Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Cyclocross is a weird hobby, but there are a lot of weird hobbies
My grandmother passed away this summer, and I found myself in a Holiday Inn in southern Ohio on rather short notice. As I was pulling into the hotel after an 8 hour drive with my sister, it was immediately evident that there was some sort of dog show going on. I was initially excited, because as you may or may not know, I absolutely love dogs. My wife and I actually share our house with three of them. The thought of a bunch of cool dogs running around was a very appealing idea while I contemplated the loss of my last grandparent, and on some level wrestled with my own mortality.
I was pretty bummed to find out that the show was dedicated to Papillon's. As far as I am concerned, they more closely resemble cats than anything we have bounding around our house. With that said, it did spark the idea that as odd as their hobby may seem, I can probably relate to it, being that I am an outlier who races 'cross. Heck, who's heard of 'cross? Even the average triathlete has little idea of what 'cross is. With that said, "tri people are to cyclists" as "Papillon's are to dogs". There's a connection, but it's a loose one.
Papillion "show" people are an odd bunch. Exercise did not appear to be particularly relevant to the owners. Smoking did seem to be relevant. Scooters weren't uncommon either. Actually a Rascal could make one heck of a pit vehicle, so I won't judge . . . too much. I will say this, Papillion's are rougher on a hotel than a bunch of 'cross racers after even the muddiest of races. Those dogs go to the bathroom EVERYWHERE.
As I spent a few days casually observing the "show people" my mind started to wander. Is there an Adam Myerson of the group? Which is to say, are some of the owners dyeing their dogs hair or otherwise cheating, while one owner doggedly rails against the cheating? (No pun intended there by the way, I just noticed that lame pun while giving this a quick proof read.) Does one of the dog owners have a tattoo that will be removed via a cheese grater if they get busted, and if so, what does that tattoo look like??!! Is there an owner that throws a ton of money at their hobby and has a "mega team" of dogs much like Cyclocross World? Is there a Richard Sachs of the Papillion world who breeds their dogs in the most traditional way and weaves their dogs collars by hand in a loom imported from France? I assume France is the motherland of Papillion's, but who knows? Is there a Single Speed equivalent that rails against authority and promotes beer hand ups for dog handlers and creates F-ACK stickers for their dogs and crates? (Hopefully some of you get the FUCI reference. I was told if you have to explain a joke, it wasn't funny. I suspect that may be the case here).
Anyway, the mind continues to wander . . . do they have a Dan Timmerman? Is there a Sick WHHHAAATTT!!!! dude? A Skinny Phil? A Chip Baker? A Jen Vander Veer with cool/weird socks? Actually, I can answer that one, unique fashion seemed to be a requirement among the Papillion People.
The Papillion People are definitely a tribe that we may have something in common with. There is also a lot that we don't have in common. Second hand smoke will probably keep our paths from intersecting to any large degree. Kind of sad, because some of them had some really sweet airbrushed denim jackets with Papillion's on the back, and I think we could learn a lot from that. Sadly I didn't get any pictures of the jackets, but I did snag a picture of a sweet team vehicle. See above. I think that vehicle may have best represented the Pointway Performance of the Papillion world. The running dog does seem to embody the Pointway logo. A caveman with a labcoat. Were they the Tim O'Shea of Papillion show people? Unfortunately our paths never crossed, so I'll probably die wondering.
Anyway, sorry for typo's. I've been on the road since 6am and figured I'd put some hotel time into updating the blog at long last.
Cyclocross. Sport of the future.