My informant is a 21-year-old animation student who was a nationally and internationally recognized competitive cyclist in her high school years. She has since given up cycling professionally but teaches spinning classes at the Lyon Center. She heard this word of advice from an older cycling teammate when she started cycling. This interview was conducted during a break in our animation class.
“You never talk about crashing, that’s the number one, because if you talk about crashing, you’re gonna crash. Anytime I’ve ever crashed, I talked about crashing immediately before.”
“That happens to you?”
“That happened to me so… (chuckles) I’m like ah fuckin hell, they’re probably right. Just don’t talk about crashing. If you like, talk about it, it’s just like, bound to happen, which I guess, my old coach, the reasoning she said was that, like, uh, you know that psychology thing where if you say like ‘I’m not gonna do this’ then you do it because you’ve like, brought the idea of doing it to yourself. If you think about crashing… and she’d be like no, no, you can’t phrase it that way, you just have to like, think about staying upright and being alert! And I was like, this is stupid, this doesn’t actually, this isn’t a thing. But uh, yeah.”
With a sport like cycling where everything is so up to chance, crashes are one of the scarier possibilities during a race. It makes sense that there would be superstition about it, especially among higher-consequence competitive cyclists.