Rules of Courtesy

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….


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.


3 thoughts on “Rules of Courtesy

  1. I feel the same way. I’m not as strong as you, so if someone gets on my wheel, I’ll slow down to piss them off. For my training purposes, drafting is cheating. I’m not getting any benefit from it. So if I catch up to someone and I don’t feel I can pass, I’ll keep at least 3 bike lengths and off to the side so I don’t benefit from drafting.

    I read an article where peeing on the bike was a way of getting wheel suckers off your back.

    This happened once at Cartersville and it’s a pet peeve of mine. We had a group of triathletes out and we caught up to a pack of roadies out for a group ride (3-4 across). They were chatting on the bike and taking a leisurely ride. No big deal, we all ride for different reasons. As we came up we proceeded to pass. One of the roadies couldn’t hold a straight line and got bumped and almost lost control of his bike. I was behind and decided I needed to get in front as quickly as possible. I started to sprint and get some distance. Their egos couldn’t take it and they then proceeded to push the pace and got on my wheel. Obviously they were stronger/faster riders as they caught up and I couldn’t hold that pace for long anyway. I slowed down to let them pass. So if you’re a fast cyclist, don’t ride in a pack 3-4 across taking up the entire lane slowing everyone behind you and then drop the hammer when you get passed.

  2. I don’t like riding by myself in Cartersville for the SAME reason. Something about that ride that people think it’s okay to just hop on your wheel without asking or even saying “hello”. I hate to pull the old “female out there alone” thing, but it really freaks me out because what the hell would I do if that guy turns out to not be “a nice guy”. So please fellas, give me a heads up and I’ll let ya know if it’s okay. There are times when I like the extra work and I’ll say “sure” and then proceed to talk about the fact that my 6’10” navy seal/sniper husband is riding SAG and should be along any moment haha

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