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I'm almost certainly a jackass

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I'm almost certainly a jackass

Old 06-02-06, 11:07 AM
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I'm almost certainly a jackass

Grab your rotten tomatoes and weigh in on this one:

I do a lot of long-distance riding and racing, and last month I had a 12-hour race coming up on a Saturday. I usually do a Thursday evening club ride, and I ride with the "A" group. We tend to have on-bike averages from 21.0 to 23.0mph at the end of the ride, which includes everything from numerous stops and re-starts to the town-sign sprints. Typical rolling speeds are in the 20s -- sometimes low-20s, sometimes high-20s -- depending on the terrain, who is at the front, and what we're in the mood for. Typical recreational club ride. Thousands like it all over the country every day.

The week of my race, I wanted to ride on Thursday but I was hesitant about riding with the As. It's not a race-training ride, but it's a competitive group, and I didn't trust myself to just sit at the back and suck wheel and have a relatively easy ride. I knew at some point I'd want to charge a hill, contest a town sign, take turns at the front, whatever. A friend of mine who would be racing on Saturday also was thinking the same thing, so we decided to remove all temptation and go out with the "B" group. We've ridden with the Bs before, whenever my wife joins us on her single bike (lately she enjoys taking the tandem out with the As and putting a beat-down on the big boys!). The B-group averages anywhere from 17.5 to 19.5mph on-bike. Again, a typical rec-ride for folks who are in decent shape and get out on the bike regularly. It does not, however, ever draw any racers, unless someone is riding with a slower friend or spouse.

Everything was initially going perfectly according to plan -- we'd do some of the pulling in the high-teens/low-20s at times and at other times would be content to turn those duties over to others so that we could circulate among the pack and chat with folks and just enjoy a nice evening on the bike. About 10 miles in, one rider fell over at an intersection when she couldn't unclip in time (a fast-moving car from the right had surprised her and she braked too hard and just didn't unclip in time. We've all done that.). My buddy and I had already made the turn but we saw the wreck and hollered to those up front to stop or hold up as someone had gone down, but they kept riding while other folks in the vicinity helped her up and she got going again (no injuries to her or the bike, fortunately). The two of us kind of dogged it in no-mans land, keeping the folks up front in sight while waiting for the ride-leader and those who had been with the fallen rider to rejoin the group. We could see the guys up ahead, who we know had heard us yelling about a rider being down (they were only a few feet up the road at the time), were actually accelerating. It was a sweet piece of road, with new pavement and a slight down-hill to work with, and they were cranking up the pace and putting the rest of us out of sight pretty quickly. The group was clearly and irretrievably broken up. It happens all the time, but my buddy and I thought that it was b.s. that it should happen because a rider had gone down and folks didn't want to wait for her. Sure, we'd have dropped her on the hilly part of the ride anyway, but come on, guys, show some compassion here!

Pulling the others up to the leaders, given the pace they were now going, was out of the question, so my buddy and I took off after them alone. We caught them, a group of about 4 or 5, about a mile up the road, riding in the mid-20s, and came around them to the front, where we didn't say anything to them but proceeded to keep the pace in the mid-20s as the slightly downhill road became a slightly uphill road and then a strong uphill. We could hear them working increasingly hard behind us, even though they were drafting us. My buddy and I were riding side-by-side as this unfolded, chatting merrily away about work, the race, upcoming rides, whatever, far from going anaerobic while the guys behind us suffered and began to blow up and drop.

After a few miles we sat up and surveyed the damage. Two guys were a dozen or so lengths back and the other two or three were scattered nicely behind them. We dogged it a bit and everyone rejoined. We continued to pull for the remainder of the 38-mile ride, trying to keep the pace just fast enough to make everyone suffer without actually dropping anyone. We ended up permanently losing only one guy who attacked us on a downhill (???) when we rolled by him on the inevitable, corresponding uphill. Everyone else hung on; if someone would disconnect, we'd slow just enough so they could rejoin. Throughout the course of all this, we were pretty consciously, and arrogantly, chattering away at the front, demonstrating what gods of cycling fitness we were.

Back at the parking lot, our computers declared an average of 18.5mph for the ride. One guy, clearly spent, promptly declared that it was a great ride and that he hadn't worked that hard in a long time. The other few guys didn't join in his assessment and slinked off to their cars, beaten. Some other folks, as they rolled in, told us that we'd just put the wood to the big dogs on the B-ride and had bruised a few egos. No surprise, since that was our intent.

So, various spouses, friends, and fellow riders have, pretty much unanimously, rendered the judgment of "jackass" on hearing of our little performance. Here's what little I can muster in our defense: I didn't feel it was our place to say something to these guys when we caught them; we already had said something and we're not the ride leaders. My attitude was, hey if you want to ride fast, let's see how fast you can ride, knowing full well that we could toy with these guys as much as we wanted. Of course, if they didn't like it, they could have sat up when we did and we would have got the message and gone up the road without them, but they always rejoined us. Hey, you want more? We'll give you more! Of all the things we have to work on -- fitness, bike handling, etc. -- clearly "riding our own ride" is on the list. An important lesson.

What are your thoughts? [ducks as rotten fruit and eggs approach from all quarters]
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Old 06-02-06, 11:10 AM
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Get a job.
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Old 06-02-06, 11:13 AM
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Does your ego feel a tad swollen after having wrote that?
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Old 06-02-06, 11:17 AM
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I think I was drawn into this thread, from the huge gravitational pull of your ego.
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Old 06-02-06, 11:22 AM
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The high road woulda been waiting for the group with the girl who fell and cruised in with them. You one-upped a tool, which only made you (and your buddy) a bigger tool. Good luck tomorrow--
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Old 06-02-06, 11:23 AM
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Did you grab any of them and shake them out of the paceline and yell at them?

(sorry... wrong thread.... )
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Old 06-02-06, 11:26 AM
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Has anyone ever tried to calibrate the BikeForums average speed brag factor? That is, how much do you have to subtract from the average speeds quoted in your typical brag posting to get to the real numbers? I'm thinking we might have enough data here for a baseline. In my area a B pace group ride runs at 14+ mph, and an A pace ride runs 18+. So we're looking at a factor of 4 mph or so based on my local experience. Anyone else?
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Old 06-02-06, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by superdex
The high road woulda been waiting for the group with the girl who fell and cruised in with them. You one-upped a tool, which only made you (and your buddy) a bigger tool. Good luck tomorrow--
Yeah, pulling the slower group along to catch the breakaway would've been the better statement. Or hey--just let 'em go. You don't need to drop people you know you can drop just to prove a point.

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Old 06-02-06, 11:29 AM
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Nobody made those guys follow you and your buddies wheel.
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Old 06-02-06, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by DrPete
You don't need to drop people you know you can drop just to prove a point.

DrPete
Point is that he didnt drop 'em, he pointed that out as one of his points.
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Old 06-02-06, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by steve_wmn
Has anyone ever tried to calibrate the BikeForums average speed brag factor? That is, how much do you have to subtract from the average speeds quoted in your typical brag posting to get to the real numbers? I'm thinking we might have enough data here for a baseline. In my area a B pace group ride runs at 14+ mph, and an A pace ride runs 18+. So we're looking at a factor of 4 mph or so based on my local experience. Anyone else?
That's a topic that's been beat to death on the forums, and it's suitable for another thread. Think what you want of me, but the ride in question runs out of the elementary school in New Albany, Ohio, at 6pm on Thursdays. The "C" group runs faster than your "B" ride. The "A" group occasionally draws professional racers. Don't think a local guy who has ridden in the Tour d'Georgia can maintain these averages? Come see for yourself. Feel free to check it out for yourself to verify how fast it is; PM me for directions. Newsflash: These speeds aren't as fast as some of you folks here seem to think they are. There are tens and tens of thousands of people in the country who can ride this fast. Why so hard to believe there are some of them on BF?

Anyway, this thread is about what a dick I am. I have no problem with your assessment of me as a jerk -- heck, that's why I posted this on a sloooooow Friday! But please don't call me a liar. I have trouble not taking that one personally.
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Old 06-02-06, 11:33 AM
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I'm ADHD and couldn't make it past the 2nd paragraph.
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Old 06-02-06, 11:33 AM
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Originally Posted by steve_wmn
Has anyone ever tried to calibrate the BikeForums average speed brag factor? That is, how much do you have to subtract from the average speeds quoted in your typical brag posting to get to the real numbers? I'm thinking we might have enough data here for a baseline. In my area a B pace group ride runs at 14+ mph, and an A pace ride runs 18+. So we're looking at a factor of 4 mph or so based on my local experience. Anyone else?
For my club, the A riders typically average 20-24mph over 31+ miles, and the B riders typically average around 15-18mph over 24 miles. Both average speeds include a 0 mph brag factor.
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Old 06-02-06, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by teamawe
Point is that he didnt drop 'em, he pointed that out as one of his points.
I was talking about the breakaway they caught.
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Old 06-02-06, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by DrPete
I was talking about the breakaway they caught.
Me too.

From the original post
"We dogged it a bit and everyone rejoined. We continued to pull for the remainder of the 38-mile ride, trying to keep the pace just fast enough to make everyone suffer without actually dropping anyone."
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Old 06-02-06, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by steve_wmn
Has anyone ever tried to calibrate the BikeForums average speed brag factor? That is, how much do you have to subtract from the average speeds quoted in your typical brag posting to get to the real numbers? I'm thinking we might have enough data here for a baseline. In my area a B pace group ride runs at 14+ mph, and an A pace ride runs 18+. So we're looking at a factor of 4 mph or so based on my local experience. Anyone else?
It's a known fact that time and space are warped around a black hole centered in central Minnesota. That's all.

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Old 06-02-06, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by The Octopus

Back at the parking lot, our computers declared an average of 18.5mph for the ride. One guy, clearly spent, promptly declared that it was a great ride and that he hadn't worked that hard in a long time. The other few guys didn't join in his assessment and slinked off to their cars, beaten. Some other folks, as they rolled in, told us that we'd just put the wood to the big dogs on the B-ride and had bruised a few egos. No surprise, since that was our intent.

So, various spouses, friends, and fellow riders have, pretty much unanimously, rendered the judgment of "jackass" on hearing of our little performance.
With great power comes great responsibility. You obviously have great power, which you used to crush some, um, guys on a group ride. You toyed with them. Mere play things to you. Heh.

I'm picturing myself as one of the guys who stubbornly clung to your wheel - gasping for air, my ego getting smaller and smaller, my will to ride diminishing with each increasingly feeble pedal stroke, cursing you and the cycling gods. If only I had waited. If only, if only.

Were you a jackass? Sure. But what's interesting to me is that at least one guy had a great time. I'm with him. When I'm riding in a group, I want to work. Invite that guy on the A ride. Warn him that it's harder, that he might get dropped, but invite him all the same. You'll have an ally so fast it'll make your head spin.
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Old 06-02-06, 11:42 AM
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Damn, you must be a good typer (or have lots of time), because that was a long post.

There were so many "right" and "wrong" things you did in that ride, that I can't accurately render a decision on the jackass question, unless I read it over and over and over again. But like I said, it's a long post (and I'm impatient and lazy).

So did the stategy of doing a B ride on Thursday help you w/ your Saturday race?
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Old 06-02-06, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by celticfrost
Damn, you must be a good typer (or have lots of time), because that was a long post.

[snip]

So did the stategy of doing a B ride on Thursday help you w/ your Saturday race?
Fast typer. And the post was composed over a few sessions during a period of several weeks. I thought it was an interersting issue; sorry to everyone that it was so bloody long!

The race was a great success: 235 miles in 12 hours (that's 19.6mph continuously for 12 straight hours, including all the time off the bike, for you unbelievers out there!); good enough for the 4th longest distance and 1st place in my age group. It was one of the best rides I've ever had; a group of five of us who were dropped from the leaders 50 miles in ended up working together like clockwork for nearly 10 hours. Lots of smiles and hugs at the end of that one!

Toning it down on Thursday definietly helped on Saturday. I think the problem was with how we'd toned it down.

Last edited by The Octopus; 06-02-06 at 11:54 AM.
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Old 06-02-06, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by teamawe
Me too.

From the original post
"We dogged it a bit and everyone rejoined. We continued to pull for the remainder of the 38-mile ride, trying to keep the pace just fast enough to make everyone suffer without actually dropping anyone."
OK, my mistake-- scratch "dropping" and insert "catching and torturing."

Worth arguing about--totally changes the whole discussion.

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Old 06-02-06, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by The Octopus
Fast typer. And the post was composed over a few sessions during a period of several weeks. I thought it was an interersting issue; sorry to everyone that it was so bloody long!

The race was a great success: 235 miles in 12 hours (that's 19.6mph continuously for 12 straight hours, including all the time off the bike, for you unbelievers out there!); good enough for the 4th longest distance and 1st place in my age group. It was one of the best rides I've ever had; a group of five of us who were dropped from the leaders 50 miles in ended up working together like clockwork for nearly 10 hours. Lots of smiles and hugs at the end of that one!

Toning it down on Thursday definietly helped on Sautrday. I think the problem was with how we'd toned it down.
Grats, that's a nice ride. How big was the loop you did?

My GF is going to captain the tandem with a female friend of hers stoking and do a 12 hour in TX come October. They are going to shoot for 200ish.
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Old 06-02-06, 11:59 AM
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There is a group in the bay area that rides in the high 20's but it is composed mostly of Cat 1's and Pros. And it isn't a club but a group ride that starts from a certain location.

The idea here is that a club that averages 23 mph including stoplights is somewhat hard to believe. On perfectly flat crit courses the Cat 4,5 Masters class I was racing in averaged something like 24 or 25 mph for 30 minutes. The fastest we would hit would be in the final sprint.

Now far be it from me to assume that club rides couldn't be faster than that but my fastest average for a longer ride (50+ miles) is 18 mph and that was when I was in the best shape of my life and I finished that ride 20 minutes ahead of the next guy. And I had a tailwind for the last 15 miles.

Do I believe that Octopus has an ego? Let's just say that forcing the B group into what was essentially a race that he couldn't lose was something less than heroic.
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Old 06-02-06, 12:03 PM
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was there an old mexican dude in the breakaway group?
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Old 06-02-06, 12:06 PM
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One good thing about being a dick is that in 100 years, nobody will care.
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Old 06-02-06, 12:11 PM
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Originally Posted by DrPete
OK, my mistake-- scratch "dropping" and insert "catching and torturing."

Worth arguing about--totally changes the whole discussion.

DrPete
Oh I'm not going to argue. =)

I did worse then the OP on Tue. /grin.

GF and I took the tandem out for an easy ride. (We did an 8500ft century on sat and a 60 mile loop mon at 20.4 ave on the tandem) So tue was really for recovery.

Anyway we get to the start and decide to go with the very large b group rather then the a's. The b's go about 17mph and stick together (or so I recall). We figure we'll pull them for the loop and the faster of them can come up and talk to us as we roll. So, we get to the front, asume the pulling position, travel 1/4 mile dropping under an underpass only to have 2 of them pass us....hrm. We let em go and looked back for the rest, 100 yards back (we are doing 16 and darn near coasting). We do this for another 1/4 mile and one of the gals passes us saying "This wont last long" (meaning her time riding fast and alone).

Well, I'll be darned if my offer of pulling the whole group is going to discarded, so off we go. We pass the gal and mention that we thought the group stayed together. She shrugged, we sped up even more. We passed the two guys and one of them jumped on our wheel. During a little twisting uphill we got on it a bit and shelled him.

This was done with full knowledge of what I was doing. I was showing them we were faster. They should have followed our pull. No cyclists were belittled, no jerseys were grabbed, no yelling took place but two b riders were shown that a tandem can out-accelerate them on a small rise and out handle them in an 's' curve so ego's were possibly damaged while making me feel superior. (we call that a 2fer)
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