There is something pure about a rivalry-- a simplicity in the dislike rivals have toward each other mixed with a grudging respect that comes with heated competition. Rivalry is part of what makes sports great and why watch. What would baseball be without the Yankees and the Red Sox? What would football be without the Bears and the Packers? It is games like those that get circled on calendars long before a season starts. It is those games which draw people in like no other throughout the season.
When I was a swimmer, back in the days of yore, I had a bitter rival. We did not race each other each weekend but we found ourselves staring across the lanes more often than not. With each race our rivalry grew and the competition got better. Eventually I would outpace him and the competition ceased but while it was on going it produced some magical races.
In the world of bike racing I have missed out on that for some time. So you can imagine my happiness when Nick Versus Gravity brought back the joy of rivalry to my life. It started subtle, a text taunting me about his prowess in CX followed by a Facebook message encouraging me to bring my "A" game. Then came his assurances I would find myself in the tape. Because of a trial scheduled this September I was not able to open the CX season in MABRA but sure enough when Winchester rolled around I got to line up right behind him and this is what ensued:
Granted neither of us won the race but all the fireworks do not have to be at the front of the field right? In the end his mouth was bigger than the wattage he could throw down...however he did go down a bunch of times. We have not resumed our rivalry yet because frankly Nick Versus Gravity chose to chicken out and not go to Granogue; presumably because it was too much of a man's race for him, and I raced up in the 1/2/3 at DCCX.
Come Ed Sanders the Rivalry will resume. This one is likely to get ugly.