I did the NPR yesterday and am prohibited from describing any aspect of it using words such as “suffering,” “hard,” “brutal,” or any other term that would qualify as “piffle.” So instead of focusing on how hard and brutal and punishing and pifflish it was, I will instead focus on some practical riding tips for all the dumb bastards out there.
You may be wondering why piffle should suddenly be banned from a blog that is essentially nothing but. One of my regular hecklers, Trolliam Stone, rightly recognizes that virtually all cycling-related race reports or recounts of sessions on the indoor trainer are nothing more than piffle casseroles and etcetera. He also coined the phrase “and etcetera.”
I have tried to point out that when you remove the piffle from a race or training report you are left with “I rode my bicycle that day,” which is hardly enough to justify a $2.99/month subscription, which price, by the way, Trolliam has never paid despite religiously reading this blog and abusing me for it and probably stealing from it in closed gay porn chat groups that I don’t belong to yet.
However, keep your enemies close, and your frenemies closer, and to his credit and etcetera, an occasional piffle-free set of paragraphs isn’t a terrible way to start the day.
So back to the NPR. I noticed a couple of things as four of us, then three of us, and finally one of us pedaled our bicycles ahead of the others in such a way as to keep them permanently behind us.
The first thing I noticed is that when you are in a small group of people, four in number, pedaling rather strenuously, you should point shit out. This is so that the people behind you don’t run over the thing you yourself have scrupulously avoided. It is like being sure the next person has toilet paper after you have dropped a few corn-studded bowl breakers down the pipes. It is common courtesy.
The second thing I noticed is that a lot of people wear earbuds when they are in a group. This is rude and stupid. If you can’t ride your bicycle without music you need to evaluate your brain. That is, why is your brain so idle and empty that it must continually be filled with the noise of other people? Why can you not pedal your bicycle and have thoughts of your own for an hour or two that are pleasing or interesting? Why must you drown out everything with your tunes?
Especially, why must you do it when the sound you drown out is crucial to staying alive or even winning? In our small group of people, whittled down to three, I tried to advise my teammate about an auspicious moment to pedal more vigorously, such that it would cause the other remaining member of our small group to be unable to pedal along with him and my teammate would pedal first across a generally known invisible finish line to accrue an imaginary victory.
Yet because he was wearing earbuds he could not hear me, and it would have defeated the stealth purpose by shouting. Fortunately, he pedaled more quickly eventually anyway.
So the point is to please remove your earphones. They are stupid and dangerous and make it impossible to hear the puking and panting of others as you pedal, not to mention admonitions such as “Rock!” “Hole!” “Crevasse!” “Coffee!” and etcetera.
The third thing I noticed is that, as we were ahead of the other people and doing laps around the Parkway, they were unable to organize a chase. Later reports confirmed that no chase was ever organized. Big Banana reported it this way: “It was like watching the Keystone Cops try to put out a fire. Grab the ladder instead of the hose. Put the fire truck in reverse and back through the wall of the burning building. Connect the hose to the gas line.”
Other reports from within the chase group were similarly desultory. “One dude instructed another dude to organize a chase. That dude then pointed to the break, which was minutes ahead and on the opposite side of the Parkway and said, ‘Chase them?'”
So it occurs to me that except for the well-known phenomenon of chasing down your teammates, which every Cat 5/4/3 rider instinctively knows how to do, I would give some suggestions about how to do it intentionally.
- When the breakaway leaves, do not sit up and grouchily yell, “Let ’em go!” as if you have been personally insulted and that this somehow ruins your training plan for 2017.
- Do not go flying off the front 10 mph faster than the group, explode after 100 yards, then slink to the back and stay there.
- Do not refuse to chase because you one time took that pull on OPR back in ’95.
- Do speak with five or six riders. Say this: “Let’s organize a chase and bring them back.” It needn’t be screamed. It shouldn’t be addressed to everyone. It shouldn’t be yelled from the back.
- Do get your four or five chase mates in a line.
- Do bring them gradually to the front. (Note: The “front” is that mythical place where you may have never personally been. It has wind and etcetera but the view is very nice there.)
- Do swing over quickly and allow your chase mate to pull through.
- After all five of you have taken a pull you will notice lots of clogstacles in 6th-50th position. They have no intention of pulling through or helping the chase. They are clogstacles and don’t even know why they are there.
- Do point to the wheel of your chase mate and tell the clogstacle clinging to it to let you in. If the clogstacle refuses, get on his wheel and when it’s his turn tell him to pull through. Expletives are usually required here.
- Do not accelerate to the front when it is your turn such that you open a 200-yard gap. This is called “surging” or “Head Down James.” It ruins the chase and ensures that your quarry will never be reeled in.
- Repeat this procedure until you catch your quarry.
- When you stop at stop lights or hit the turnaround, regroup and continue your efforts. Ignore the surgers.
- Eventually you will catch them and hopefully they will also be your teammates.