Cyclocross is Fight Club with Bikes

I couldn’t resist comparing ‘cross with one of my favorite movies–Fight Club.  If you have seen it, it either disgusts you or you think it is genius.  Men in particular connect with this movie, which was its target audience/subject.  I am one of the few women I know who absolutely loves it.  I haven’t met anyone who only feels medium about this movie.  It’s all or nothing, love or hate.

I was a professional bookseller for 14 years and can discuss the literary worth of this piece of fiction (the book is always better than the movie), the role of masculinity in today’s modern society, the sexual orientation of the author–but for the sake of brevity and focus I’ll just discuss the analogy the my title makes.  Cyclocross is Fight Club with Bikes.  I know I’m still new to it, but there are philosophical elements to this sport that I can take with me throughout life. They feel similar to racing cyclocross.  I’ll use some popular quotes to illustrate.

“How much can you know about yourself if you’ve never been in a fight?”  ~Fight Club movie, screenplay by Jim Uhls, directed by David Fincher, novel by Chuck Palahniuk

Agreed.  You learn more about yourself by experiencing difficulty.  These races are difficult.  No, it’s not violence.  It’s not war.  Perhaps it’s a safer expression of difficulty.  Social norms still apply but it’s not called an hour in hell for nothing.  Racing hurts.  There’s physical pain.  There is spiritual emancipation.

“You aren’t alive anywhere like you’re alive at fight club…. Fight club isn’t about winning or losing fights.  Fight club isn’t about words.  You see a guy come to fight club for the first time, and his ass is a loaf of white bread.  You see this same guy here six months later, and he looks carved out of wood.  This guy trusts himself to handle anything.”   ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

The line “he looks carved out of wood” resonates with me.  Over the last 3 months I’m seeing my softness wither and a leaner version emerge.  The athletes at these races are fit, lean, and muscular.  Racing hammers the soft parts away. Racing builds confidence.  You race bikes for crying out loud!  You can nail anything you try for.

“One minute was enough, Tyler said, a person had to work hard for it, but a minute of perfection was worth the effort.  A moment was the most you could ever expect from perfection.”  ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

There are so many mistakes you can make over the course of a race.  A hundred things at least to get wrong, or right.  Having an entire minute of perfection within a race is hard to achieve. Perfection is fleeting, so it’s savored.

“May I never be complete.  May I never be content.  May I never be perfect.  Deliver me, Tyler, from being perfect and complete.”  ~Chuck Palahniuk

Being perfect is no fun.  Who wants that?  Perfection is boring.  It’s the work we do on the road to perfection that is divine.


PS–this parting quote is worth noting….

“This is your life, and it’s ending one minute at a time.”  ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

So get on your bikes people!


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About Karen

Mid-life female amateur athlete focused on cyclocross, mountain biking, and road cycling.

2 responses to “Cyclocross is Fight Club with Bikes”

  1. bgddyjim says :

    My wife digs the movie too… I was happily surprised to say the least.

  2. womencyclists says :

    I did not know this novel/movie seemed to be disliked more by women than men! Hmm…never gave it much thought, especially because I absolutely loved both! And I love the connection–I completely agree! And I particularly like the last quote, thanks!!

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