Tuesday, August 07, 2007

observations from mid-pack

so i'm gradually getting back to normal.
unfortunately, that means working my way back up
through the ranks on the group rides.
if you've ever had to do that, you know how much it sucks:
you know what you want to do,
you know that you don't want to miss a pull,
you and everybody else on the ride knows how much
you hate--and yell at--those who sit in and don't do their share of work,
and then try for the sprint.
you also know that if you try everything you'd like to try,
you'll get dropped waaay too soon.
so i measure my efforts,
and put my vast accumulated knowledge to some useful purpose:
saving my ass until later.
the scary part is that you find yourself trying to stay out of the way
of those who really are working,
and we all know the best place for that is in the barto-lounger.
this is what i noticed tonight:
. . . . .
1--lots of new riders. this is good. very good.
it seems like a few are actual roadies. very good to get more of those.
some, just new to the ride.
this, too, is good: these folks just need to learn how to finish,
and how to watch and learn.
. . . . .
2--music: for the first time ever, in my 25 years of group rides,
somebody showed up with music playing on their bike.
not ipods, which are stupid and dangerous,
but a cool, little under-the-seat thing, no ear-buds required.
unfortunately, chris, these things are just inherently dangerous
and therefore unheard of in groups of serious cyclists on training rides.
no offense intended, you see.
it was not a commentary on musical tastes,
but when i'm riding in a group of 60 to 80 folks
of widely diverse skills, abilities and lack thereof,
i only want to hear chains, tires, cars, the chatter of other riders,
and hopefully, other people sucking wind.
hope that's cool.
. . . . .

3--there were new triathletes on the ride tonight.
lots of them. that, in and of itself is no big deal.
but, if you're a roadie,
and have spent much time riding with mountain bikers-
-and triathletes-
-on the road, and who among us hasn't,
then you know where this is going.
as a group, strong and fit though they might be,
triathletes suck in groups of roadies.
mountain bikers aren't much better.
it goes with the turf, you realize,
but when roadies ride off-road,
we get our asses handed to us,
by getting dropped in the single track.
we're not constantly right beside you,
threatening to take you down everytime we accelerate or switch lines.
but, jesus christ,
i lost count of the number of times i thought
that SOMEone was going down tonight
thanks to the fucked-up jumping and accelerating of some triathlete
trying to stay on somebody's wheel.
PLEASE: be patient.
you are a strong biker.
steady riding will get us ALL there--
SAFELY.
. . . . .
stop worrying about whether or not i am wearing a helmet ,
and spend more time thinking about what you might be doing
to the poor guy behind your swerving ass.
i've seen it, and it isn't pretty.
here's a tip your coach might not have given you:
if you DO want to attack,
it's more effectively done from somewhere other than
the middle of the pack.
i prefer attacking from near the front, on one side or the other.
seriously, the only reason there weren't four or five accidents tonight
was because the bike you cut off--without even knowing it-
-was ridden by a roadie who knew how to ride
with open eyes, and with great handling skills.
sadly, you might never know how dangerous you really are.
but it won't be because i didn't tell you!
here, and next time it happens.
ride wisely, boys and girls,
with your eyes wide open.
amen.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Man, I sure miss Cossitt.....

the mostly reverend said...

funny you should mention.
thanks for the belly laugh.
when i saw "1 comment" i figured it would be some offended no-skillz trigeek whining about this that and the other guy.
but cause-it "well, it's all a part of racing."
did he ever actually race?
i remember the story about paul black hitting the fire hydrant in the middle of a kansas ditch for no apparent reason in the middle of a road race years back, but that one was self-inflicted.
and there were classic dirty dick tales of him wandering onto the shoulder and into ditches and creek beds, but trigeeks are a danger to others.
that's why we all watched--with great disappointment--the pro trigeeks on bikes.
they double-crossed us!

Mistress Julie said...

attacking from the middle of the pack.... that's why i don't race the "c" flight in the crits here. i believe that was the scariest pack ride of my life.

and there weren't any tri-geeks there. yikes!

Matthew Pavlovich said...

I suggest crit racing shorts. Popularized in the 1980's they are much like small football pads for you crashing hip(s). didn't dave used to be a (tri)athlete? Also, kelby just reciently posted a article on cyclingnew.com about sex and cycling. Check it out.

Pavlovich

the mostly reverend said...

i wondered if he was doing research on ragbrai, or just advertising.

Zadman said...

An AMEN from the back.

Z