A friend sent me this link to a New Yorker cartoon about annoying runners. It was pretty funny. Then he said, “Man, you could do this for cycling pretty easily.”
To which I responded, “Why don’t you do it for me?”
So he did. Then I reached out to another friend and got more free work. It’s only taken about nine years and a couple million words, but it’s dawning on me that having other people do all your work means that I do less.
- Freddie Freeloader. On every ride, never contributes, but is always there for the sprunt. He crosses the double yellow line for the #fakefinish, doesn’t look when he kangaroos out to the left, and terrifies everyone in his perpetual efforts to avoid the front. If he miraculously makes it to second wheel, will do everything he can to stay there, leaving the wanker on the front stuck taking an endless pull. Freddy Freeloader’s signature training crit move? Get dropped immediately, and then jump with three to go and … sprunt. Having a hard time placing Freddie? He’s the wanker who shows up to every party without a bottle, drinks everyone else’s, scuffs up the floor of the host’s house, and leaves behind a steaming, corn-studded dump in the guest bathroom as his thank-you note/calling card.
- Roadie. Also called “Richard,” which is long for “Dick.” Has all the Rapha, perpetually draped on the coffee shop, smug as a louse in a dirty pair of underwear, always with that wincey face on and a cycling cap with the brim up. His training ride, or rather training plop, consists of sitting around complaining about others or pondering the ride he is never going to do. Always serious and never any fun. Never seen on the front of any hard ride, but is always on the front of his teeny group “training sesh” controlling the 13 mph pace with that “roadie” posture on the bike, arms straight and hands on the tops. Snob of snobs. Runs stop signs when convenient but unleashes Facebag flames on people blow the very same one.
- Weight Weenie. A composite of Tek Geek and the Condescending Tek Geek. He notices things about your bike that you don’t even know are there. Has the best and lightest bike, always spit-polishing the chain and defying physics by adding new gadgets that actually make it lighter. WW is also the fair weather rider who buffs up his museum piece before realizing that the roads might be wet as it rained last Monday, and shoot, he can’t risk getting the bike dirty or having some of the unobtanium break when it gets hit with those hard water molecules.
- Fashion Victim. Wanker who can’t seem to ever get it right. From his dirty white socks with his orange-and-blue shoes, to his moldy green vest over his purple and blue jersey to the bar tape that matches every bike but his. Each visual touchpoint is a place for FV to create eyesores. Fashion Victim’s a consequence of congenital cheapness, unwilling to buy the new team kit because there are still twelve threads holding together the back of the bibs from three seasons ago. Who cares if the team’s colors and designs and sponsors have changed or if everyone is aghast at the see-through train wreck of his butthole? Many of his accoutrements were purchased at the annual Performance Bankruptcy Sale, so the only thing that matches is nothing.
- Coach’s Orders. Objects to any physical discomfort with “My coach told me to ride tempo today,” not realizing that anyone with a coach is a problem to begin with.
- Segment Hunter-Gatherer. Relentlessly pursues electronic achievements in place of real time competition. Every Stravver post MUST INCLUDE AT LEAST ONE TROPHY. Every ride is meticulously constructed of segments and only segments, always including one “sure thing,” an obscure path ridden once by an older fellow on a trike, and one that the hunter knows for certain, if all other segments fail that day, she can for sure get on the leaderboard in this one location, therefore allowing herself to publish the ride. Segment Hunter is awash with trinkets, but generally absent from rides with actual people.
- Rest Day Warrior. Invisible on weekends “resting” from all the hard riding he supposedly did M-F. Upon interrogation, RD Warrior is invariably a 9-to-5-er who doesn’t have time to ride much during the week. Will self-identify, usually on a climb, as follows: He blazes up from behind as you are soft pedaling, halfway up. Fartishly emits choking, snorting and gasping noises from the exertion of catching and passing you. Always sweating profusely and inefficiently swaying back and forth in the hope that this side-to-side swaying like a drunk will gainsay physics and result in more forward motion. Unable to keep pace, which was obvious to everyone but himself, RD Warrior slows, and just as you pass, mutters that he “had a hard ride yesterday” and he is just out “spinning the legs.” May also mention words like “coach,” “interval,” “repeats,” “gym,” or “tempo.”
- Climb Expert. Most easily be found on local centuries or grand fondues, especially the ones considered to be extra difficult. Climb Expert is a veteran of the event, but never a veteran of placing in the top 500. And “veteran” means “done once” and therefore assumes it’s your first time, if not the first time you’ve ever seen a bicycle and a hill at the same time. Expert imparts unwanted expertise to all. If you pass expert on a climb you have ridden countless times, he will explain to you exactly where you are (¼ of the way, ⅔ of the way, 15/16 of the way), that you are currently on the easy part, and that it’s going to get much harder at the top. Graphically details what will happen after you summit: how tired you will be, make sure you get water and gels at the rest stop, know what you are in for on this ride, and then give you a turn by turn of what will happen before getting to “the descent.” Reminds you that there are more climbs to come because clearly you didn’t check that when you registered, so you should save your legs because it’s going to be a really hard, long day on the bike, with other climbs you’ve never done like Mullholland and Latigo. Explains how the event was for him “last year” when he “finished” this epic ride of unparalleled difficulty.
- Pro Cat 4. Upgraded through participations last year and spent the entire season warming a director’s chair at the local crit, imparting disdainful wisdom and analysis to the Cat 5’s while licking the chamois of the Cat 3’s and 2’s. When it’s his turn to race he “forgot his shoes” or is still nursing his hip replacement from 2007.
- The Uncoach. Doesn’t believe in coaching and believes everyone should find her own path … as long as it’s his. Posts details, pedalstroke-by-pedalstroke ride plans on the club page (euphemistically called the “team” page), wattage targets, and overarching explanations of how training in October is crucial for that one race next May you’re going to all peak at. When May rolls around the race is either cancelled (June = Off Season) or he gets a hangnail and throws in the towel for another year.
- “You Go Girl” girl. Loves equality, believes in women having the same opportunities as men, digs being the chick in the mostly male group ride, but mercilessly harasses other women trying to break in. Expects to be pushed when dropped, opens gaps and expects the “guys” to close them, screams when bumped, and always demands to be treated like one of the guys as long they never forget “ladies first.”
- Mr. Misogynist. Comes in two flavors: #fakefeminist who can’t keep his hands off the female riders, or #gloweringhater who will throw a kidney stone to keep a beginning woman in tennis shoes from beating him on a climb. #fakefeminist shouts “Good job!” when being beaten like a drum by a clearly superior woman, but can’t help letting slip phrases like “the boys” and “the guys” when referring to the riders in the club. #gloweringhater is Hyde to #fakefeminist’s Jekyll, never deigning to admit the existence of a woman cyclist, even that one with those medals in her trophy case that say “Olympiad.”
- Ex-Pro. Rode that one time for that Continental Level 6 team in Belgium that one week back in the 90’s and did that kermesse that Vandenbroucke was at. Knows all about the pig manure on the cobbles, super expert with the Euro shoulder shrug, only drinks single shots of espresso (“Americans can’t make espresso for shit”) and is only showing up on your lowly ride because it’s his off-year. Which are all he’s ever had.
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