“Embrace the suck”[^1]

As a cx rider this ethos means a lot. In cross you’re often racing in bad weather, cold weather, slippery weather. The courses are designed to make it hard for you to go quickly, not like a road bike race. All the twists and turns and lack of traction can make it so the fast people don’t get to use their speed, and craftiness, technique comes to the fore.

[1]: The CXHairs Substack is where I first read the term: “As a resident embracer of the suck, I find it hard to believe that White wasn’t hoping for terrible conditions on Sunday.”

I got to do this at the 2023 Jim Horner Grand Prix in the slippy off-camber hills. The problem of course is that embracing the suck, hoping for things to get worse to bring everyone down to a level didn’t work since I was still below the levels of so many riders.

But still it seems useful. If I hope for great weather and for everything to go really well, I’ve got a lot of room for disappointment. If things suck then embrace it. Know that this is how it is and work with it. Dance with it. Fall down over and over again as you learn how to make things work in the suckiness.[^2]

[2]: I’ve also been reading about Stoicism (like so many white dudes have been doing the past few years), and the idea of having good things and holding them to know they will disappear also seems to connect with this.