I was talking to this bike racer about a bike race that the bike racer had raced. During the bike race, the bike racer hadn’t raced very well; he had had all kinds of race problems that prevented his bike race from resulting in trinkets and socks.
“So, what happened?” I asked. “Before the race you were pretty confident.”
“Yeah, my legs were great.”
“That’s what you said.”
“I had finished up a block of hard training, three weeks, did my rest week, had a good one-hour warm-up on the trainer, did a few leg openers the day before the race at 80%, this was a good course for me, a hard man’s course, that’s what I’m good at, really hard courses.”
“So what happened?”
“I was going great and then I got gapped out.”
“Yeah. The pace had picked up on the hill and this dude in front of me gapped me out.”
“There was no ‘then what.’ That dude caused me to lose the race. I got gapped out. The peloton got away.”
I walked back to my car and thought about this bike racer’s pithy analysis. I’ve heard it often enough. Everything would have been so peachy if he just hadn’t gotten gapped out. By someone else. Someone too weak to hold a wheel. Some wanker.
Then I realized that what he was trying to say was “I got dropped,” but was using this time-honored phrase to blame it on someone else. And I understand. Getting dropped is horrible. It is the equivalent of getting culled from the herd and being pulled down by a cheetah, who sinks its fangs into your throat.
Getting dropped is ostracism.
It is the symbol and expression of failing to keep the pace and suffering the blow of the heavy club against your soft and luxurious baby seal pelt.
Cycling has lots of interesting words and phrases, so I decided to put them all down here for easy reference. The next time someone uses one of them you’ll know exactly what the rider means.
- I got gapped out = I got dropped
- It’s a rest week = I got dropped
- Those idiots had no idea how to do a paceline = I got dropped
- I did intervals yesterday = I got dropped
- I’m on a new diet = I got dropped
- I’m training with power now = I got dropped
- This dude took me off the back = I got dropped
- I took a super hard pull into the wind = I got dropped
- I’m in a build phase = I got dropped
- It’s the off season = I got dropped
- Coach told me to stay in Zone 3 = I got dropped
- People kept surging = I got dropped
- Guys were taking way too many risks in the turns = I got dropped
- Their whole team was working against me = I got dropped
- I was just there to help my teammates = I got dropped
- I’m a sprinter = I got dropped
- It’s a stupid training race = I got dropped
- They’re all doping = I got dropped
- I don’t see anyone pinning on a number = I got dropped
- I got dropped [never before heard, meaning indeterminate]
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