Ever been ‘chicked’?

It’s always a great subject, don’t you think: women who ride their bikes faster than men. Because men just can’t stand it. It hurts their pride. I’ll let you in on a secret: We really don’t care about being faster. Some people are stronger than others, it’s no big deal. But it’s their reaction that counts. O, men are so predictable. They show their true character so easily. And this is what makes it so much fun.

My teammate Emma Pooley is a great example. If you saw her in her casual clothes, you’d think: there’s a cute girl! She’s only 1 m 57 ‘tall’ and with her glasses, messy hair and delicate appearance, she looks like a character from one of the Harry Potter films. Adding to that: the fact that she’s so British. Polite and modest. And extremely eloquent, with that lovely posh accent of hers. If she makes me a cup of tea – which if it was up to her she would do all day – I always have to remind myself to take the teabag out quickly, because Emma just leaves it in there for hours. Blink and she pours half bottles of milk in your tea too.

So. This girl. Are you picturing her? Are you thinking to yourself: this can’t possibly be one of the best climbers in the world? Are you at this stage wondering if she rides a bike at all, because she looks more like someone who reads English literature all day? Good. Hold that image, because it’s exactly the right one. This Emma Pooley could become the new world champion time trialing, today, in Valkenburg. For the second time in her career.

And the one thing she likes best, in complete contradiction with her charisma and appearance, is – you guessed it! – overtaking men. She even taught me a new word for it last week. Of course the word is not new, it just wasn’t part of my vocabulary yet. If you ride faster than a man and overtake him, she told me with a chuckle, you have chicked the guy. I think we should introduce the word in Dutch as well. It just sounds too perfect, guaranteed to piss a guy of. In passing him, just when he’s dying on his bike, softly whisper chicked! And then watch him suffer.

Lots of amateur riders tell themselves they would ride circles around us girls. O, they’re so full of it. Just read the cycling forums, you know the type. Well, maybe not Marianne Vos of course, but the rest of us? Easy. These guys are the best victims for chicking.

And our Emma? She’s hors category when it comes to chicking. She’s made hundreds, maybe even thousands of casualties. Many a Pro Tour rider was left begging for mercy. In vain of course. She would destroy half the men’s peloton uphill. She’d never gloat about it though. She’s way too civilised and modest. But she enjoys it. Big time. I know because I saw the twinkle in her eyes when she taught me this new, fabulous word. Chicked.

Photo: Freebike Cycling Team / Facebook

Translation help: @ponckster

» Robert said (18 Sep, 2012) :

Nice piece.

Watching somebody being chicked and seeing them taking offence is pretty funny too.

» R. Cutler said (19 Sep, 2012) :

Oh, yeah – but my buddy and I didn’t give the Power Puff Girls the satisfaction of simply gliding past us – that and the three of them had that air of superiority about them that I’m not cool with … so therefore my buddy & I looked at each other and silently gave chase. We’re not racers, nor do we have racing bikes (geared for touring, with rear racks), but he kept up as best he could and I managed a little while longer until I realized we dropped my friend quite some while back. I told them I couldn’t see my friend and thought it best to turn around and find him (’cause that ain’t cool dropping your friend you’ve obliged to ride with for the day, just so you can drop the hammer with some strangers) and they didn’t even acknowledge or thank me for riding with them and holding the pace … Bike Snobs! That just made me want to keep hammering away with them, but watching out for my friend was a higher priority. Anyway, my friend and I still talk about that and have never seen them again – but it was fun making them earn the right to have “chicked” us.

» heviiguy said (22 Sep, 2012) :

Being “chicked” is one thing. Being “old ladyed” is quite another. And, oh so much more traumatic 🙁

I recently moved to Switzerland, land of cheese, chocolate, banks and hills. Little hills and big hills. Lots of hills. Mountains even! Back in my previous place of residence I was a happy flat-land rider until any time I came upon a veritable continental divide such as, for example, a raised railway crossing. “Oh no; another horrendous climb”, I usually thought to myself before preparing for my lungs to collapse and for my legs to shrivel. However, after living and riding in this great, new country for over a year, I can now look back and chuckle; bumps in the road, inclined driveways and even hills(!) are no problem for me these days. I’ve become a superstar climber. Until, that is, a little old Swiss lady comes tearing up behind me on her 20 kilo, 2-wheeled human-powered tractor and leaves me in her dust.
I simply HATE being “old ladyed”. Oh well, that’s what training is for.

* Next week I’m looking forward to being not only chicked but also “daughtered” as my eldest comes to vist us and ride with me after having competed in the 2012 UCI Road World Championships :-))

» Lee said (2 Oct, 2012) :

Everyone knows that the best female athletes perform better than 99% of all male athletes, but out of curiosity I’ve always wanted to ride with elite women – just to see how much they would make me suffer.

» Frank said (7 Oct, 2012) :

I personally don’t care to get chickened, not sure why my other fellow cyclist male are so full of machosism and testoterone and cry like a baby in front of mountains…

» Duane said (8 Oct, 2012) :

Someone posted on slowtwitch a while back about having the words “you just got chicked” screen printed on the back of her jersey.

As I guy I think it is very cool when I see strong women in the sport.

» Tom said (18 Oct, 2012) :

Hey Marijn,
I rode the Ras de Cymru stage race 4 years ago, as did some truly fantastic women riders doing their tune up before the 2008 Olympic Games. So we had Nicole Cooke, Jo Rowsall, Emma Trott, Jessica Allan and yes Emma Pooley competing against some very keen and motivated men, young and old (like me).
It was fantastic to ride amongst that lot and there were times when they had the entire bunch of us riding ragged. Cooke was irrepressible and very clearly loved riding her bike as fast as possible whilst Pooley had every single one of us on the ropes whenever the road reared up. The womens teams smashed it in the TTT as well, showing organisation and precision that only 1 male team could match with grunt. The last stage finished up a mountain and Pooley rode away from a field of very keen riders putting 30+ seconds between herself and the next rider and way more into me and everyone else. She comprehensively chicked every single one of us – I loved it!
Blogged about the race here,
Great blog Marijn, cheers,

» Robèrt said (8 Jan, 2013) :

It’s no problem at all!
Once “chicked” you have a much better view in front of you 🙂
Exactly the same as with speed skating.

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