Here’s my problem and I have a sneaky suspicion other racers are the same way.

I’m sure you’ve all seen those Peloton or LifeCycle commercials on television for their line-up of exercise bikes, the one’s where you have a video screen where you can “bike” along with others. Recently I was in a hotel and decided to try out the videos. After choosing an exercise path to take, you begin peddling while watching others on the same path. I’m not sure if they were “real people” or not but in any event, in addition to their likeness on the screen, on the left it told you how far you were away from each in terms of feet.

Herein lies the problem. As I’m pedaling along at my own pace; which is what I should be doing; I’m noticing getting closer or further away from my “fellow bikers.” Attempting to maintain my own pace, it became a little unnerving in that I wanted to “beat” the other bikers, So what does a racer do? You begin to pick up the pace in an attempt to pass the competition. Next thing I know, I’m pedaling way faster than my “pace!” And out of breath from doing it.
When those competitive juices begin flowing, it’s hard to get rid of them. But hey, there was somebody I had to beat!

Here’s the point: Once a racer, always a racer.

We’ve all heard the term “the needle in the arm,” which may relate to a drug addict’s addiction, but the same could be said for a racer. How many of you have seen the sign on the back of someone’s trailer: “This box contains a disease of which there is no cure.”

Fortunately in the case of drag racing, it isn’t a life-threatening disease. Oh, some might claim it could be, maybe not life-threatening but more life-altering, but that’s another story.

Everybody likes to win, I don’t care if it’s riding a stationary bike, playing a board game (who plays those anymore?) or something as simple as… drag racing.

The other day I was driving along on a two-lane back road at somewhat over the speed limit, however I was following a car doing about the same speed. Together we immediately encountered a slower vehicle who was riding along at the correct speed limit, much slower than us I might add. The car I was following went around the slower car safely to pass.

I wasn’t in any sort of rush, nor was I expected anywhere. I could have easily continued to follow the slower vehicle but no… I had to catch up to the faster car despite the objection of my esteemed passenger; my wife (or was that just “steamed?”). Can’t let that guy get ahead of me! At this juncture I should point out I did make the pass and caught up to the faster car; for what reason I’m not sure, but I didn’t let him “get away from me.”

My only explanation is that disease. Maybe we should call it competitive-itis. It’s my belief it’s something which lives inside all of us just waiting to jump out and catch us off guard. There’s no cure, no drug to take, no Drag Racers Anonymous meetings to attend. It’s certainly not an excuse for any type of behavior. I’m certain, had I been pulled over by law enforcement after my above discretionary passing, the explanation of the disease probably wouldn’t have been accepted very well. Unless the officer was a racer. It still might have not have went over well but at least I think he’d understood; I’d have hoped anyway.

I think anyone can understand the fact of it being human nature to want to “beat someone.” From the days of early caveman right up until today, our world has been populated with that simple need, be it beating your neighbor for a spot in the pecking order of life, to beating out someone to get ahead in a job or in a business. And of course I think you understand the term “beating” has little to do with any physical activity unless you’re some kind of mixed martial arts fighter, then the term “beating” takes on a whole new light.

No, beating the next guy isn’t just what any type of motorsports, or any sport for that matter illustrates, it’s also what our world has been built on. I get a little concerned when they hand out “participation awards” to kids. Not everyone can win, I understand that. In most cases, only the strong survive, but while we seem to be so worried about “saving the planet,” we should also be as concerned with assuring our youth “suffer” from competitive-itis. -JOHN DiBARTOLOMEO