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The Rules, or: Captain Sweatpants vs The Guy Who Neglects to Shave

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The Rules, or: Captain Sweatpants vs The Guy Who Neglects to Shave

Old 03-19-16, 04:47 PM
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kbarch
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The Rules, or: Captain Sweatpants vs The Guy Who Neglects to Shave

Ah, spring!

The day started frosty, so all but a handful of the folks who showed up for this morning's races (a spring "training" series) were in tights, and a few even pinned their numbers to jackets. Although heavy on the novice side, it was a typical mixed bag of experienced and not so-, organized teams and individuals, some clearly familiar, some clearly without a clue.

Among the latter was an entrant in my field. I was near the front at the beginning, and looking back at the group forming, the moment I saw him approaching, I figured I'd need to keep clear of him if he got in front of me. Those weren't grubby old tights, they weren't even sweat pants, it was a pair of old long-johns he was wearing as an outer layer. A few moments later, as we lined up, I kept feeling someone bumping my rear wheel. After the third time, I looked around and there he was. "Could you move up?" he asked quite politely. Well, I figured it was unlikely that I'd squeeze in tight enough for his taste, so I just scooted over and let him by, and he thanked me. Seems maybe I should have stood fast and scolded him instead.

I wound up falling off the back, but at the end of the race, maybe 100 yards from the finish, I came upon eight riders sprawled all over the ground. Moments later, a guy somewhat scraped up (with a bent wheel, too) is carrying on about "Captain Sweatpants" sitting up in the middle of a sprint, hitting someone's wheel, and all the other squirrelyness he'd witnessed from the guy beforehand. Everybody knew who he was talking about.

Now, maybe Captain Sweatpants can't afford tights and other "appropriate attire." More likely, he didn't care (seriously, who wears long johns - the kind with a fly, no less - as outerwear?). His clear indifference to the rules of attire was an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual clueless-ness about what it means and what it takes to ride in a peloton.

Speaking of spiritual things, there was a little scandal recently about a certain champion "kicking in some holy houses" by neglecting to shave (not that shaving is a spiritual thing, just that for a pro to break such a rule signals a spiritual backsliding ). Of course, in his case, there's no doubt that he knows what it means and what it takes to race. Some pious folks might even concede that, as champion, it's his prerogative to do things his own way.

At the amateur and recreational level, we typically aren't held to such strict standards, but the fact remains: safe and enjoyable racing, along with every other form of group riding requires attention to the rules. Even if individual instances of not following the rules are usually meaningless, obvious inattention and indifference to rules naturally sets off alarms. Captain Sweatpants may have been completely free of malice, but he was dangerous.

Last edited by kbarch; 03-19-16 at 04:52 PM.
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Old 03-19-16, 06:08 PM
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I think I'm missing something.. are you saying his pants caused the pile-up?
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Old 03-19-16, 09:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
I think I'm missing something.. are you saying his pants caused the pile-up?
Seems like the takeaway message to me.
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Old 03-19-16, 09:46 PM
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"The rules" are dumb.

The guy in the long johns is my hero.
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Old 03-19-16, 10:00 PM
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Sweatpants used to hide unshaven legs.
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Old 03-19-16, 10:16 PM
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Did the sweatpants match the bar tape?
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Old 03-19-16, 10:19 PM
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Was his saddle at least level?
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Old 03-20-16, 05:37 AM
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Originally Posted by 1nterceptor View Post
Sweatpants used to hide unshaven legs.
Possibly

Originally Posted by znomit View Post
Did the sweatpants match the bar tape?
They were both grubby, so yes.

Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
"The rules" are dumb.

The guy in the long johns is my hero.
Maybe you wouldn't say that if you'd seen him ride. I thought the ghetto tights were amusing at first, too, but it was quickly obvious that the guy wasn't merely indifferent to "dumb" rules, he was clueless - unaware and selfish - and in group rides, races especially, that's just dangerous.

Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
I think I'm missing something.. are you saying his pants caused the pile-up?
Close. Seriously, more like: what caused the pants also caused the pileup. Bending or breaking the rules because you understand them is one thing - it's the prerogative of a champion (in the broadest sense); ignorance, unwillingness or inability to follow them to begin with is another - it's the mark of a child, or a tyro at best.

Last edited by kbarch; 03-20-16 at 05:53 AM.
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Old 03-20-16, 05:49 AM
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I found my self curious about the "rules" so I googled Peloton Rules. Reading through a few of the results, I found one reference to attire, it stated that it should be matching.

Did the remainder of his kit match his long johns?
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Old 03-20-16, 06:05 AM
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Poor riding and "incorrect" attire often go together as signifiers of inexperience, but it's not a cause and effect thing. I will note, @kbarch, that he was evidently stronger than you, since he was able to stay with the group and you weren't. Strength isn't really a moral quality, but it's quite interesting that someone apparently so inexperienced was so strong. If he can learn to ride smoothly, there's hope yet. But what he's wearing won't have much to do with it.
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Old 03-20-16, 06:10 AM
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By the way, for someone to cause a crash of 8 riders in a piddling little cat 4/5 race usually requires not just a significant error from Captain Sweatpants but colossal incompetence among at least a couple of the riders caught up in said crash. So I'm not sure Capt. Sweatpants (esq.) is alone in his guilt.
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Old 03-20-16, 07:25 AM
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Seems Capt sweatpants was fast enough to drop OP. How can that be? Fast fred vs. slow poseur?
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Old 03-20-16, 09:36 AM
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The Rules, or: Captain Sweatpants vs The Guy Who Neglects to Shave

The "rules" are intended to be humorous.

The point here however is that learning to race you need to learn to size up your opponents for who is a competitive threat and who is a threat to your safety.

Because the lngjohnds may well be a signal of inexperience you keep accident eye on him Until
he proves. Himself
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Old 03-20-16, 09:52 AM
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I get it. You dress to impress - or not. I see a high correlation between attire and performance - in all areas of life - and on the bike.
In SoCal we've had plenty of understated millionaires in hole ridden jeans and T-shirts for decades. I get that you can look like a slob and be good.
But someone that shows up with a clean bike, clean legs (and arms) and is dressed right never seems to do poorly.
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Old 03-20-16, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
"The rules" are dumb.

The guy in the long johns is my hero.
Me too. Not because of the long johns, but because he has the balls enough to plow through a peloton.
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Old 03-20-16, 12:16 PM
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Condition of one's attire does translate to level of skill at the novice levels. Those who go to the trouble of dressing properly are likely to be more serious. I played competitive squash for years. You could look at an opponent's shoes and determine whether they were good or not. Very serious players had spotless shoes molded to the shape of their feet. Why? because if you were serious the shoes fit properly, were only used on the squash court (no dirt), and would be replaced several times times a season when the uppers wore out. Only skilled and practiced players would go to the trouble and it made a difference in performance. I'm not talking about poseurs, high quality kit that looks like it is used but not tattered probably means the person is serious.
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Old 03-20-16, 12:42 PM
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Congrats to Capt Sweatpants for trying something new and giving it his all. I can relate to some of this because I am a fairly new rider (started Aug 2015) and through hard work and effort ride with the A group. I didn't realize some of the errors of my riding ways at first, and made some mistakes. Some fellow riders took the time to explain things to me in a helpful way, others yelled at me and most of the time, I yelled back. They didn't like that anymore than making a novice error. I had the strength and speed but not the experience, just like Capt. Sweatpants.
I hope Capt Sweatpants learned a few things today and continues to show up and have fun, just maybe without taking the fun out of things for anyone else, inc safety! maybe someone could tell him that the long underwear could be worn UNDER his pants, haha.
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Old 03-20-16, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
The "rules" are intended to be humorous.
Humorous or not, both the authors of "The rules" and their followers are just specialists at treating other people like pieces of garbage.
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Old 03-20-16, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by grolby View Post
By the way, for someone to cause a crash of 8 riders in a piddling little cat 4/5 race usually requires not just a significant error from Captain Sweatpants but colossal incompetence among at least a couple of the riders caught up in said crash. So I'm not sure Capt. Sweatpants (esq.) is alone in his guilt.
I wouldn't say colossal, but yes, the lack of experience and skill was widespread.

Originally Posted by grolby View Post
Poor riding and "incorrect" attire often go together as signifiers of inexperience, but it's not a cause and effect thing. I will note, @kbarch, that he was evidently stronger than you, since he was able to stay with the group and you weren't. Strength isn't really a moral quality, but it's quite interesting that someone apparently so inexperienced was so strong. If he can learn to ride smoothly, there's hope yet. But what he's wearing won't have much to do with it.
No it's not, and you may be right - he is young and strong, and there's hope. I'm old and weak, and there's not so much hope for me. But really, the main reason he kept up and I didn't was because he made a point of staying in or near the front, and I have a bad habit of being over-cautious going into turns at the bottom of descents and letting everyone by. I had to chase down the field, and managed to catch up when I let that happen a couple of times, but didn't have the power to chase them down the third time....

Originally Posted by DOS View Post
Seems Capt sweatpants was fast enough to drop OP. How can that be? Fast fred vs. slow poseur?
Something like that, yes. But like @grolby says, there's hope. Capt. Sweatpants may become a steady wheel before I get very fast and confident, but I'm trying.
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Old 03-20-16, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
The "rules" are intended to be humorous.
Humorous or not, both the authors of "The rules" and their followers are just specialists at treating other people like pieces of garbage.
Perhaps people who actually follow the rules. But if you've read them and the book. It's not intended to be taken seriously and the humor is
Largely self deprecating
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Old 03-20-16, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by NYMXer View Post
Congrats to Capt Sweatpants for trying something new and giving it his all. I can relate to some of this because I am a fairly new rider (started Aug 2015) and through hard work and effort ride with the A group. I didn't realize some of the errors of my riding ways at first, and made some mistakes. Some fellow riders took the time to explain things to me in a helpful way, others yelled at me and most of the time, I yelled back. They didn't like that anymore than making a novice error. I had the strength and speed but not the experience, just like Capt. Sweatpants.
I hope Capt Sweatpants learned a few things today and continues to show up and have fun, just maybe without taking the fun out of things for anyone else, inc safety! maybe someone could tell him that the long underwear could be worn UNDER his pants, haha.
Yeah, when he was bumping my rear wheel at the line-up, I should have told him "you know, it doesn't hurt to bump shoulders, but if you bump wheels like that once we get going, you're going to crash." I was too "polite," but I shoulda yelled at him.

Last edited by kbarch; 03-20-16 at 01:36 PM.
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Old 03-20-16, 01:48 PM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Humorous or not, both the authors of "The rules" and their followers are just specialists at treating other people like pieces of garbage.
meh, don't be such a delicate flower...if something as innocuous as The Rules ruffles your feathers this badly, how do you deal with real issues in life...?
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Old 03-20-16, 02:21 PM
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There were no bicycle tanks, so the entire thing is moot.
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Old 03-20-16, 03:27 PM
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Captain Longjohns is my kind of guy.
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Old 03-20-16, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Humorous or not, both the authors of "The rules" and their followers are just specialists at treating other people like pieces of garbage.
Oh dear, I sense someone among us who has a frame mounted pump.
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