Certain guys have reputations for yelling at other guys during races.
I don’t want want to be one of those guys.
I was thinking about this during the first race here at Superweek. When I see someone else do it, it seems really stupid.
Mostly I’m easy-going, but there have been times when the lactic acid has built up, and the blood sugar has gone down, that I’ve yelled at guys in races. Oh, like maybe last Tuesday. Yeah, sometimes guys ride like knuckleheads. Maybe they don’t know better. Maybe they are just tired. Maybe they are intentionally being jerks, but can you always tell?
I know this: the guys who I respect most don’t ride around screaming at other guys.
I was thinking about this because twice in today’s race (Holy Hill) I had guys yell at me. I’ve raced long enough now to know what I’m doing. I had bridged across to a solo breakaway, and the guy yelled at me when I rolled past him. I was letting him get on my wheel and get a break after being out in the wind. Great, I really wanted to ride in a breakaway with him at that point.
Later a certain well-known rider yelled at me, eyes flashing and spit flying from his mouth, to pull through to help him drag the field up to a 2 man breakaway that wasn’t going to succeed anyway. The thing is, I *had* just pulled off the front.
In both cases I resisted the temptation to respond in kind, trying to keep in mind that a. it wasn’t necessarily personal, or b. maybe they were just knuckleheads and didn’t know any better (screamers, despite thinking they should be leading the Pro Tour , can be knuckleheads too), or c. I could chalk it up to oxygen debt.
In any case, screaming back wasn’t going to help. I will line up again with these guys tomorrow, and the next 4 days after that. I figure it’s better to feel like talking to the guy next to me than to feel like shoving him off his bike.
(*) Brick Tamland in Anchorman.
The very next day, I found myself off the front of the race in a 2-man breakaway again with guy who’d yelled at me the day before. He was yelling again, and I realized, that’s what he does. So I didn’t take it personally. We rode well, lapped the field, and he didn’t contest the sprint, giving me the win. So like I said, it’s better to line up at the start not feeling like you want to shove the other guy off his bike 🙂