Saturday, November 14, 2009

Don't Be That Guy

Occasionally, we've all been "That guy". Mine was when I posted an online sale on Zipp wheels to a listserv for training rides run by a local bike shop (oops).

In an effort to save you from yourself, check out the following from VeloNews.

The pictures are priceless, so hit up the original when you get a chance.

Don't Be That Guy
By the Editors of VeloNews VeloNews

As the new season approaches and you begin thinking of all the things you'd like to do—train smarter, lose weight, win a race or two—it might be wise to consider a few things you shouldn't do.

Over the years we've seen our fair share of stupid moves. Heck, we've committed more than a few of them at some point ourselves. To help you on your merry racing way, we've compiled a few things to avoid, and added a few suggestions on what to do instead.

Don't Be That Guy...
...who ignores pointing out debris and potholes on the road. There is all manner of danger out there, and those behind you can't necessarily see it.» Instead, honor the golden ruleR ide like the person you like riding behind. Assume anyone riding on your wheel is blind to anything in front of you, and err on the side of caution when it comes to anything that could cause a crash or puncture.

...who warms up obliviously on a mountain bike or cyclocross course while others are racing. If race officials allow it, warming up on course is fine. But not paying attention will put you in the way of those who are racing.» Instead, get to the race early With enough time, you can properly scout out the course and master any specific technical sections by riding and re-riding without screwing up someone else's race.

...who is unnecessarily sketchy in a race.» Instead, learn how to better pick and hold your line through corners and in the pack Keep in mind, however, that riders with well-honed skills can find holes and take lines that other less adept riders may find sketchy. If you have the skills, then exploit them. Unnecessary sketchiness happens when you take chances without the proper skills and put yourself and racers around you in danger.

...who highlights every single race on the calendar. Remember, rest is just as important as training and racing, and unless you're paying for "training supplements" from Eufemiano Fuentes, chances are your body can only peak a few times each season.» Instead, choose three or four races you want to be in peak physical condition for Use the other events as training. And don't be afraid to take a weekend off now and again.

...who takes a King-Kong pull at the front and then gets dropped. If your aim is to impress your fellow group riders, then not dropping yourself is a better option.» Instead, take a seamless pull Gauge your effort on the front and then drop back into the draft while you still have something in the tank.

...who waits until the morning of the race to fill out registration.» Instead, take care of everything possible prior to race morning Online registration saves time and eases stress, allowing more time for warming up and porta-potty lines.

...who turns up late for a three-hour training ride sans water, food, spare and money, then tries to dictate the day's labors.» Instead, be prepared and flexible Be that guy who's on time, ready for anything and flexible about training. And bring a little something extra just in case that other fellow shows up, too.

...who does the same ride over and over. And over again until you're on a first-name basis with all the potholes and could ride it in your sleep.» Instead, take that carbon wonderbike down a new road, maybe even a dirt one, now and again. Rekindle the spirit of adventure that got you into this sport in the first place. Besides keeping you mentally fresh, the variation in terrain will be good for your training.

Don't Be That Guy...
...who flogs himself in training when he can feel a bug coming on. Your immune system is like your legs—if it's tired, it's not going to spring into action.» Instead, check yourself If the sickness is above your neck, then going out for a ride is still in the cards. If it's below—stay in bed. Don't forget, the deeper a hole your immune system falls into, the longer you're out of action.

...who wears arm warmers with a sleeveless jersey. Do we have to explain this one to you?» Instead, regulate your temperature wisely This isn't the NBA. If it's cool enough to wear arm warmers, it's cool enough to wear a regular, short-sleeve jersey. Likewise, if it's warm enough to wear a sleeveless jersey, it's warm enough to skip the arm warmers.

...who races with untested foods or drinks. If you don't know how it's going to react with your body, the last place you want to try out a new food or drink is in a race. If it's going to add tension or anxiety, or affect your perspiration or respiration rates, you've got the recipe for a bigger problem. And it's not always the item itself; it may also be the quantity or the mixture. If you mix up an energy drink in a weaker or stronger solution than you're used to, you can find yourself with unexpected digestion issues or the dreaded bonk.» Instead, try everything you plan on eating or drinking in a race ahead of time For long, hard training rides, mix up drinks just like you would for a race. Take them from the same kind of container, drink them along with the same foods, and try to consume them with the same haste and under the same conditions in which you would in a race. Try eating combinations of foods as you'd want to in a race. Fueling yourself should be simple; don't complicate it by trying the latest energy food or miracle drink for the first time in an important race.

...who slams on his brakes in the middle of a group ride to pick up stuff on the road. Maybe you really do need that quarter, that bungee cord, or that screwdriver lying there, but you certainly don't need it so badly you have to endanger anybody else's life to have it right then. The same goes with dropping something out of your pocket; your energy bar or jacket will still be lying there, and your cell phone will not have hit the road any less hard if you wait a few seconds.» Instead, let everyone pass before stopping to pick something upIn many cases, you could also leave that wrench or leaf rake for the next guy; do you really need another one? But if you must stop, let everyone pass, look around for traffic, and then go back and get it.

...who creeps up and drafts off someone riding on the road or bike path without saying anything. Yes, it is more efficient to draft off someone else. It is also costs less to drink if you put your drinks on someone else's tab. But it doesn't mean you should just creep in uninvited.» Instead, just ask "Hey, mind if I sit on?" Conversely, if you find yourself being drafted anonymously, do treat the offending party civilly. "You're welcome to sit on, but you should know most cyclists take offense at strangers jumping on the wheel without saying anything."

...who yells obscenities and throws his bike in front of kids and other fans after a flat or a mechanical.» Instead, learn from an untimely mechanical how to be better prepared the next time. Whether it's better attention to bike maintenance, learning the right tire pressures or when to use sealant in your tubes, figure out what went wrong and why—and apply the lesson before the next race.

...who wipes his rear tire without hooking a thumb around the seatstay. We don't need another story about the inevitable consequences to tell the grandchildren. We already have several.» Instead, hook that thumb It may require some twisting of the elbow and shoulder, and it's especially hard with unistays...but it's better than winding up on the ground with your hand jammed between the seat tube and rear wheel.

...who tilts his saddle more than a few degrees up or down. Aside from looking dorky, it's really an indicator that something else is wrong with your bike fit.» Instead, get a professional bike fitting if you are uncomfortable or find you have to do dorky things to your bike to make it comfortable.

...who forgets his shoes. All the technological benefits of that $5,000 bike won't do you much good if you can't clip into your pedals.» Instead, establish a pre-race routine Have a dedicated place for your shoes in your gear bag, and double check your bag every time before you leave.

Don't Be That Guy...
...who half-wheels his training partners. If you want to continue to have training buddies, don't continually do things that are likely to annoy them. People have only so much patience for a half-wheeler. Unless the plan is for a competitive group ride, don't make it one.» Instead, stick to the plan If it's a recovery ride, relax and take it easy, and let your buddies do the same. If it's a long ride, do longer pulls if you want more. If it's an intensity ride, do your intervals full out, and do your rest periods fully as well; base your speed on what your body is up for, not what your buddy's is.

...who gets to the race right before the start.» Instead, show up early Get there with enough time to calmly register, pin your number, check your bike and warm up properly.

...who overcooks himself with mega-miles too early in the season. Great racing form is great—during the racing season. Going too hard, and doing too much intensity too soon could mean you're fried to a crisp by the time July rolls around.» Instead, follow the tried-and-true rules of periodization It's easy to let our legs replace our brains during those early spring days, when the motivation to shed the winter cobwebs is at its highest. But many others before us have already learned the lesson—gradually build into your season with adequate time for base miles. Don't know the word periodization? Go online right now and buy the Cyclist's Training Bible by Joe Friel before you do another ride.

...who yells at his spouse or better half. Whether she's standing around in a sweltering feed zone in the middle of nowhere to give you a bottle, or just patiently waiting for you at the finish, the important thing is that she's there at all. She is not your soigneur, and you are not a pro.» Instead, be grateful Even if your better half drops a bottle in the feed zone or doesn't understand your over-caffeinated ravings in the parking lot, keep some perspective. It's best to act is if people are watching; they are.

...who rides through red lights. Not only is it dangerous, but it's also against the law. Maybe you can get away with it when you're riding alone, but nothing angers motorists more than watching a group of cyclists jump past them at the lights when they are patiently waiting for them to change green.» Instead, stop and waitEven if the group goes ahead, you'll get in some extra training as you work to catch back on.

...who fiddles with bike set-up the night before. Handlebars coming loose, shifting going south, seatpost slipping...these are but a few of the possible outcomes that could pop up during a race after a late-night mechanic session the evening prior.» Instead, carefully check your bike well ahead of time Don't wait until the night before to make sure everything is dialed. Make bike maintenance a regular part of your weekly routine. This way, most of the jobs will be minor, and you won't end up in some comical worst-case-scenario during the big event.

...who gets upset at people for being competitive at races. We paid to pin these numbers on, Mr. "Chill Out, Why Don't You?" Guy.» Instead, keep some perspectiveRemember your sense of humor, courtesy and safety in races. It is just a bike race, after all. But you know what? It's also a freakin' bike race! Let's have fun. Let's race. That's why they painted a finish line.

...who finishes a spirited group ride by terrorizing small children and commuters on the multi-use path.» Instead, use the last few miles to warm downEnjoy a few minutes of easy riding while you flush out the nastiness from your muscles. Treat others on the path as people, not obstacles. Use the path to represent for your sport (and your team, club, gender, etc.).

...who pins a number on like a parachute. In a road race, criterium or time trial, it's an aerodynamic hindrance and an actual detriment to your performance. In any event, though, it's just ugly.» Instead, pin it flat like a pro Start with eight safety pins and your jersey flat on the ground. Starting at the top of the number, pinch the number and fabric together, then poke the pin through the fold. This way the pin will hold the jersey flat since it goes through the paper and fabric twice. Following around the edge of the number, attach the rest of the pins. Pull the jersey on, and re-pin where necessary to keep the number flat.

...who takes care of ill-timed business at the front of the group. Don't wait until you are at the front of the paceline to blow your nose, remove your arm warmers, fuss with your shift cable tension, dig food out of your rear pocket...You get the idea.» Instead, act like the captain of the good ship Peloton Keep the pace steady and the line smooth. Warn us of sand, glass and other nastiness. Take care of that other stuff when you are at the back.

Got a "Don't Be That Guy" suggestion? Send it to us at with the subject line "That Guy." We'll be running a smaller version of this column in coming issues, and we may pick yours.

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