It’s time for a confession. I’ve done something terrible. Yes, I know many of you will be rubbing your hands together at the prospect of this being my surrEndEr eulogy as I submit to the cyborg masters I’ve been raging against, but alas hatErs you’ll have to wait a bit, as I’ve done something worse than that.

I’ve done the most egregious thing a Semi Pro Masters cyclist can do. I… I… I got a… Job. Fuck. No, not a little one, no not part time either, and no, not one of the Blow variety. Yes, after 2 years of unlimited cycling, with a side dabble in parenting, I have had to work out how to iron a shirt again and remember a staff ID log in. Embrace the horror; I have become a lanyard wearing, PowerPoint writing Dirty meat popsicle.

Not unlike Mark Wahlberg (without the muscles and hair) in the plot line of a rehashing movie where he’s enticed out of his log cabin in the mountains to rejoin a world he swore he had left behind, I’ve been convinced to plug back into the matrix and once again make a contribution to the tax base. I respect this brings shame on not only the blog, but also you as readers. It’s taken some time to want to admit it to people too.

As I broke the news to family and friends, they nodded solemnly at me while their eyes said “Fuck cunt, welcome back to the real world” Naturally after 24 months of the Rodfather commenting on the Gram for me to “Get a fucken job“, he was the most enthusiastic, mostly because he can now lay claim to being the undisputed Peter Pan of mountain biking.

Telling the kids that I was going to become a psycho work beast again was fairly anti-climactic, they feigned mild disappointment that they would need to find a new minion piñata to flog, but quickly went back to the nearest available screen to work on their ADHD.

But it was the conversation with Cycling that I was most nervous about. As soon as news spread that I was once again being plugged back into the corporate matrix I got a text from Cycling: “Mate… We’ve got to talk!” Shit was about to get awkward. There was no way around the face slapping reality that my ‘total cycling’ lifestyle, geared around indulging in riding greed, was about to take a corporate shaped missile strike to its exhaust ports.

I knew there was no good way to have this conversation, so I fronted up with a FaceTime call to Cycling. Straight away I could see it was going to be unpleasant, with Cyclings eyes welling up a little, either a result of sadness, rage, or perhaps both. I tried starting out with small talk about what a fucking legend Greg Minnaar was winning his 4th DH World Champs crown 18 years after his first… Or how about that Vuelta?! But my stalling tactics fell on deaf ears.

“I can’t believe you’ve gone and done this” started Cycling. “I’m just having a really hard time trying to understand this, you know what that PowerPoint shit does to your brain…” they continued. “I had a quick look at our Strava account and noticed we’ve dropped from 300km plus weeks down to fucking 60? Do you have Covid? Are you calling me from the ICU? It’s already started hasn’t it?” demanded Cycling.

“It will be different this time, I promise! I can control it, I’ll get other people to collaborate…”, Cycling looked up in a sudden fury, oh no, I realised I’d already started to speak like a cunt by using the word ‘collaborate’

“See! This is what I’m talking about! You’ll be a full Pack Donkey within a week, slaving over hot PowerPoint decks and finding excuses not to ride or read Pinkbike stories. How many times did you say the word ‘Alignment’ in your first week you filthy corporate fuckbag?” my eyes darted away in panic…

“438 times” I mumbled while Cyclings eyes bore into my shrivelling soul. “Fuck… I knew it” mused Cycling, just getting warmed up “Bet you even did a semi gushy LinkedIn post too, didn’t you cunt?”

I went bright red as my fuckbaggery was laid bare on the virtual table in front of us. My mind was desperately racing to try and generate an authentic rebuttal, whilst realising that I hadn’t worked in NZ since 2009 and since then, my situation had always been either extremely easy or timezone supportive to make a pig of myself at the cycling buffet… But that was now over.

“But, I brought a night light” I stammered, “What the fuck? Are you a fucking toddler?!” shouted Cycling “When was the last time you ever rode at night and it wasn’t 27 degrees?” they demanded. I could feel my foreskin starting to shrivel and retreat. Then I made it worse…

“Ok, so I won’t be able to do 5 hour marathon XC missions midweek, or Mundy Hundy rides, but at least we’ll be able to afford any new kit we want, and just think, the new Megatower must be out soon and I bet its going to be a mullet!” my obvious attempts to try and bribe Cycling only enraged it.

“For fucks sake! Thats like an Incel claiming they can buy all the condoms they want! What use is that if you can’t use them?!” they screamed, clearly now gearing up to full rant mode. “Have you SEEN the summer racing schedule?!” they demanded as they slammed the calendar down on the desk in a scene reminiscent of the peak bunker scene in ‘Downfall’ “Forget the Marathon XC stage races you’ve committed to with the Professor, but what about the trips The Creator and Rodfather will have planned?! How will we go on those?! And what about QUEENSTOWN?! The fucking bike park has been fully renovated!!” they screamed… Little bits of spit hitting the camera.

What could I say? My head stared to dip in shame… Deep down I knew Cycling was right. I had hoped for love and forgiveness, but I also knew that I deserved its scorn and loathing. How the fuck was I going to be able to remain semi pro and finish 9th in Masters Enduro races? Before I could say anything, Cycling lowered their voice and said the one thing I had feared the most, a horror I had hoped I would be able to negotiate my way out of:

“I’m sorry… I know we’ve done a lot together, particularly in the last 2 years… But I don’t see any way around it. I’m going to have to designate you… A weekend warrior

It both hung in the air like mustard gas and also hit me in the face like someone booting a soccer ball into your head at close range. Or worse, like being called a Trump supporter. My ears were ringing and somewhere in my brain I begged for a meteor to smash into the surface of the planet and bring down upon us a sweet apocalyptic cleansing. Anything to avoid being jammed into the WW box.

“I can’t talk about this any more… You’re dead to me” said Cycling in almost a whispered tone. “I hope you enjoy your so called ‘Agile methodology’, your Teams calls and awkward faux water cooler conversations as you drown in middle managers called Chad… Just remember when you’re crying mid 2W stage because you’re getting your face fucked that YOU did this, not me. I bet you even try and use this as an excuse to get an eBike too…”

“Well, on that…” But before I could protest further, the call was ended. I sat there stunned and clammy. I had expected awkwardness, but the sheer rage and disdain Cycling had reserved for me was horrific to say the least.

What will become of me now is unclear… Will I end up in the 4 stage eBike category at 2W, nervously even loading my bike onto a shuttle trailer sweating and hoping no one calls me out for it? Will my entire summer just consist of disdain from my GC Crew? Personified with this look from the Creator when he hears you might be 50/50 for a week in Queenstown:

Wait cunt, did you just say eBike?!” is what you’re probably thinking as all hope is extinguished and you reach for the unfollow button. Well, consider that a teaser for the next post. Assuming I’m ever able to get one out again.

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