner and Ray Dawn Chong.
During rides along the Morgul-Bismarck south of Boulder, they would ride right past me and other cyclists as if we weren't even there—not even a simple head nod or wave. To the rest of us, the pros seemed too concerned with themselves to think about some other guy on a bike. It came across as rude.
Fast Forward 30 Years
Road cycling in Colorado in 2014 is as popular as ever. There are junior, senior and women only teams, ones made up of lawyers, sponsored by health food stores and real estate agents, even a team just for Christians. Most of these teams accept anybody interested in joining their ranks. The few developmental teams in the area do choose their riders selectively, but most are a welcoming group.