A lot of people forget how dominant Mike Tyson was in his day. He was a brutal fighter, and his mouth was fairly brutal. I've met a few racers who are likewise brutal kinds of folks. These are the guys who, like Mike Tyson, may "be on the Zoloft to keep from killing y'all."
Do Mike's sentiments about his rivals find resonance with you when you think about your rivals? Consider:
"I want to rip out his heart and feed it to him [Lennox Lewis]. I want to kill people. I want to rip their stomachs out and eat their children.
"My main objective is to be professional but to kill him."
By and large, I believe, cyclists I know are not looking to rip out their rival's heart and feed it to said rival (or, they would at least have the decency to cut up the heart into bite-sized morsels and season it before feeding it to their rival).
Most cyclists fall between Gentle Mike("I just want them to keep bringing guys on and I'm going to strip them of their health. I bring pain, a lot of pain.") and Angry Mike (“I want to throw down your kid and stomp on his testicles, and then you will know what it is like to experience waking up everyday as me. And only then will you feel my pain.”)
The point of all this talk about Mike Tyson and aggression is that Greenbelt, by and large, lacks the kind of intensity that spurs one to, as Mike humbly put it, "want to conquor people and their souls." Yes, Greenbelt is a place with ambitions slightly less Satanic.
Greenbelt, unlike stepping into the ring with Mike Tyson, is fun.
Sometimes races feel like being in the ring with Mike. They feel like work, where you've got to make sure the TPS report has its cover sheet. Sometimes, third prize is you're fired. You're sitting there afterward in a world of hurt and you hear Mike say, "I try to catch him right on the tip of the nose, because I try to push the bone into the brain." Yes, you say to yourself, it feels like that's exactly what happened in that race. Thanks for explaining to me exactly what happened, Mike.
Greenbelt isn't really that serious, which is what redeems it for me. The main thing is not to crush your rival's sons' testicals, but to do stuff you're too afraid to do in a real race.
I've done about 15 races at Greenbelt, and I've never seen a break go the distance. Nevertheless, Dennis and I thought one might be able to stick because of the small field and no large team representation. We jumped with Denzil Hathway and Steven Anderson with seven laps to go and immediately began rotating smoothly.
Back in the pack Dan and my brother went to the front along with an ABRT guy and rode tempo.
With three to go I could still see the pack, but with two to go our gap had increased to 40 seconds.
In the end, Dennis edged out Denzil and I edged out Steven.
The fun of it--although it was painful--was forming a temporary alliance with two strangers and succeeding at making a break stick at Greenbelt.
It was incredibly painful and hard, which Mike would have been happy to see. But it was still fun.