Don’t know much about history,
Don’t know much biology,
Don’t know much about a science book,
Don’t know much about the French I took
Sam Cooke clearly wasn’t a follower of pro cycling. One of the weirder aspects of following pro cycling is that as well as learning about 11 speed gearing, European geography and foreign languages, you end up with a passing knowledge of haematology. Like it or not, Campagnolo, Galibier, haematocrit are core vocabulary.
Maybe that’s inevitable. This is a sport where fans, the English-speakers at least, have to learn terms like peloton, grupetto, col and flandrien. In turn this pushes you into exploring the sport in all directions whether it’s history, geography or biology.
|Call yourself a fan?
Where’s the beef?
Right now keen fans are schooling themselves on the European Union’s “Beef Labelling Regulation 1760/2000” and I’ll always know that the Spanish border town of Irun has 37 different butchers. We’re also learning that blood bags may contain DEHP plasticizers. You didn’t know that this time last week.
That said, such knowledge is often shallow, you might know who Fausto Coppi was but you don’t know much about Italian life in the 1950s; you might know about red blood cells carrying oxygen but little about white blood cells. A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing at times.
Do other fans share this detailed obsession? Do soccer fans study the aerodynamics at play behind a curving shot at goal? Do rugby fans have a grasp of the soil composition in major stadiums so they can discuss the vicosity of the mud? Do athletics and cross-country skiing fans have to learn about “doping science” in order to keep up with their sport too?
In reality I suppose most cycling fans probably don’t know an erythrocyte from an echelon. But still, is there another sport where such a broad knowledge of topics is required if you want to follow it closely?