Friday, February 27, 2009

Dude, this is the Booty Loop, not the Tour

On my ride yesterday, I engaged in an exchange with a rider, I’ll call him “Dude,” who did something I find insanely annoying. First though, let me describe the setting and the group in which I was riding.

Yesterday’s lovely weather took me outdoors on my bike for a few hours around town and down to the Booty Loop, a 3 mile loop in Myers Park, near Queens University, that is known for all the cyclists and runners and people jaunting around it. Suffice to say, this is generally not the place you come to do serious race training. The group I was in during the exchange with Dude was obviously recreational riders taking advantage of the nice weather. Most of them probably haven’t been on their bike in weeks…maybe months, judging by the looks of pain on their faces as we hit the hills. I was perfectly happy to spin with these guys, taking in the beautiful weather.

The exchange happened when Dude pulled off the front after his turn to “pull.” And I use that term loosely because his pull was no more than 18 mph – a very relaxed pace. I was 2 riders back from him and I had been keeping about half a bike length between myself and the rider in front of me. Well, Dude didn’t like that very much. As he drifted by me, he motioned with his hand for me to close the gap. I looked over at him. “I’m on it,” I assured him. “Well, I’m glad that you are, that way, I don’t have to be.” WHAAAAATT? Firstly, we’re only going 18 mph…it’s not like we’re in a 25 mph paceline in danger of being dropped off the back. Secondly, it’s the BOOTY LOOP, for crying out loud!

What I wanted to say and what I did say were two different things. Did he really think I couldn’t close the gap at the whopping 18 mph at which we were traveling? Was he serious? After all, I wasn’t the one huffing and puffing. Did he really think that he was going to have to help me? Surely not so I said to him, “Dude, this isn’t exactly a race pace.” And I laughed, thinking maybe he was kidding. “Well, why don’t you have a go?” WHAAAAATT?

He can’t be serious, right? I looked at his face. He was serious; almost angry. He really wanted me to have a go? To attack a group of recreational riders who could barely keep 18 mph? I have been riding long enough to know how arrogant that would be. He realizes we’re on the Booty Loop, right? I looked at him again, this time laughing AT him, not just NEAR him.

The group eventually did break up on account of a couple hills. Dude stayed on my wheel…just stayed there. Never came around for a pull, not that I was putting myself out, but in cycling, that’s the courteous thing to do. I finally got tired of it. After pulling him around for 6 miles, I sat up. When I did, he sprinted past me. I guess he figured that was his time to “have a go” against me. He was determined to make it to the “finish” before me. He kept looking back to see if I was following and every time he did, I took a drink from my bottle and looked off to the side. I didn’t want to ride with such an arrogant tool. I have nothing to prove; especially on the Booty Loop. I laughed again to myself and enjoyed the rest of my ride.

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