Big Ring Worship
The following is from Brother Shawn Kingrey. We first got to know each other thorugh Mark Twight and his amazing Gym Jones project. When it comes to training, racing and living Big Ring Brother Shawn gets it!
After about my forth hard pull on the front one of my competitors asked are you from Portland? I was a bit baffled, “No, I’m from Colorado”. “I noticed your kit and thought…” I realized he was confusing The Church of the Big Ring with Cross Crusade, I informed him that COTBR was an SLC based team, and his response was priceless! “They are both kind of the same thing right? Bike worship and all…”
I’m not going to speak for Cross Crusade. For me Church of the Big Ring isn’t about “bike worship”, it is not even about bike racing, it is an attitude, a way you live your life. When Art states “Wake up, Kick Ass, Repeat”, it applies to every aspect of life. The Church of the Big Ring is just a cycling specific microcosm of that philosophy. Sure we might be poking good natured fun at religion (“Sorta like a religion, but more ethical”). With all that said the bike should be exalted and is totally worthy of complete devotion.
It might not be about racing but you should race your bike and if you race, you should ride on the front, don’t shy away from your share of the donkey’s work, attack, be aggressive! You might win, you might blow up but at least you grabbed life by the neck. If you race and ride this way you will probably live your life in the same manner. This for me is what Church of the Big Ring stands for. We are not Velominati (which in my humble opinion is a cool website) with a list of rules, it is more about an approach and a philosophy rather than ritual and ceremony. We love our sport and respect the traditions, but we are not bound by dogma.
The Rev said it best: “Big Ring is all about giving your all every day in everything you do. It is about being respectful, of your sport, your gifts, and your fellow competitor. We all have our own Big Ring, we owe it to ourselves to find it and push the boundaries of it every day. Yes many of us race and find validation and solace in that, but true Big Ring is riding for the sake of the ride. Riding for you, challenging what you thought possible. When you ride like that there is no defeat.”
Well said Brother