Allow me to translate facial and body language.
"This is everything. There is no more."
When you line up for a race there are certain things an experienced racer can spot that reveal a lot about the other riders; none more than the top tube.
In the final minutes before the race starts you can’t stop yourself from visually sizing up your completion. The untrained eye might consider things such as body type, leg tan, team kit, shaved or unshaved legs, facial hair or tattoos. The bike factors into the equation as well and we often rush to judgment and dismiss the rider on the ten year old aluminum bike.
When I see a bike with a nasty top tube, I know the rider has come intending to do battle. A top tube with dried drops or puddles from sweat or sticky drool that glistens tells me this guy has paid some dues in the pain cave and is ready to throw down the hurt when the gun goes off. When those drips and streaks get a light coating of dust so they stand out they testify to the hurt that went into training. Nobody does intervals for fun. Intervals are so you can go fast when it counts.
This guy looks so ready his seatpost is getting excited.When you see a bike with a nasty top tube, don’t question the rider’s bike maintenance habits but instead give a knowing nod to the rider. While it is good to avoid being too judgmental, don’t even think about touching that nastiness. Aside from providing a training and hygiene barometer, it’s just gross.