Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sandbagger Origins

Now I'm sure many of you know who a sandbagger is by now. It's someone who races a category too low for their ability. More often than not, many of these sandbaggers have no desire to upgrade and have to race at a higher, more difficult category.

Reasons may be because they A: do not have the time to train to compete at a higher level, B: they like to just pummel other guys around, C: easy prize money or D: like in A:, they are too lazy to train and just reaping the benefits of their talents.

So I was wondering, what does sandbags have anything to do with a racer racing down a category?

So a quick search on Google yielded some good results.

First stop was the dictionary definition on The first definition was "to bank, stop up or weight with sandbags." Well that is definitely not the definition we are looking for. But wait, 2a: to hit or stun with or as if with a sandbag
b: to treat unfairly or harshly
c: to coerce by crude means
d: to conceal or misrepresent one's true position, potential, or intent especially in order to take advantage of

Now definition 2D is more along the lines of a sandbagger in cycling. With a few more mouse clicks I was able to find that back in the 19th century, gangs and gang members would simply use a sock or small bag, fill it with sand and beat people with it! Brilliant! A cheap but effective weapon! With these sandbags, they intimidated the population and went along with their gang business.

So I couldn't possibly go without trying out this new piece of information so I headed over to my dryer, took that lone tube sock whose other half has been missing for years and filled it some sand from my backyard. I put in enough sand to make about a baseball and tied it off. I swung it around a few times and could definitely feel the heft and while I was thinking I could really hurt something, I accidentally hit myself in the leg... OUCH! Now onward to the pesky neighbor dog that keeps barking through the night... (ok now you really think I would beat the poor helpless dog with a sock full of sand?)

Now the next evolution of the sandbag term came from the game we all lose our money at in Vegas, Poker! In poker, a sandbagger is someone who has a good hand, but holds off on betting to give his opponents a false sense of security. If you get pocket aces and go all in, most likely everyone else will fold. But instead you slow play it and then bam! You throw out your good (sandbag) hang and clobber them all.

Wikipedia also has a bunch of other sandbagging definitions but they all are pretty much the same thing. Racing: dialing in a slower ET and braking at the end to not break out; Finance: forecasting low so your profits look better; Golf: play poorly to get a good handicap then actually playing your potential, etc.

Well there you have it, coming from the mouth of the sandbagger of all sandbaggers. You can also go over to The Best Bike Blog Ever and read Joe's version.

Now time to go sandbag those raccoons who keep knocking over my trash cans

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