thatguy

Don’t be THAT Guy (Road Cycling)

by Mark Swartzendruber in Road Cycling, Train With Grain

Any one who is or has been a cyclist for any appreciable amount of time has run into “THAT guy”, or “that F—-IN’ guy” once or twice.  He shows up on group rides, races and sometimes he’s spotted riding solo.  I’ve run into him at bars before and after races and I’ve also spotted him in bike shops.  You know the guy…

I was on a group ride that was supposed to be a “no drop” friendly ride to acclimate beginning riders to pack riding.  Shortly after we left the parking lot of the coffee shop THAT guy went to the front of the ride and began to treat it like a race, proving to the world despite his lack of results in years of Cat 3 races that he really was one of the strongest riders in the state.  As the pace got faster and faster, the beginner riders for whom the ride was formed were being shelled off the back while THAT guy was attacking the “no drop” ride through a stop sign!

I saw THAT guy in the bike shop a couple of days later and he was badgering the mechanic about getting a wheel trued like “RIGHT NOW” despite the line up of work the mechanic had been working through.  THAT guy needed the wheel worked on immediately because he had to have it ready for the epic Thursday night “world championships” group ride.  When he saw me; he left the mechanic alone long enough to recount for me how he had “destroyed” the no drop ride on Tuesday.  He was quite impressed with himself that he was able to ride away from a bunch of new bike club members, some of whom were 40 something ladies on hybrids and gentlemen on their first group ride ever.  So full of himself he was that he didn’t realize I was on the ride as well and didn’t need the pedal stroke by pedal stroke replay as I saw him up the road blasting around cars and through stop signs in order to “drop” any riders foolish enough to follow him.

Last year my team mates and I were eating out before a race.  We were waiting for a team mate to show up and I was talking with his girlfriend at the restaurant bar.  THAT guy walked up and said “Hi” to me then turned his back and started trying to mack on my team mate’s girlfriend.  She’s a pretty sharp lady, so she gave THAT guy a bit of rope with which he would eventually hang himself.  Conversation was something like this:

THAT guy“Hi, my name is THAT guy.  I’m a bike racer” (THAT guy’s standard salutation in social settings)

Girl friend“Hi, I’m Steph”

TG:  “You a bike racer too?”

GF:  “No, I’m just here to watch”

TG:  “Cool, you know much about bike racing?” 

GF:  A little.  You know- Tour de France and stuff like that…

TG: (interrupting) I hope some day to compete in the Tour de France.  Like I said I’m pretty good.  Since you don’t know that much about bike racing it may not mean much to you but I’m a CAT 3” He said it quite loftily.

GF:  “Yeah?  My boyfriend is a pro. You may recognize him, he won the NRC race last weekend and used to race in Europe.  Ever heard of him?” 

THAT guy realizing he’d just been hung grabbed his beer and slunk away. It was classic stuff.

I saw THAT guy last summer riding alone wearing a pro team kit he bought off the internet.  He wasn’t wearing a helmet.  I saw him stop at a stop light (a rare thing for him) and rather than unclipping and putting a foot down to wait for the light he was doing a track stand.  As he struggled to maintain balance he was inching into the intersection.  The driver of a car that had the right of way came to a stop because she didn’t know if THAT guy was actually stopped or was preparing to run through the light.  She honked her horn at him and he went off on the poor lady, screaming at her that she shouldn’t be driving if she couldn’t drive with bikes on the roads and that he was a “pro” bike racer and he knew what he was doing.

Geez…THAT guy…

Once on a group ride – again with newer riders – THAT guy and I were riding at the back of the pack.  I to make sure no one was dropped off the back and he to fill my ears with a stroke by stroke recounting of why he didn’t win the race last weekend even though he could have if he wanted.  No one would work with him in the break and the other racers and especially the guy that won were just lucky that his coach told him not to make the race an “A Priority” race; otherwise he would have crushed them all.

Anyway, he got done with his story and decided that it was time to move forward.  So, he went around the group on the left, crossed the yellow line into on coming traffic.  When a car in the on coming lane had to slam on the brakes, THAT guy swerved back into the group ride and cause about 10 riders to crash.  Instead of stopping to help the downed riders and see if everyone was okay, THAT guy started yelling at the riders he’d just knocked down about “not knowing how to handle their bikes and they should go back to riding tricycles and stay away from group rides until they’re not a risk to others.”  Then, he rode off and never looked back.

Don’t be THAT guy…


About The Author
Mark Swartzendruber Google: Mark Swartzendruber
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