Race Recap: Boys on the Left

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Another excellent sprint triathlon put on by FS Series this past weekend! My race preparation was not what I wanted it to be.  The previous week included the consumption of a lot more pizza and beer than is ideal and the night before featured a long phone call with Poison Control (Thanks, Lucy!) but in spite of the lack of proper fueling and sleep I had a great time.

I am ready to take on the Olympic Distance triathlon next season.  I have two more sprints this summer before I switch gears into half marathon mode for the fall and winter.  So, now that I have more than a handful of sprints under my belt I feel like I can make an observation.

Answer me this, friends.  Why don’t the men tell you before they pass you on the bike?  Are they trying to kill me?

I am a novice cyclist.  It is super obvious.  If you don’t notice my white knuckled death grip on my handlebars than certainly you can see my somewhat swervy riding style, even from behind.  And if all of that escapes you – I am on a 35 year old, $200 bike.  That ought to tip you off.

I get passed on the bike.  I have made peace with this fact.  The bike is my weakest part of a triathlon.  Of the dozen  people who passed me – eight of them were men. Eight times I thought I was going to die as they zipped past me on my left.  Four of the people that passed me were women.  All four of them shouted “Left!” as they zipped past me.  What gives?

Is it just some kind of competitive streak? Maybe.  But I can’t say that the men aren’t supportive. As I was returning on this moderately hilly out and bike course every single man that I rode by while I was giving it all I had up a hill said something to the effect of “Yeah, get it, girl!”

It seems like the fellas like to see you work hard.  I understand the idea of having a little skin in the game, but, guys, do you want to see my skin on the street?  Because really I all but leap out of my bike seat when you whizz by.

Question for the cycylists – I get the etiquette for a group ride.  Do the same rules not apply for racing? I can see why they wouldn’t but it seems odd that everyone has plenty of lung capacity to shout out words of encouragement but can’t seem to yell out “Left!” to keep me from possibly wrecking us both.

So, that’s what’s on my mind. Summer is wrapping up.  School starts Monday.  Backpack is full of supplies.  Lots of debate about the first day of school ensemble is happening.  Pictures are forthcoming.

What’s on your to-do list as the summer winds down?  I still need to paint the kitchen in my ceiling before I can tell you about our summer kitchen reno.  That’s I have got!



5 responses to “Race Recap: Boys on the Left

  1. But yes, those mean guys should indeed warn you when they are about to pass!!

  2. The zipping by is probably more about avoiding a draft violation. In USAT-sanctioned races, once you come within a certain distance of the rider ahead of you (don’t recall the # off the top of my head, but USAT regulations should spell it out–maybe two bike lengths?), you have a limited number of seconds to overtake that cyclist, or else you must drop back. Once you are ahead, you have “right of way” for the purposes of spacing and the cyclist you have passed must drop back behind to re-establish the buffer zone. The shouting “left” is absolutely good cycling etiquette under these circumstances, and in fact expected.

    If you are passed by a particularly speedy cyclist, they usually take care of this buffer zone all by themselves :)

  3. Haven’t done the bike racing, so not sure of that ettiquette. Do people do that in running races too? Maybe I was spaced out with my headphone on my last race to notice anyone “left” or “right”ing me…ha ha.

    Anyway, congrats on the race and here’s to the fall line-up of racing!

    • I totally space out when I am on my own two feet. But I am all eyes all over the place, look left right front back, like a new driver when I am on my bike! :)

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