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  1. #1
    Taking "s" outta "Fast" AfterThisNap's Avatar
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    Hey Tri-guys. I don't get it.

    This is not a troll thread! I am not trying to start a pissing contest or any fundamental cycling argument here, the following questions are just based on my observations working in a NYC shop that has a lot of tri business.


    Why are so many triathelets persnickety, unappreciative, and demanding of their shops relative to the regular roadie and MTB riders that come in? Especially the "middle ground" riders. Beginners seem really appreciateve of all the advice the shop can give them, and the pros already know what they want and love to sit around and talk tech.
    It's the weekend warriors that really make us pull our hair out.
    For instance, an italian couple came in with a huge list of very specific products they needed (certain louis garneau shoes, a polar c150 HRM, certain energy gels). When there was an item we didn't carry/stock (bout could have easily special ordered), we pointed them to an equivalent or better substitute (specialized trivent shoes, most other polar HRMS). The couple became was quite PISSED that we couldn't accomodate them immediately for some triathalon three months from now.

    This happens a lot. Is there some sort of Tri-bible that some people get advice/equipment picks from? Is there some unspoken mentorship that novice riders pull knowledge from? Some of these people, who are not serious riders, shop around in our stores like they are superstars on the asphalt, water, and...er asphalt again. Maybe it's a function of being in a place like NYC, but what compels so many middle aged, in not so great shape, full-time professionals to decide they're going to put their bodies through a hell-ringer of a race?

    That's it I guess, just thinking aloud without inserting the usual "tri-geek" jokes we toss around the shop.
    This isn't to say we think all triathelets are jerk-offs, just an unusually high number of them. Of course there are the gems that come through.
    I.E. That lady who bought a tangerine TCR composite and outfitted it with ironman aerobars for the NYC tri. Tried out several bikes without fuss, gave great feedback, and was just a dream customer to deal with. As a result she left with a bike that fit her like a glove, and is well equipped for her races.
    Carries suspicious allegiance to Brooklyn Machine Works.

  2. #2
    I get high on lactic acid ^*^BATMAN^*^'s Avatar
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    Well see your first problem is.....they were italian...............

    [/joke]

    HAHAHA,

    Seriously, I find that most triathletes I meet are pretty nice. I dont work in a bike store, so I dont see alot in this kind of environment. Though I sometimes go looking for what I want, and if the store doesnt have it, I dont buy. Remember, they may have been riding on the shoe for a while, and just wanted an exact replacement.

    Though, like you said, there has been some good ones. Triathletes, like roadies, or mountain bikers, or whatever, all groupd have good people in them, and they all have the tools that think they are the most important person in the world......

    I live in Canada, so maby my view is different from what you see in NY, I dunno, I have never been there.
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  3. #3
    Prefers Aluminum Sprocket Man's Avatar
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    You say this isn't a troll thread, yet you ask why triathletes are persnickety, unappreciative and demanding. Let's say I were to go to party for a bunch of bike salespeople (as an example). Do you think it'd be appropriate to ask them, "Why are bike salespeople a bunch of ignorant greaseballs? I don't mean all of you, just most of the ones I seem to meet?"

    You really picked an inappropriate place to ask this question. And if I project this lack of social grace into your real-life personality, it's no wonder you get treated the way you do. In my experience, most of the triathletes I've met have been very down to earth, whether they finish in the front, middle, or back of the pack. It's too bad you haven't experienced the same. Perhaps your customer service skills needs a little tweaking.

  4. #4
    Taking "s" outta "Fast" AfterThisNap's Avatar
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    I ask why so many are persnickety, etc. relative to other common groups of riders, with the hope that the reader will assume that I have no personal vendetta against any particular group of rider or another, just a real-life observation.

    Admittedly I did bait the text a little, if anything, to prove a point. If fellow cyclists (or Italians for that matter) can't take a little ribbing from each other, I would say they need to stop projecting their boundaries of social graces upon the internet, and go out for a spin.
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  5. #5
    Quarq shill cslone's Avatar
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    I think the common findings are that it's quite the opposite. Most triathletes are down to earth, maybe a little eccentric, while the roadies get snobby and "holier than thou".

    I spend a lot of time in my LBS and do about 10-15 tris and 20-30 bike only races a year. This is my general observation. Must be a New York thing.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by AfterThisNap
    Maybe it's a function of being in a place like NYC, but what compels so many middle aged, in not so great shape, full-time professionals to decide they're going to put their bodies through a hell-ringer of a race?
    Why wouldn't I want to do triathlons? So, overwieght professionals should just accept their fate and grow older and fatter?

    12 months ago I was a middle aged over weight profesional (220+ pounds) who decided I needed to loose weight. Having been a gym junky in my younger days I know that lifting weights would make me lose fat but build muscle, so this was out.

    I chose to start doing triathlons because I love riding bikes and wanted to keep this as part of my routine. I have now learnt to swim and while I still plod a bit, my running ability has improve. I now weight 190 pounds and am still losing weight. My resting HR is 60 bpm, my body fat is 14% and I feel like a 25 year old again. Not bad for a 41 year old.

    BTW, when I walk into a bike shop, I know what I want and pay for it without blinking. I love being in bike shops and chatting with anyone and everyone that's there. Sometimes, however, I get treated badly by shop assistants because I'm not young or rippling with muscles...to their detriment.

  7. #7
    Taking "s" outta "Fast" AfterThisNap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wattsy_rules
    Why wouldn't I want to do triathlons? So, overwieght professionals should just accept their fate and grow older and fatter?

    BTW, when I walk into a bike shop, I know what I want and pay for it without blinking. I love being in bike shops and chatting with anyone and everyone that's there. Sometimes, however, I get treated badly by shop assistants because I'm not young or rippling with muscles...to their detriment.
    Sorry, what I meant is why do some people suddenly decide to do a tri. A lot of people come into the store and drop 6-8000 dollars preparing for a triathalon without any prior preparation. It seems like it was a snap decision. I wonder why we don't get more people in saying "I was thinking about doing some road races to get into shape". Instead, we have a lot of people coming in saying "I decided to do this and that triathalon and I've never done one before". It just seems so...masochistic.

    Believe me, having informed customers well versed in bike-talk is a godsend to us and we really appreciate people like you.
    Also, of all the employees in the shop, I definitely don't discriminate on basis of body type. I am the only one that volunteers at a bike co-op as well to keep commuters, homeless, and delivery-boys bikes rolling. So I sell $4000 race bikes by day, build $60 dumpster finds by night, and in the process deal with the entire gammut of cycling culture and just enjoy keeping people on the roads.
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  8. #8
    Race to train jrennie's Avatar
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    I think you may just be type casting all tri-guys off A(or a couple) bad customers, I am sure you have had you fair share of snobbish rodies come into your shop and just don't seem to stick out as much.

    As for the equipment example, i relate that to using what you know and sticking with what works. When I get ready for a race, I use the same gels or energy bars and don't deviate, the last thing I want is to change to unfamiliar gear(nutritional or equipment)at the last minute and have a failure. Also to relate this back to the rodies to, if a customer came in and asked for campy record and you offered them dura ace as an alternative, you might get a similar response.

  9. #9
    Smallpox Champion yespatterns's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AfterThisNap
    This is not a troll thread!
    Quote Originally Posted by AfterThisNap
    Admittedly I did bait the text a little, if anything, to prove a point.
    Too much talk, not enough pedal.

  10. #10
    Body by Guinness cjbruin's Avatar
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    Maybe it's an east coast/west coast thing. Out here, it seems that the tri people are much nicer than the hard-core roadies. At my shop (the one I frequent...not own), the tri people all encourage each other no matter whether they are race winners or DFL people. Whereas the roadies/racers seem to think they are so cool becuase they just graduated to Cat 2...so they won't even speak to a recreational rider. This is always funny to me as I used to race Cat 2 and never thought I was anything special.

    Anyway...you have made your own observations and you are entitled to your opinions. I don't think you're correct but whatever.
    Fredo, you're my older brother and I love you...but don't ever take sides, with anyone, against the family again...ever.

  11. #11
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    I have to agree with cjbruin. Maybe it's a East Coast thing. Maybe it's just a NYC thing (you do tend to be overrepresented in the Type-A column). I've found triathletes to be extremely supportive of each other, regardless of experience, speed, or age-group. Unless you're in the elite flight, you're mostly competing against yourself and we're all suffering together. Plus, since there's no drafting allowed in most races, there's no wheel-sucking, blocking, trackstanding, what have you. (Of course, that makes a lot of us trigeeks pretty hazardous on our first group rides. Yikes.)
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  12. #12
    Race to train jrennie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by caloso
    I've found triathletes to be extremely supportive of each other, regardless of experience, speed, or age-group.
    I have found ALL cyclists in my area to be very helpfull and friendly, (commuter, racer, tourer and tri geek alike)

  13. #13
    Just a student norsehabanero's Avatar
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    i dont belong to any one group tri,road, mtn, done them all i think people in this group are nicer
    although the unicycle riders i heard are quit a bit different and fall in their own group
    http://www.thebicyclingguitarist.net.../bios/bike.gif about to start winter quarter , enjoying school so far

  14. #14
    Senior Member rplong's Avatar
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    I have been running on the main paved trail in Omaha, NE for about 3 years now. I also ride up and down it on my road and tri (equipped) bike. When I run, it is rare if a biker will acknowledge me, even if I acknowledge them first, with plenty of time to respond. This is where I get the idea of bikers in general to be jerks. Most of them won't even call our their passing, and several have chastised my girlfriend for 'being too close to the middle'. Just because they are on a bike does not mean they are doing more work. They are moving faster and covering more miles, but I don't see many people that bike being able to do a 10 miler. Regardless of your body type, one can ride a bike pretty easily.

    If I am on my bike, regardless of which one, a few more bikers will acknowledge me, in the form of a raised finger or a 'hey', but not much more than when I am on foot. The majority of the riders who acknowledge are riding tri specific or equipped bikes. This leads me to believe that in my area, roadies are more of jerks that tri people.

    It just really pisses me off when I look someone in the eye, and they are looking me in the eye and I say, "hello" or "hey" and they respond with nothing. What the heck kind of way is that to treat someone?

  15. #15
    Taking "s" outta "Fast" AfterThisNap's Avatar
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    It would be impossible to say "hey" to every biker you pass on a a path or park in NYC. It just get's so crowded sometimes. If you drive, imagine trying to give a polite honk to every oncoming car you pass.
    If it's not so crowded I usually give a "howdy" or "on your left/right". If I'm stopped at a light with someone else I'll start a conversation or at least give a friendly nod.

    Unrelated question:

    I was riding the park yesterday and some guy riding a cannondale tri bike was climbing behind me while tucked in the aero bars, spinning like crazy in a tiny gear. He made it up pretty quickly, but why not just rest with your hands on the drops while climbing, or shift into a harder gear and really crank on the pedals using the ends of the aero bars for leverage (i.e. MTB style) especially if the races are shorter.

    I've been trying to spin a lot more lately, but that guy yesterday was just flailing his legs around to the point that I thought he was going to "spin out" heading uphill. I would spit out a kneecap trying to do the same thing. Is climbing technique on a tribike different?
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  16. #16
    Senior Member CycleAloha's Avatar
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    AfterThisNap, I don't mean to be a troll or start a "who's got a bigger %%%%" contest either but....you should have been in on another thread I was in on a while back w/a LBS employee. It started w/me stating that one (not all) of my LBS's was full of s*** for their prices....anyway and ended w/me reaffirming what I already know...which is most of the time it's easier to buy off the internet. I don't need some little punk at the LBS judging me or thinking I'm this or that b/c I do Tri's or not.
    "That's it I guess, just thinking aloud without inserting the usual "tri-geek" jokes we toss around the shop." Gee, I wonder why people who do Tri's maybe persnickety towards you....they can probably tell that you are a jerk off who's gonna talk behind their backs.

    I personally have done group rides and Tri's and found that b/f and definately during the race the other Triathletes were more personable if not downright friendly.

  17. #17
    I get high on lactic acid ^*^BATMAN^*^'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AfterThisNap
    I was riding the park yesterday and some guy riding a cannondale tri bike was climbing behind me while tucked in the aero bars, spinning like crazy in a tiny gear. He made it up pretty quickly, but why not just rest with your hands on the drops while climbing, or shift into a harder gear and really crank on the pedals using the ends of the aero bars for leverage (i.e. MTB style) especially if the races are shorter.

    I've been trying to spin a lot more lately, but that guy yesterday was just flailing his legs around to the point that I thought he was going to "spin out" heading uphill. I would spit out a kneecap trying to do the same thing. Is climbing technique on a tribike different?
    You have to realise that A) some people ride at high cadence all the time, and B) as triathletes we have to be able to run about 30 seconds after the bike, so a higher cadence keeps you legs loose, and also slows the development of lacates in the muscles, so your legs are fresher.

    There are lots of possibilities as to why he was doing that. The only way to know, is to talk to the guy. He could have been spinning out after a hard sprint, or a hard ride. Just out testing a new set up.

    Oh, and getting onto your aero bars makes a huge difference in everything. You pedaling is different. Anything over about 15-20mph, being in the bars makes a significant difference.
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  18. #18
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    I'm mostly a bike racer but have started doing triathlons. In my experience bike racers as a group have a higher propensity to be jerk than triathletes.

    I think what maybe rubbing the OP the wrong way is that a good percentage of triatheletes don''t really want to be bike riders in the sense of really learning what riding and maintaining a bike is all albout. they just want the bike as a tool to do 1/3rd of their task , and they want someone else to set it all up and maintain it, without any intervention by them. Whereas, as Roadies, we tend to expect people to have some level of self sufficiency with their bikes, and learn how to take care of them.

  19. #19
    Taking "s" outta "Fast" AfterThisNap's Avatar
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    Ah, Batman, that makes sense. I was considering asking but we were both pretty winded at the top of the climb so starting to chat would have been pretty painful at that point. I was just surprised because most people would have shifted up just a few gears at least. His cadence was at least 95+ rpm even in the middle of the hill.

    Aloha, the prices for parts at our shop are pretty high, but most people consider it an expense for the experience and knowledge the employees bring to the table (plus real estate in NYC is absurd. I probably pay more in rent for a studio apt than most US families pay in mortgage).
    You assume too much in thinking that we guffaw at our tri customers as soon as they leave the door. We make fun of everyone, especially each other. Most every employee in the shop is/was hardcore in their discipline, and as such we each bring a different background and view of cycling. Pack us all into a shoebox of a store and hilarity ensues.
    We have Eastern Europe touring roadies, dead-head (but very good) freeriders, tattooed and angry XC racers, apparently the entirety of the Dominican road racing crew, "serious" commuters, and our resident IronMan guru...well, he wears a pompadour.
    I wouldn't want to spend time or money in a shop where the employees weren't in tune enough with cycling that the (hilarious) nuances of bike culture eluded them.

    When we (at the shop) question someone's motivations behind doing a tri, it's out of curiosity, not elitism. When we crack a joke, we're not passing judgement, we're passing time.

    Methink's you also project too much credit onto the interweb. Trim the pompadour from your eyes and chill.
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  20. #20
    I get high on lactic acid ^*^BATMAN^*^'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AfterThisNap
    Ah, Batman, that makes sense. I was considering asking but we were both pretty winded at the top of the climb so starting to chat would have been pretty painful at that point. I was just surprised because most people would have shifted up just a few gears at least. His cadence was at least 95+ rpm even in the middle of the hill.
    95 is high for you? I ride on average at lik 100-105. 90-95 is when I am droppin the hammer in a high gear, like my 56-11 ratio on my tri bike.
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  21. #21
    Senior Member CycleAloha's Avatar
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    Methink's you also project too much credit onto the interweb. Trim the pompadour from your eyes and chill.

    Whatever, I still prefer online.....
    I have one LBS I go to for ???'s or service but I get almost as good help online using live chat w/various sites than I do at an LBS.

  22. #22
    One day at a time H2OChick's Avatar
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    Yes, I know I'm joining in late on this one. It's been a busy few weeks. I'm gonna be that annoying person that agrees with everybody. Let me point out that the OP seemed to be commenting more on their selection and purchasing tendencies/habits and not on their personalities. I do think triathlon tends to attract type-A personalities. Look no further than the threads about peoples' pre-race routines...

    Socially, I have found most triathletes (a.k.a. tri-geeks, tri-freaks, take your pick) to be like any other group. Some are nice, some are as*holes. Some are supportive, some dismiss you. It's a microcosm, just like any other subculture. I know stereotypes exist for a reason, but it's just too hard to generalize with this group. It's really diverse.

    I know where the OP is coming from, and I know where others are, too. In college I was a swimmer and I worked at the pool. This was in the early 90s in San Diego, and many of the big egos (I mean names) from triathlon used to swim masters there semi-regularly. Each workout was like a mini-event/race. It was always a big hammerfest and there were even several "incidents." This kind of colored my image of triathletes since they were my only view on that world. It's only been in the last few years that I've reshaped my opinions, due in large part to the very cool people on this board, and to several friends and acquaintances that were triathletes.

  23. #23
    Onetimepad
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    I suppose I could take eithe side in this series however, I frequently think about an experience I had with some roadies last year. And before I tell this...I love my bike shop guys, hang out there all the time, ask advice - and use it and get get along great with those folks.

    Last year was my first year of tri's and basically my second year of riding. This was done primarily on my own. I moved to a knew city and aggressively sought out groups to ride with. The first one I found was nice and fun but way too slow. Nice loop about 20 miles but some folks would show up on mountain bikes or just simply enjoyed plodding along at 14 mph. I wanted to push a little to around 18-20. So I would always hang back for the first 1/2 and then find whoever was up front and see if they wanted to push it home. I usually ended up pulling away from the pack but always waiting until everyone arrived back at the start and enjoyed talking with everyone. One day they told me about another group a riders that met on a different day and went much faster. So I tried that out. This was very different...

    First impression was ...wow what a bike show ($3-6K bike galore) everyone in full kits, a couple euros, very serious and not a leg hair in site. I'm in decent shape (tiny pudge) but very good athlete and capable. One of their regulars brough his TT bike and caught a rash of **** for pacelining with aero-bars. One gal..also her first time with the group and fresh off a visit to Le Alpe Duez *****ed at him the whole ride and complained that she'd seen people like him cause wrecks frequently because of the aero bars. I was surprised as this went down but didn't say a word...just kept my place in the pace and pointed out debris on the road. The pace was fast...faster than I had planned and on the way back I was starting to suffer. After one sudden short but steep hill (into the wind) I slipped off the back a little and tried like hell to catch back up....what did they do? look back and speed up... I was pissed and hammer with everything I had to try and catch them but it was impossible. The only good part? The chick that was whining the whole time got dropped eventually too...of course a few of the riders slipped back to ride with her since she was suffering too. When I caught them I passed with saying a word.

    My rides with the tri group are the complete opposite. Fun, hard if you want it to be, conversational, supportive, complimentary, flexible....ideal.

  24. #24
    Taking "s" outta "Fast" AfterThisNap's Avatar
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    haha, you guys are gonna love this. Last week my girlfriend and her sister, out of friggin nowhere decided to sign up for next July's NYC tri to raise money for (I believe) Cystic Fibrosis.
    I didn't sign up, but I'll be training with them on the biking side of it.

  25. #25
    Future= Your Boss evanatorx's Avatar
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    I don't think this is a relavent discussion...why do you care? are you a triathlete?

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