For the Bike Racin', UFC Lovin' Community: You Know Who You Are
There’s a very, very tiny percentage of the cycling community that loves UFC fighting. And those of us who do, we bond over it. So, for those select few, this is a story you’ll love.
Five minutes from the start. Wetsuit on, heart rate low, ready to get in the water and start the next three hours of hell. Vegas for Xterra, flying in less than 48 hours before the race. What was I thinking?
Don’t panic. Just stand slightly away from the crowd and breathe in, breathe out. Keep it calm.
“Hey, what’s your name?”
I look over, and a normal looking dude in a wetsuit has his hand stuck out. I shake it.
“Hi, I’m Nick. Where are you from?”
“New Jersey,” I say, and shift focus to looking at the water. Heart rate steady. Don’t panic.
“Oh, I’ve been there, to Atlantic City for a fight.”
“Cool. Who’d you see?” I ask, semi-detached from the conversation.
“I was fighting.”
“What’s your name again?”
I just about topple over.
“I watch you fight all the time!”
“I hope you didn’t see the one a couple of weeks ago. It didn’t go so well.”
He’s talking about a fight against one of my other favorites, Georges St-Pierre. Holy hell.
If you don’t follow UFC, this story means nothing. But if you do…well, you’re probably confused. Nick doesn’t exactly have a reputation as a nice guy. He’s the guy who blows off press conferences, and sometimes even blows off fights.
But you know what? In those few minutes before we hit the water, he was the nicest dude I’ve ever met. We chatted about his history with Xterra (“it’s great cross training!”) and how it helps in the Octagon. He asks how I got into it, and smiles and shakes hands with fans that keep coming up to him.
The whistle sounds. It’s time to hit the water.
“I gotta go,” he says. “But good luck!”