The Pull

I get angry often, despite the beer, but then I remember:  Every person has to learn all of human history anew. So, here is an explanation of that most complicated, subtle, and elusive act of cycling, the pull. Commit this shit to memory, yo.

The pull is the essence of cycling. It reveals your character. It defines your ride. It makes you a person or a non-entity. It defines you. So here is what you need to know about the pull. What is it? When to do it? How to do it? Would you like fries with that?

  1. The Tri-Dork Pull: The Tri-Dork Pull is done at 35 mph until everyone on your wheel melts into a puddle of goo. To paraphrase Yoda, “There is no ‘why.'” There is no reason or rhyme to this pull; Tri-Dork pulls at the front, forever, because he can. Tactics don’t matter. Races don’t matter. Physics don’t matter. You sure as fug don’t matter. Whether it’s five miles or five days, the Tri-Dork Pull is the immaculate conception of pulling. It happens, purely, because it can. It is the Sir Edmund Hillary of pulls: “Because it is there. And because those behind you will quit.” The Tri-Dork Pull plots a declining IQ to infinity on the x-axis, and time on the front on the y-axis. Current practitioner: There is only one Tri-Dork.
  2. The Thurlow Pull: This pull is done to split the field, to crack the will of the feeble, to demonstrate physical and mental superiority over the herd. It is repeated and relentless. In the words of the Black Knight, “None shall pass.” And none ever do. This pull is only done by the truly cruel. It is knowing, conscious, and designed to ruin. Most often, it is employed on rides like the NPR and Swami’s in order to crush the barking seals and watch them choke on fresh sardines as the split rides away on Lap One. Current practitioners: Rudy, MMX, Ryan Dahl, Brian Zink, Phil Tinstman.
  3. The Racer Pull: This is calculated time on the front, just enough to make the wanker on your wheel spit up a lung, but not so hard that you can’t catch back on. Do this pull when you’ve been ordered to the front to keep the enemy’s balls in a vise, or when you’re in a break and trying to stay away, or when you’re on the NPR and you’ve been ordered to club a brace of seals before the World Way Ramp. Current practitioners: Josh Alverson, Eric Anderson, Dave Jaeger.
  4. The Fireman Pull: This is the most noble and complex and difficult pull of all, because it combines ability to go fast with ability to hurt with loyalty to the team in the face of certain extermination. This is the pull that drags a teammate across the infinite empty space to the break, and, once accomplished, you fall to the wayside like the spent undercarriage of a three-stage rocket. This pull is pain with a purpose, perfectly executed. The executioner is held in eternal awe by all who sit on his wheel. Current practitioners: John Wike, Greg Lonergan, Harry Martinez.
  5. The Self-Immolation Pull: This is the top o’ the heap in the world of wanker pulls. The self-immolator knows not why he pulls and blows, and cares not. He only grits his teeth into the wind, the rain, the muck, or the hopelessness of defeat, and makes those behind him wish they were having their livers gnawed out by cannibals. The self-immolator’s single goal is that someone out there hurt as badly as he hurts. Current practitioners: Bull Seivert, Dave Miller, James Cowan, Sven that Dude from Norway Who Has Thankfully Gone Home.
  6. The Faux Pull: This pathetic effort is barely worthy of mention, except that its practitioners are far better than those human dregs who never even reach the front. The faux pull is a cheap, weak, worthless, infinitely fake “effort” at the front designed only to act as a placeholder while earning some kind of equally faux respect from those who actually pull the train. It is typically done 2-3 mph slower than the rider who swings over. Usually only happens after you’ve been shouted at, cursed, or repeatedly yelled at for doing #8 below. Current masters of the genre: Spivey, Wankmeister.
  7. The Glory Pull: This piece of shit effort only occurs when there’s a camera, video, or finish line somewhere in the offing. It consists of a feeble, fake, weak, worthless half-second at the front that is designed to garner a few clicks of the camera shutter and perhaps a photo by Danny Munson or Phil Beckman or Kristy Morrow. Current master practitioner: Brad House.
  8. The Gap Pull: This is possibly the lamest pull of all time. To do it properly you rotate up to the guy who is on the point, then, when he swings over, YOU swing over. This pusillanimous, sniveling, shitass pull puts the person behind you in the hellish position of having to pass two wankers to get to the point, weakens him, and costs you nothing other than the pride you were obviously never born with. You’d be ashamed, but you’re shameless. The only possible redeeming aspect of this awful pull is that, sitting second wheel on a fast ride, you’re at least doing more work than the wankers behind you. Current practitioners: Hockeystick, others.
  9. The Top 10 Pull: Now we’re getting down into the real shit-pit of wankerdom, and you know who you are. The Top 10 Pull is where you keep yourself in the top ten, usually ninth or tenth, and never move up in the rotation, constantly gapping out, swinging over to catch the wheel rotating back after a real rider has done a hard hit, then sneaking back up again. The benefit to this is that it keeps you out of the Freddy scrum, where tires rub, shoulders and bars bump, and clogstacles tump over at turnarounds and stop lights. It also gives you a pretty sweet draft and, depending on the ride, allows you to pedal with the good riders. The down side is that, done repeatedly, this tags you as one of the worst riders in the group — happy to live off the efforts of others, never willing to contribute, yet refusing to make room for those who are actually trying to move up in the line. Current practitioners: Multiple.
  10. The Glance Pull: Although this is usually a function of weakness, and therefore not worthy of much scorn, the glance pull is effected by swinging over to the edge of the pack (you’re in the middle), and glancing up the road to see who’s up front. You should be so far back that you can’t see, and this distance justifies your decision to slink back into the scrum, as it would be altogether too much work to pedal all the way up to the point and actually do some work. Current practitioners: Lots and lots.
  11. The Neverpull: The neverpull is practiced so much by so many that it requires little elaboration. What’s interesting is that people go for years and years never taking a pull. These welfare leeches are often the same folks who vote Republican and who can’t stand it when people in the real world get something for nothing. Yet they hide in the group, day in and day out, refusing to even try to share the work. They always have an excuse for shirking, but no one cares what it is. Current practitioners: Zillions.
  12. The FB Pull: If there’s anything lamer than the neverpull, and trust me, there isn’t, it’s the Facebag Pull. You execute this move when you’ve been caught out on video or when someone complains about your wheelsuckery on social media. Simply go to your keyboard and tell people how hard you pulled that one time on Lap Three.

Okay, kids, any questions? No? Good. Class dismissed.

39 thoughts on “The Pull”

  1. “These welfare leeches are often the same folks who vote Republican and who can’t stand it when people in the real world get something for nothing.”
    This is an oxymoron. It is impossible to be a welfare leech and a Republican at the same time. Just ask Arnold.

    1. What about the Teabag candidate in Idiotaho who’s on Medicare, advocating for the abolition of Medicare?

      Sincerity. It’s what’s never for dinner anymore, ever.

  2. I think i have 2 more for you. There is the one when things on the ride start heatingup and dick stomping is beginning, they pull to the front and slow down by 5 mph to keep from getting dropped for another 5 minutes. Then there is the one who will NEVER put his nose in the wind until there is a finish for a strava segment and will then sprint his ass off and disrupt the rotation and later brag about his KOM. FKN hate that guy.

      1. if you ever come to the FDR ride in colorado you will know them when you see them.maybe i should shame them publicly. Hmmmm….

      2. The FDR ride stands for frustrated dads ride. meetsin frontof the cycleton bike shop in the stapleton neighborhood in denver every Saturday at 8 am. It is a blast except for that guy. The offender has big legs that are weak and a big mouth that is loud. Pretty easy to spot. Anyone who wants to come should expect a thorough Colorado beatdown butwelove new guys to add some spice to the group. Wankmeister, you are always welcome there simply for the hours of enjoyment you have given me while reading your blog at work.

    1. i have a special disdain for this guy, as we have quite a few in SD… often this guy requires me to go out a lunch, when i should be eating, to remove their name from the top of the digital heap.. all in spite.

      1. In addition to the Pro filter, Strava needs a group ride filter.

        Although, I’m waffling on the Pro filter, it’s good to know exactly how much your dick will be stomped should you try to rise up.

  3. Well, we all have sinned. But, good one.
    However: You left out the good ones. Future ruminations, perhaps?
    Tight, glassy-smooth, rocketing up the road like a bunch of striped-ass apes at dinnertime? Less tight, lots less fast, still smooth, newbies/girlfriends/future wives shepherded safely along while no-shit learning exactly how it’s done? Club ride defeats epic crossing headwind using only one traffic lane with multiple echelon?

  4. Add one more and call it the Republican pull. I guess you would just have a group of riders with no one willing to step up and take charge. And then blame Obama.

  5. I did a gap pull the first time I rode in a proper-ish paceline with four of us swapping out at the front. I knew my turn was coming up but I didn’t recognize the moment the rider pulled over. Suddenly I was passed on the inside, wtf for a second, then I realized what had happened. It gets easier.

  6. IMHO, 10 and 11 are the refuge of the perpetually weak and shall be forgiven sayeth the holy scriptures.

    There really is no point for them to go to the front. As soon as the pace gets crackin’ they are gone anyway. No tributes paid at the temple change this.

    If they pull in whatever group the mediocre/weak ends up suffering in, (mine) then it is all good. If they pull an #8 or #9 while suffering in mediocrity, and they don’t shape up after a brief word or two, then it’s a holy hand grenade for them.

    Thus sayeth the holy scriptures.

  7. Now that I am practicing focused productive Time Management here at work I pushed reading today’s post until 3:47PM PST. This particular reading maneuver is best described as ‘faux’ time management.

  8. I did the gap pull once I was riding beyond my ability and just through poor weekness I would fall off the back by like several hundred feet. It just so happened every time I would catch up to the pack they were swapping out riders. It is not easy though because at least half the time it’s like your riding solo and not benefiting from the pack. You would be much better off in the pack pulling for 10 percent of the time then 50 to 60 percent of the time solo trying to regain the pack.

  9. so you want everyone to be workers, right? hmmmm sounds communist! there is a class hierarchy and although the proletariat riders have repeatedly tried to revolt, they’ve failed – the bourgeoisie sprinters and climbers will always suck the energy of the working class for their own benefit because to them,it’s who crosses the line first not who got them there that counts as a win! if you want to change the world – ride cross, as you know, it’s very nature is to be a hammer fest from start to finish.

    1. And then the Canadian awoke from what seemed like an eternal hibernation and roared emphatically with a self-righteous patois from the bowels of his center-pull brakes.

    2. No, I don’t want everyone to be workers. I just want those who aspire to non-suckerdom to have baby steps to choose from. And, of course, to have new shit to talk about on the NPR. One wanker has already been calling for a “Glance Pull” week.

      ‘Cross, though, doesn’t seem to have much teamwork. It’s like a time trial where you pound your head with a hammer, and the stupidest person wins.

  10. Just realized I wasn’t doing the gap pull after rereading I never managed to rotate up. I simply fell off the back of the pack and struggled to recovered to I fell completley off. Each struggle to recover would sap more and more energy. I guess that makes me weak but at least I’m not a wanker.

    1. Or it makes you a weak wanker. Either way, it’s all good, except for the parts that aren’t.

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