Squadra di Vecchi Tori

What is your cycling character? by marcusoc
May 19, 2010, 1:02 am
Filed under: Biased Generalisations, Making Fun of Others

Everywhere in the world, there are certain cycling characteristics that traverse race, creed and gender. From time to time we will introduce a few of these characters to you. But rest assured, if you ride, you have already met them and may well be one of them.

Today’s featured specie is the Hard Man (or Woman)

THM has a pathological urge to be at the front for the vast majority of any ride. Three notable strategies he employs are i) elongated one-paced turns at the front and/or increasing pace whilst on the front, ii) cheeky/ dangerous lane changes in the bunch to keep close to the front of the rotation (careful, THM is invariably a shit bike handler), and iii) his specialty, the Half Wheel.

Beware, prolonged close proximity to a THM at the front of a bunch is dangerous and can readily induce pain. Lets take a look at a couple of the THM sub-species and recommended methods of skullduggery for dealing with them.

The Flat Road Hard Man 

Quite often a fresh immigrant from another sport like rowing or triathlon – no bibs and a pristine small chainring are distinctive parts of his plumage. FRHM typically possesses a lower IQ than other bunch species. Good fodder for the bunch as FRHM can often be used up on the flat then spat out when things get bumpy. Very valuable asset to have in a race as FRHM thrives on the notion that he is causing pain to others. Say something like, “You are killing us Smithy” and you are guaranteed a beast of burden for as long as he can go. Often seen post-race/ride lamenting the fact that he has no sprint and is a diesel engine. However the truth is that FRHM may well have a very nice sprint if he didn’t burn all his matches beforehand. Do not divulge this piece of information to FRHM – although he may need to be told 5 or 6 times before he understands it (most FRHMs never really do get this), if FRHM does finally understand, a monster may be created. Second warning, if FRHM learns how to climb, he becomes a very undesirable riding companion. Consequently, never tell him to ride an easier gear going uphill or to dose his effort.

It is your duty to other cyclists to maintain FRHM in his natural unspoiled form for as long as possible.

The Climbing Hard Man

Unlike his Flat Road cousin, the CHM is a little bit like a nocturnal animal – only noticeable at certain times, namely in the hills (when he is at or off the front) or at the beach (where sand is being kicked in his face). Whilst FRHM is often an affable lad who can be easily manipulated, CHM usually has more than a little nastiness in him – a vestige from his past when he was made fun of at school for his “Mathlete” tendencies – and requires more subtle methods. A typical weakness of the CHM is a distinct dislike of close contact within the bunch as schoolyard bullying has caused him to be generally afraid of the company of others. 

Like a rodent, the CHM must be dealt with BEFORE he has the chance to cause damage in his preferred environment. Physical intimidation is permitted. Additionally, at every opportunity, the CHM must be encouraged to race criteriums where he can be further bullied into submission. Fabrications can help in this regard, such as, “next week’s course is really hilly with sweeping turns” (presuming he doesn’t know the course) or “you are gapping me on every corner these days. You should give the crits a go again.”

CHM never buys coffee for others and can often be seen producing coins when splitting the bill.

For the Advanced Cyclist

Cycling Masters can achieve “simultaneous exhilaration” by manipulating FRHMs to “put the hurt on” hard and early in a ride which can, if done correctly, eject the CHM before the hills, and then see FRHM blow up in the early stages of a hill. The second part of this particularly satisfying, but all too rare, outcome is when CHM, after being dropped before the climb collects you on the way up and you hang on until the top. CHM hates this (he hates company remember). If you can do this and appear in complete control at the top, you are on your way to cycling nirvana.

Stay tuned for more characters.


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