I told myself I wouldn’t do this when I started this blog; become a writer who just howled about everything. There’s plenty of bloggers out there who just whine, complain, and rant on anything and everything, and I don’t want to be one of those. But this is something I believe is important, and I may even make a series out of it. So I’m going to talk about the rules of our three disciplines, and I don’t mean the rules we must follow during races like no drafting or pass on the left, but rules of being courteous. Think of this as a follow up to my ‘Locker Room Rules‘ post from a bit back…I guess this is a series.
We’re all out there training, trying to get better, and most of us are super focused about it. But that doesn’t mean you have an excuse to be an ass. And I don’t care if you just finished a ladder set and you want to puke; you can still flick your hand up, smile, or at least nod at a fellow athlete. That’s a different post though. Today we’re talking cycling, and a major pet-peeve of mine when I’m training. Did ‘wheel suckers’ pop into your head first?
For those of you reading this that aren’t triathletes, a wheel sucker is another cyclist who sits on your wheel sitting in your draft zone so that they use around 30% less energy, or you can click the link above to read UrbanDictionary’s definition. Now before any pure roadies(road cyclists) or ITU triathletes start yelling at me, I have no problem with drafting if those are the races you compete in. And on a long group ride where you’re not red-lining it, go ahead and do it; it’s a big reason why people enjoy group rides. I understand why you’d draft, and know the tactics it takes to win draft-legal races, but for those of us that race non-drafting, it’s annoying when someone does it to us. Even more so when they don’t ask…
Today’s Rule: Don’t just hop on my wheel.
During yesterday’s ride in Cartersville, I left about 10 minutes behind a duo of roadies, and decided that they would be my group to pass. It’s a little game I play during training; it keeps me focused on the session. I still had specific percentages of my FTP(functional threshold power), but with the pair in front of me, I made sure I held the upper limits. Well about an hour in, and at a point during my set where I was supposed to be holding 95%FTP, I caught them. To make it better, it was right before a hill. I LOOOOOVE hills. However; 95%FTP doesn’t let me attack the hill, so when I passed the leading roadie and heard him shift, I knew he was going to sit on my wheel. I did my best to keep it constant on the hill, but when I heard one of them say, “We’ll recover and let him pull us”, I lost it.
Problem 1: I’m on a tri bike; you should know I don’t draft.
Problem 2: You just hopped on my wheel without asking….
Problem 3: YOU JUST ASSUME I’M OK WITH TOWING YOU AROUND, AND DRAGGING YOU UP HILL!!
My solution to all three problems? I’m going to break 600watts and drop you while I grit my teeth and let out a laugh that sounds much more like a growl than anything else.
OK; maybe I’m not LA, but that face is almost as angry as I was yesterday. Here’s the take home: Most triathletes don’t draft; our group rides still leave us spaced out 7-10meters. Don’t hop on our wheels, and especially don’t just hop on without asking. Be courteous, and ask. I may let you, but I’m going to push it so I drop you soon after. And I’m absolutely not letting you pull. Maybe you’ll get lucky and the triathlete you ask will let you, and even let you pull them around, but ask first.