I get it. You’ve been on the road for a week, maybe 10 days. The sole source of companionship during these times has been fellow riders along with a grumpy DS and mechanic. The only ass you’ve had the opportunity to stare at has been your Belgian leadout man. Yes, it’s firm, muscular, and can crank out 1,500 watts in a sprint, but pull yourself together for Christ’s sake!
All is not lost for some kind of romantic companionship. The race is over and there’s the post-event party! There will be drinking and everyone is in a good mood. The problem is you’re a professional cyclist and probably not that good with normal human interactions.
It’s not your fault. The job requires long hours riding by yourself, followed by resting, eating, and staying off your feet – not exactly great practice for mixing and mingling. Also, you probably look like a praying mantis or, at best, a t-rex. Or maybe the spawn of a praying mantis and a t-rex (the exception that proves the rule is Lucas Euser). Anyways, you get the point. But don’t despair, social media steps in and covers any social ineptitude you might have. Before you blast your intentions to the twitterverse let’s quickly review a few simple methods on how to hook up with that someone special you’ve had an eye on.
1. Your window of opportunity to rendezvous with the object of your desire is limited. You might have a flight first thing in the morning, and if you did well at the race, you need to strike while the iron is hot and the alcohol is flowing. Whatever fame you might have from the stage victory or GC/jersey win is fleeting in the eyes of your attraction. Heaven forbid Tom Boonen is also in attendance and quite frankly, if he sets his steely blue Belgian eyes on the same person you have an interest in, it’s game over. You might as well call it a night and ask the masseuse for a late night deep massage to relieve any frustrations.
2. Yes, you can send a private message to someone via Twitter. In fact this is an inexpensive method to send an SMS if you have a European cell number and the person you are attempting to contact is Stateside. No obscene roaming charges for you using this method! The caveat is that you must first follow them and they MUST FOLLOW YOU AS WELL. If they don’t follow you, or you’re not following them, there’s just going to be some awkward public twitter messages that they can’t respond because you’re not following and vice-versa. Remember this acronym – FFTDM (Follow First Then Direct Message).
3. You can quickly set-up a Twitter account, but you’ll have very few Followers, and it will make you seem desperate. While you might be, there’s no reason to transmit that on the internet.
4. Hopefully you at least have a Facebook account. Do a quick search for that person’s name, “Friend” them, and send a message. You are also dependent on how strict the object of your desire’s privacy settings are. Reporters are discovering that more and more younger people are not as active as on Facebook as they use to be. In fact, the fifty plus age category is the hot Facebook demographic. If the AARP age range is your jam, then you might strike gold on Facebook.
Thankfully the Facebook privacy settings are a complicated system of multiple dropdown menus and knowing what to check to increase security. If the person you’re reaching out to is a savvy user and concerned with privacy, you might be shit of out luck. However, if you’re lucky enough to send them a direct message, be casual and ask something like, “Hey, we’re not sure where the after-party is. Do you?” Casually drop how you, your team, your teammate, did well in the race. Someone on your team must have won something, even a third place in the BFE Town Sprint is worth something! At least you have the conversational ball rolling and (hopefully) some social skills to take it from there.
5. If social media fails plug in any and all information about your subject into Google. You might have to troll several pages deep before you hit pay dirt, but eventually you’ll find them. This is your last ditch effort before you hit up Craigslist “Missed Connections” section. “Our eyes met when you escorted me to the Porta Potty for drug testing. I know this is ‘not normal’ but I felt a connection and ’I’m positive’ I want to get to know you better. Here’s hoping our ‘glow times’ coincide.”
Good luck out there and remember, if you don’t connect you can always try again next year…