Fans & Spectators
52“Since 1993, I follow the races as ‘The Devil’ as I felt that there was something missing among the fans. Someone who cheers them up, fans as well as riders, and who gives the races a certain, special surrounding…the riders are passing by, I never afflict them. It’s a question of respect for them. I chase them for the media, only from behind and never too close.” Didi Senft, The Devil, #1 Cycling Fan
The fans of cycling are a warm cheering crowd prodded by the piping pitchfork of cycling’s most recognizable booster, The Devil. Far from devil’s advocate, Didi’s antics may sometimes worry a rider too close on his shoulder but mostly he’s a good angel of the Alpes and audience mascot.
Our spectators set us apart from most other sports. Our open-air arena brings them shoulder to shoulder with us but separated from one another. Ticketed stadium viewers can do the wave and chant a song but exclude every one wanting to watch. Cycling’s crowd is linear, all-encompassing, and allows a worker to pause for a watch. While we don’t benefit from gate proceeds except in VIP refreshment tents at grand venues, we appeal across socioeconomic lines as a spectator sport. We do have body painting, banners, tailgating, and souvenirs. And we also have alien groupie activity like crop circles with messages and symbols in the languages of the peloton, strange statues and street performers, rows of rowdy schoolchildren and clanging cow-bell ringers.
The din is so great in certain narrow uphill routes, a rider cannot hear a radio, one another, or much else. Throngs of cheering enthusiasts become our guardrails. Sometimes this is more intrusive and dangerous than guardian angel-like. So fans beware! We like our devil but his demons can flee because we prefer our angels to be around watching out for us – but not too close.
Prayer for Cycling Fans & Spectators
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” 53Hebrew 12:1
We are thankful for each supporter and admirer of cycling. We ask blessing upon each one and for more to come near but not into our rolling fold. We ask that fan interest, insight, and safety increase.
Ponder What would racing be like without fans? Affirm I love a crowd. Watch and make our passage safe ye admirers; watch ye riders, not the crowd but the road and the race to ensure it flows through our fans and not into them.
52“The DEVIL: PEZ-Clusive Interview!” by Florian Wenk posted on June 30, 2004 www.pezcyclingnews.com
53Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004 Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189