No matter how it's done, when you find a connection it's special.
by David Newcomer / Customer Service Manager
Cyclists are a tight bunch. My friends and associates are, like my social feeds, filled with people I know or have met through cycling. We look out for one another; care about what's going on in each other's lives; we congratulate, commiserate, and compete.
As humans, we have an affinity for knowing that we share stories. We like to show we're a part of something - that we belong.
An ideographic is a great way to show our affinity or membership. You see this all the time in our rear windshields and bumper stickers - symbols to show we ride MTB, climb, ski, drink beer, or quilt (yes, I've seen that too). In Colorado we've got "Share the Road" plates. And a few people even have tattoos (good grief...).
Last names used to be one of those tools for sharing our story. Surnames were used to show occupation - Miller, Carpenter, Spencer, Pilz, etc. Not as much these days.
Have you noticed that last names tend to fall into one of two camps? They can be of the sort so common that you hear them all the time like Smith, Johnson, Williams, or Brown. Or conversely, they're unique and demand assistance in spelling every time it's given. I have of the later. And I've only met one person as an adult who shared it. Newcomer. Not terribly unique, per se, but enough it seems.
No matter how it's done, when you find a connection it's special. One of the many benefits of distance and gravel races is that they provide a bit of time to find those connections.
If you're new to the sport or if this is your 30th season racing, the line up is just as amazing as ever. It's been a cold winter, and that was certainly true for the Old Man Winder Bike Rally. Low-teens and high humidity made for a challenging warm up (I opted to skip it) and the course was going to be a mix of wet, snow-packed gravel and road. I was doing the shorter course at 50K, but really looking forward to it.
With a final countdown and a gun, we were off. One of the things I love about races of this size and one start is the first couple of miles of "sorting things out." There doesn't need to be a race start for every category. People figure it out quickly.
We'd been going strong for a while and I was with a group that was holding a solid pace. Not talking yet, but we knew we were there for each other. About halfway through, I did introduce myself to a guy I'd been trading places with constantly. His name was Fred, architect from Summit County. He said it was warmer at home for him, too, and we laughed about how far we'd driven to race in the cold. I told him a bit about what I did for a living and we stayed together for the rest of the race.
He edged me out in the end and at the finish, over some warm chili and cold drinks, we were sharing the course and race with my wife and friends.
"Hey," I said, "we should stay in touch. It was good racing with you today."
"Yeah, let's connect on Facebook."
"Cool, what's your last name?"
"Newcomer," he said. And just like that, my family grew.
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About the Author
A lifelong commuter and amateur racer in road, CX and MTB, David Newcomer has experience with just about every aspect of our sport. A former race director of the Bob Cook Memorial Mt. Evans Hill Climb, and Executive Director of one of the largest cycling clubs in Colorado, he brings a wide range of experience to share with others. David is the Customer Service Manager at Pactimo and host of our podcast "On the Road with Pactimo." You can reach him directly at email@example.com