Every now and then, as we gather up for the regular weekend hammerfest ride, there will be some new guy all full of piss and vinegar strutting around, talking too loud, and jumping into the middle of conversations about gear or training or some recent race with comments that just don't fit.
Somewhere around 5k in, as the group rolls out for the 5 hour ride- settling in, chatting a bit - this guy will go to the front and push the pace. It's never enough to stop the conversations but it's enough for guys to close up the gaps and get a bit annoyed because they haven't switched on their iPods or finished the apple they were eating.
As the ride progresses the first little rise approaches and this same guy goes to the front then shuts it off at the top. The ride jams up and spreads across the road.
The riders sort themselves out again as the pace picks up on the way back down.
Each small rise, overpass, or grade of any kind the same thing happens.
Finally the pace picks up and as riders rotate through this guy hits the front. He accelerates; Not hard enough to worry anyone, just hard enough to be an annoyance. Once again the rhythm of the ride is disrupted for no purpose what so ever.
The group settles back into a groove. Finally, attacks come but they are real attacks. Jumps that force people to dig. Jumps that drive snot out of your nose and blur your vision as you fixate on the rear hub in front of you. Attacks on climbs that carry speed up and OVER the climbs and force guys to chase on the descents.
Breaks form. Chases form. The ride regroups.
Hours later we all cool down together minus a few guys who know their way home.
We stop, chat, throw back a coke, finish a power bar and the group fragments into many smaller groups who spin their way home.
No one asks about 'that guy' or even remembers when he came off the back.
We usually never see him again.