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Old 01-07-07, 04:20 PM   #1
patentcad
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Fred Behavior Observation #32

I'm on the local fast Sunday ride today. 40-50º weather, warm for January in NY, good turnout, mostly hardcore racers, several fast Freds, etc. Flat terrain. The ride today was utterly ballistic for January. The peloton is mostly older (35+) racers, mostly Cat 2/3, a few younger Cat 2/3/4. But generally lots of race experience. I was surprised at the speed today for January; it was more like a ride in May. I had to concentrate to hold on when things strung out a few times, but was never pressed to the redline. It's apparent that the warm weather has allowed much more riding than usual for mid-winter; the overall fitness level of the local peloton shows it.

At one point this strong rider I've ridden with plenty of times is taking the pull in front of me. Now every other rider (all experienced racers) had taken a turn at the front, pulled for 3-20 seconds and flicked the elbow, but when I realized it was this guy I said to myself 'oh boy, here we go, never-ending Fred pull'. And that's what we got. It really was a graphic illustration of how pointless this type of riding can be. Here's why:

• If you're trying to propel a breakaway or a chase, it might make sense. This was not the situation. Just a guy hammering at the front either because he enjoys it or he doesn't know better.

• This is a 40 mile ride, and this guy typically rides strong in the first half. But the big boys on this ride don't really turn up the gas until the final 10 miles. And that's when you need the watts left in your legs.

• The guy isn't doing the rider behind him any favors either in this situation. I was putting too much energy to hold his wheel when all I want to do in this scenario is get on the front, pull through, pull over, and fade back and recover: I'm always keeping the last 30 mins. of this ride in mind. It's all about preserving your calories for later on when you'll surely need it.

• On top of all this, I realized we were 250 meters from a STOP sign that was going to pause the ride anyway. I just shooked my head, backed off and the ride quickly rolled up to the intersection. We were all out of our collective misery for the moment.

The guys on this ride who are stronger and faster would never expend energy in that manner on a competitive ride. And this 'Fred' is actually talented, a strong rider. He is certainly fast enough for this ride. But he might find more snap at the end if he figured out that hammering for the sake of hammering can sometimes be counter productive for you and for the guys behind you.

And that's the Fred pattern. It's more about HOW you ride to me than how fast you ride. I suppose if you race on a team you have guys smacking upside the head after enough races saying 'why the hell would you DO that??' and you learn. I did. And when I start racing again in 2007 maybe they'll be smacking me upside the head again, even though I'll be racing unattached. Who knows? If enough guys smack me enough times maybe I'll join THEIR club : ).

Last edited by patentcad; 01-07-07 at 06:00 PM.
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Old 01-07-07, 06:14 PM   #2
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condense to 4 lines, pls.

no one's gonna read all that.
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Old 01-07-07, 06:21 PM   #3
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It is very frustrating to have a guy out there just towing away. To many riders, they feel pride in being able to pull the pack. When I first started racing, there were always new guys who would brag about towing the whole field, but then got pissed off that people would actually have the audacity to sprint against them at the end of the race/ride, and wondered why they weren't winning races if they are able to tow the pack around for the entire race.

Problem is, someone pulling at the front just slows the whole group down. Usually, they don't know how to ride a circular paceline or think they are showing off by pulling the field.

How to shut down the Fred? Easy. Don't wait for his signal, just pass him, get in front of him and soft pedal and let the guy in back of you pull through. He'll get the hint and if not, just explain to him in a nice way, when you are both off the bikes, how a circular paceline (or 20 pedal strokes at the front and off, or whatever system you use) works, and he should come around.
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Old 01-07-07, 06:28 PM   #4
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email your synopsis to him or paste a copy to his windshield

Sincerely,

Fred
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Old 01-07-07, 07:44 PM   #5
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This happened to me last weekend, albight I was the "Fred." I've only been on a road bike for a month now, but I come from an accomplished background in XC running and swimming. I was able to keep with the paceline just fine, but I made the msitake of pulling too long and it apparently upset someone. No big deal, another guy explained it to me in a very informative manner, and this helped me figure it out for yesterday's ride. If someone doesn't know how to function in a rotating paceline, educate them on how it's done the first time they screw up so they know better the next time. My $.02.
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Old 01-07-07, 09:30 PM   #6
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Ahhh...echoes of the "We're going to yell at you!" thread...
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Old 01-07-07, 10:19 PM   #7
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Ahhh...echoes of the "We're going to yell at you!" thread...
that was a good one.
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Old 01-07-07, 10:42 PM   #8
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someone bump it, i was thinking about it the other day..
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Old 01-07-07, 11:08 PM   #9
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I don't yell at the Freds. I'll offer a friendly hint to one every now and again - point out there may be a smarter way to ride. I did that with a guy two weeks ago and he took it rather well - he seemed grateful for the hint. These guys usually simply don't know any better- because unless they are racing with a team, nobody says boo to them about their riding tactics.

If you tell them and they don't care - that's their choice. Nothing to get upset over, we're all doing this for fun (and the degree to which some serious racers seem to lose sight of that is astonishing). I shy away from it because I don't want to piss anybody off. I ain't no stinkin' cycling coach. I'm just a peloton dog riding in the back wondering 'who the F is driving this train today?' half the time. On my good days I'm on the front. Not today. I was toast. But I did not get shelled.

After 136 miles this unseasonably warm weekend, I am doing NOTHING tomorrow.
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Old 01-07-07, 11:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patentcad
I don't yell at the Freds. I'll offer a friendly hint to one every now and again - point out there may be a smarter way to ride. I did that with a guy two weeks ago and he took it rather well - he seemed grateful for the hint. These guys usually simply don't know any better- because unless they are racing with a team, nobody says boo to them about their riding tactics.
Aw, I wasn't suggesting that you were, or would. Just the direction some of the replies were going ("Freds should take lessons before joining a paceline" versus "Experienced riders should help" kinda thing), reminded me of that thread.

I'll save bumping it for around April, when the "Group Riding Etiquette?" threads start to peak. Come to think of it, that's probably a good time to bump a leg-shaving thread, too.
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Old 01-07-07, 11:30 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 'nother
Aw, I wasn't suggesting that you were, or would. Just the direction some of the replies were going ("Freds should take lessons before joining a paceline" versus "Experienced riders should help" kinda thing), reminded me of that thread.

I'll save bumping it for around April, when the "Group Riding Etiquette?" threads start to peak. Come to think of it, that's probably a good time to bump a leg-shaving thread, too.
I have to admit that after two years back doing this again I'm more annoyed by the silly elitist racer bullsiht than the Fredosity - although I'm not sure which is more laughable. At the end of the day I spend 80%+ of the time riding alone. But those group rides are very entertaining.
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Old 01-08-07, 08:24 AM   #12
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I'm always amused by the fact that you'll spend so much time crafting your rants then a few posts later say that you really don't care. It's pretty obvious that this guy got under your skin. Personally on our fast training ride if some one wants stick his nose in the wind for a huge pull, I'll be more than happy to suck his wheel and save my energy for the climb and sprint that lays ahead.
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Old 01-08-07, 08:26 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by El Diablo Rojo
I'm always amused by the fact that you'll spend so much time crafting your rants then a few posts later say that you really don't care. It's pretty obvious that this guy got under your skin. Personally on our fast training ride if some one wants stick his nose in the wind for a huge pull, I'll be more than happy to suck his wheel and save my energy for the climb and sprint that lays ahead.
Hehe... +1. If someone wants to kill himself and pull me along a bit, there'll be no complaints from me.
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Old 01-08-07, 08:32 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El Diablo Rojo
I'm always amused by the fact that you'll spend so much time crafting your rants then a few posts later say that you really don't care. It's pretty obvious that this guy got under your skin. Personally on our fast training ride if some one wants stick his nose in the wind for a huge pull, I'll be more than happy to suck his wheel and save my energy for the climb and sprint that lays ahead.
Read the post again. The point appears to have exceeded your mental bandwidth. This is typical Fredosity.

Take two Fredcedrin and call me in the morning.

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Old 01-08-07, 08:32 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by El Diablo Rojo
I'm always amused by the fact that you'll spend so much time crafting your rants then a few posts later say that you really don't care. It's pretty obvious that this guy got under your skin. Personally on our fast training ride if some one wants stick his nose in the wind for a huge pull, I'll be more than happy to suck his wheel and save my energy for the climb and sprint that lays ahead.
does it make me an awful person for agreeing with this??
bah, Ill get over it
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Old 01-08-07, 08:37 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patentcad
I don't yell at the Freds. I'll offer a friendly hint to one every now and again - point out there may be a smarter way to ride. I did that with a guy two weeks ago and he took it rather well - he seemed grateful for the hint. These guys usually simply don't know any better- because unless they are racing with a team, nobody says boo to them about their riding tactics.

If you tell them and they don't care - that's their choice. Nothing to get upset over, we're all doing this for fun (and the degree to which some serious racers seem to lose sight of that is astonishing). I shy away from it because I don't want to piss anybody off. I ain't no stinkin' cycling coach. I'm just a peloton dog riding in the back wondering 'who the F is driving this train today?' half the time. On my good days I'm on the front. Not today. I was toast. But I did not get shelled.

After 136 miles this unseasonably warm weekend, I am doing NOTHING tomorrow.
The Freds also gotta learn to get a thick skin. Riding in the peleton is a lot closer to being in war, where you dispense with niceties and get to the point, than it is to laying on a psychiatrists couch. The shrink will you couch everything in terms of "suggestions". "If I were riding in the peleton I would ..." or "What works for others is ...". This approach does not work in a peleton.

Riding in the peleton, you have to be clear and forceful because it could be potentially dangerous, so you yell "Get off the front!" Nothing personal and the Fred shouldn't take it as so. Explain it to him after the ride.
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Old 01-08-07, 08:48 AM   #17
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>>because it could be potentially dangerous, so you yell "Get off the front!" Nothing personal and the Fred shouldn't take it as so. Explain it to him after the ride.<<

It wasn't dangerous. It was dopey. The only real danger was Fred detonation later in the ride. Which often happens thanks to pointless exertions such as the one described above. I don't hang out afterwards for the post-ride back slapping. That got old a long time ago. I ride back to my friend's house with him or to my car.
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Old 01-08-07, 09:06 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patentcad
Read the post again. The point appears to have exceeded your mental bandwidth. This is typical Fredosity.

Take two Fredcedrin and call me in the morning.
I'm really trying to keep up with your brilliance, me being of little mental bandwidth and all, but why is it that you care about this sh#t so much? You go on this long rant in your OP then you post this "If you tell them and they don't care - that's their choice. Nothing to get upset over, we're all doing this for fun". Either this Fred problem is something you care passionately about and feel the need to cleanse the world of or your just out there having fun and it's nothing to get upset about. If it's the latter why post this to begin with?
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Old 01-08-07, 09:08 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by blonduathlongrl
does it make me an awful person for agreeing with this??
bah, Ill get over it
No it makes you a rational person who cares more about what you are doing than the one or two riders who don't 'follow' the rules. Or it makes you a person of limited mental bandwidth...take your pick
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Old 01-08-07, 09:10 AM   #20
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>>and feel the need to cleanse the world <<

You're scaring me. I never said anything about 'Fred cleansing'. While that may be in keeping with your strange avatar, you might consider getting a grip.
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Old 01-08-07, 09:12 AM   #21
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Looks like USA Cycling is aware of the "Fred Behaviour" issues as well.

One of their rule changes for 2007 (this has to the most obvious rule in the book, but sadly it seems there's some idiots out there who have tried it):
Radio Usage
The rule for radio usage during races has been clarified to eliminate
the possibility of riders wearing audio playback devices (Walkmans, MP3
players, etc…) during a race.
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Old 01-08-07, 09:14 AM   #22
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Looks like USA Cycling is aware of the "Fred Behaviour" issues as well.

One of their rule changes for 2007 (this has to the most obvious rule in the book, but sadly it seems there's some idiots out there who have tried it):
Radio Usage
The rule for radio usage during races has been clarified to eliminate
the possibility of riders wearing audio playback devices (Walkmans, MP3
players, etc…) during a race.
Good thing they cleared that up. Whew.

Once I get my surgically implanted bluetooth iPod headphones they'll never catch me.
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Old 01-08-07, 09:15 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by patentcad
>>because it could be potentially dangerous, so you yell "Get off the front!" Nothing personal and the Fred shouldn't take it as so. Explain it to him after the ride.<<

It wasn't dangerous. It was dopey. The only real danger was Fred detonation later in the ride. Which often happens thanks to pointless exertions such as the one described above. I don't hang out afterwards for the post-ride back slapping. That got old a long time ago. I ride back to my friend's house with him or to my car.
So why not just let him go? I mean if the pace was too hot for you and the others, why not just let him go his merry way, taking your pull at the 'proper' pace, rather than wearing yourself out trying to keep his pace? If you know he's gonna blow up anyway you'd just reel him in later, right? Wouldn't this help to make your point when you explain it to him later? Of course I'm just a Fred and not well versed in non-Fred racing tactics.
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Old 01-08-07, 09:18 AM   #24
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>>So why not just let him go?<<

I did, I say it in the original post. I knew that it was going to be rainy today and that this would strike a few nerves.

You guys need something to do when it rains.
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Old 01-08-07, 09:38 AM   #25
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Hey, for all of you patentcad bashers, I just wanted to point out that he's exercised considerable restraint by not having used the word 'weenie' in this thread thus far, so cut him a little slack

Edit: and it's not even raining here today!
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