Clogstacles don’t sprint

June 13, 2013 § 27 Comments

You, dude, are a clogstacle.

Look it up, Merriam-Webster’s New Dictionary of American Cycling: “Clogstacle: A bicycle racer who clogs the lane in a finishing sprint, then rapidly decelerates so as to become a deadly obstacle to the real sprinters who are still accelerating to reach maximum speed.”

I can hear it already. “Me? A clogstacle? No way! I’m a sprinter!”

Uh, no, dude, you’re not. Take this handy-dandy (not to be confused with Dandy Andy) quiz and you’ll see what I mean.

Key —

YANAS: You Are Not A Sprinter
YAS: You A Sprinter
YUNT: You A Sprunter
YANK: You A Wanker

Step 1: Sprinting Self-Evaluation Quiz

1. You are sitting on Jon Davy’s wheel at 35 mph with the finishing line in sight. You say to yourself:
a. “What am I doing here?” = YANAS
b. “There’s no way I can come around.” = YUNT
c. “Faster, motherfucker!” = YAS

2. You come through the final turn with 500m to go. John Wike is on Ivan Dominguez’s wheel. You want the wheel, so you muscle over onto John. Wike hooks his left elbow under your arm as you lean against him, and says to you in a voice as cold and steely as a sharp knife shoved into a warm belly, “You move one more millimeter and we’re both going down, buddy.” You say —
a. “Sorry, dude.” = YUNT
b. “Eek!” = YANK
c. “See you in hell.” = YAS

3. In a race there is first place and ______.
a. A participation ribbon = YANK
b. A hot contest for 57th = YANAS
c. Nothing else = YAS

4. The crazier the finish, _______.
a. The happier I am to make it home alive = YANAS
b. The more I prefer giving a good lead out = YUNT
c. The better = YAS

5. You’re in a two-up break. The other rider turns to you and says, “How much do you want? My wife and kids are here, this is my biggest race of the season, and I’ve never won before.” You say —
a. “And you won’t today, either, motherfucker.” = YAS
b. “$500, but we’ll have to make it look close.” = YANAS
c. “$5,000, ’cause I haven’t, either.” = YANK

6. You’re in a two-up break. You turn to the other rider and say, “How much do you want? My wife and kids and grandparents and boss are here, this is the biggest race of my life, and I’ve never won before.”


7. You’ve had closed-head and spinal injuries in previous sprint crashes. You’re the sole breadwinner and have five young children. You speed through the final, twisting turn when suddenly Twitchy MacGruder goes sideways and the domino effect starts, with the sprint train on the left starting to brake and rub tires and scream and curse. You can brake and stay upright and still get second place and $500 bucks or you can gun it through a rapidly closing, impossibly tiny window of daylight which, if it slams shut, will send you headfirst into the pavement at 40 mph. The last thing that flashes through your mind is —
a. “Nuh-uh.” = YANAS
b. “My family is too important for this nonsense.” = YANK
c. “I’ve GOT this.” = YAS

8. It’s the bell lap, there’s been a pile-up in front of you, and you’re now 75th wheel with three turns to go. A superhuman effort with balls-out risks will net you a top-ten finish, so you —
a. Give it all you’ve got because it’s a great workout. = YANK
b. Give it all you’ve got because it’s gas money to get home. = YUNT
c. Get off your bike and throw it into a pond. = YAS

9. When someone slams you hard in the middle of a full-on sprint, you —
a. Steady yourself to keep from crashing. = YANAS
b. Slam them back. = YUNT
c. No one ever fucking gets anywhere near you in a sprint and lives to tell about it. = YAS

10. The key to winning sprints is —
a. Core strength and workouts in the gym. = YANAS
b. Having a good lead out train. = YUNT
c. Being crazier than a shithouse rat. = YAS

Step 2: Textbook racing advice for clogstacles

If you took the above quiz and selected any answer other than one that led to “YAS,” you are by definition a clogstacle. And although you will never win a sprint, all is not lost for your cycling career, although, frankly, it pretty much is. Below are some rules for what to do and what not to do now that you know your chance of ever winning a sprint is zero or much less.

Cat 5 Clogstacle Tactics and Strategy

As a Cat 5, every pedalstroke of every turn of every race is fraught with potential carnage. Therefore, it doesn’t matter what you do. Bull your way to the front, or hang onto the tail of the whip, the risk factor is the same. So, on the bell lap, you should go all out no matter where you are in the field. The worst that can happen is permanent debilitating injury or death.

Cat 4-3-2 / Masters Clogstacle Strategy

Now that you’ve left the 5’s, it’s evident that you will never be a sprinter. This means that on the last couple of laps of every crit, your goal is the same: Get home alive, get out of the way, and leave the bike racing to the bike racers. This means you should ease off on the pedaling, drift to the back, and put as much space as possible between yourself and the field. Quitting is fine, too. Below is a list of things you should not do under any circumstances:

1. “Lead out” your teammate. If you’re not good enough to sprint, your pathetic lead-out attempt will get you far enough forward to really gas you, make your head droop, and smash into the curb, endangering everyone else as well as yourself.

2. Go for a podium spot. This is madness. Those spots were reserved long ago by people with last names like Williams, Smith, Bahati, Wike, etc. Go to the back of the bus. Now.

3. Take a flyer. If you were too weak to ride off the front with Tinstman and DeMarchi, why would you suddenly be strong enough to hold off a field charging at 35 with Danny Kam, Tomo Hamasaki, John Slover, and Kenny Rogers driving the train? Answer: You won’t be. What will happen is you’ll get out there, blow, and then become a wobbling, weaving, rapidly decelerating lump that everyone else has to swerve around in the finishing turns.

4. Follow the wheel of anyone named “Charon” with five laps to go. Dude! 85 guys want that wheel, and sixty of them are ex-pros. What are you thinking? Aaron Wimberley will bust you off that wheel with two to go easier than taking a wallet from a corpse.

5. Join a gym. You are wasting money, son. It’s not about the strength in the core, it’s about the craziness in the head. You ever see Johnny Walsh or Aron Gadhia hanging out at a stupid gym? ‘Course not.

6. Ask Bahati for “sprinting tips.” He will tell you everything about sprinting, but you will still suck. When it’s showtime, go to the back and stay there. He’ll respect you for that lots more than crashing out thirty people in a mid-field sprunt where everyone else has sat up and you’re still charging for the line like a bull with his balls in a vise.

Any questions? Good. Now get out of my way. I’m going to win me a sprint on Sunday.

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§ 27 Responses to Clogstacles don’t sprint

  • Al Lakes says:

    Haha, what’s worse, guys who call themselves “sprinters” or dudes who think they’re climbers cos they’re pathetically skinny?

  • Al Lakes says:

    I’m an all arounder, btw. Like that kid, Sagan.

  • Chris K says:

    I’m already laughing out loud from the first two questions.

  • I win sprints says:

    Chumps who can’t climb or TT often think they are sprinters. Yes, it’s what they are best at…but it doesn’t mean they are good at it.

    In my opinion there is only one test to determine if a cyclist is a sprinter: Do you they sprints?

  • no235 says:

    Just how crazy is a shithouse rat?

  • Dandy says:

    Thanks for setting me straight…dandy don’t sprints either.

    • Admin says:

      Yeah…but Dandy rides me off his effin’ wheel every time I come to effin’ North County…

  • The Dude With the Funny Helmet says:


    What is the etiquette when a lady rider looks to nudge you off the wheel of Jon Davy or Eric Anderson leading up to the sprint? On the one hand, if I let her in, I know I am going to have to close that gap when she becomes a clogstacle. On the other hand, I don’t want to become known as that “dude who elbows chicks on a morning training ride.”

    Before I get a call from Gloria Allred, I recognize and encourage the efforts of the bad-ass local ladies who throw down on the local rides, but I can’t say I’ve seen too many pushing the >1,200W needed to win a sprint at the end of a tough group ride.

    Misogynistic Dickhead

    • Admin says:

      Dear MD,

      In order to answer your thoughtful question, you must first understand that the female rider is on Davy Dawg’s wheel for a reason. She is there because Davy Dawg has what is known in the parlance as “hunky butt,” a physical trait that makes women swoon, sweat, and risk all in order to approach those massive hunks ‘o love as closely as possible. For you to dislodge any woman from a hunky butt is not only rude and a breach of etiquette, but it can end in senseless violence, particularly when the female rider, after being dislodged from the pleasure spot of hunky butt, winds up in the kimchi fart-filled nether draft of spindly Wanky.

      In other words, although the female rider may not be able to put out the 1200w necessary to come around hunky butt, the general level of satisfaction achieved by being in proximity to hunky butt far outweighs the down side of coming off the wheel. Now, I can hear you already: “Wanky, that doesn’t answer my question. Do I or don’t I let her in when she’s going to gap me out?”

      The answer, of course, depends on whether the said female possesses the physical characteristic known as “pervy ass.” Pervy ass is a physical trait evidenced by virtually all female NPR riders that makes men want to get as close to their pumping and grinding buttocks as possible without committing a workplace sexual harassment violation. In short, if, in her pursuit of hunky butt, she is in effect offering you some pervy ass, it is foolish of you to do anything other than let her in and enjoy the powerful thrusting of her lovely rear end. If you are lucky she will get up out of the saddle to thrust and pump in order to stay close to hunky butt, giving you an even greater appreciation of her pervy ass.

      Hope this helps.

      • The Dude With the Funny Helmet says:

        Oh, it helps all right. I realize now that I have been mistakenly pursuing such foolhardy goals as going faster on the bike, winning races, etc., when instead I should have been working towards hunky butt in order to attract me some pervy ass. Training program has been appropriately adjusted. Thanks Wanky!

        • Admin says:

          Dear DM,

          You, of the millions who religiously follow my training advice, are without a doubt the fastest learner ever. I hereby award you three sprunt points and two no-pulls in our next mutual flailaway.


  • brad bailey says:

    There is nothing better than a pervy ass doing the chamois dance! Well almost; top 18 maybe.

    • Admin says:

      Of course we’re married, older gentlemen so this was advice for younger types who still enjoy that kind of thing.

  • KH says:

    You ever see Johnny Walsh or Aron Gadhia hanging out at a stupid gym? ‘Course not.

    As a mater of fact, I have seen Johnny Vaughan in the gym all winter.

    • Admin says:

      You ever see King Harold hanging out at a stupid gym? ‘Course not. Maybe the exotic veterinarian’s, though, ’cause that boy’s pythons are SICK!!!

  • Chria says:

    I can’t believe it took me this long to find this post. It’s classic! Well done.

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