At least once or twice a year I have one of those races where I feel like I’m just staring at the wheel in front of me, hanging on until the race is over. After one of those races I tell people, “yeah I was in the race, but I can’t say that I was racing.”
What makes those races worse is how the riders around you — who you normally wouldn’t pay much attention to — can become so incredibly annoying. The guy with the shorts worn thin enough to see through. The guy who insists on moving in front of you on every turn even though he has no intention of going any farther. The jersey that smells like it hasn’t been washed for 3 races. The number that was pinned on crookedly.
The worst is the noisy equipment. At the Tour of the Valley road race I kept finding myself near this guy whose chain was rubbing on his front derailleur when in the big ring. After a while it was like nails on a chalkboard. I wanted to yell, “Dude! Trim the effing derailleur!” I couldn’t understand how it was not bugging him either.
The next day in the crit, I found myself next to Mr. Derailleur again. Still making noise. You couldn’t fix that after yesterday’s race? My only explanation is that he couldn’t tell the difference between that and a noisy Red cassette (which is another annoying sound).
After that race I as happy to get in the car, roll up the windows, turn on the air, turn off the radio and drive home. In silence.