I've decided I hate wearing my team kit when I'm trying to train.
Sean and I were cruising home last week on the "commute" which is really a near-crit level effort that just happens to start near where we live and end near where we work downtown. We're at the corner of the ironically named Good Luck Road, and Greenbelt Road, waiting for the light to change at this crazy hazardous intersection. It's crazy hazardous because it's one of the epicenters of PG County Driver Lunatic Behavior - burning red lights, doing 75 down the shoulder - and because it's six lanes moving at twice the legal speed limit on the North/South lanes, and four lanes doing the same thing at a right angle to the big road.
So we're stopped at the light and this older guy pulls up to us. I try not to pass judgment on people until I see how they act and this guy pulled up in front of us, so we were facing the big road and he was 90 degrees to our angle of travel. I gave the benefit of a doubt and figured he'd straighten himself out before the light turned. Meanwhile, I looked.
He had an older nondescript frame with friction shifters, a ten year old (or more) jersey, shorts worn shiney, and a saddlebag that was kind of big but looked to have a million miles on it. Hairy legs, didn't bother talking to us... I was torn as to whether he was a tough old roadie coot with a million hard miles in his legs, or a Fred. Since it was National Benefit of a Doubt Day, I presumed tough old guy.
So the light turns green, and we sit there. "Light's green," I said. "Huh?" "Light. The light. It's green." Then he notices it and starts pulling across the intersection, having angered a long line of car traffic and two cyclists. We started going up this little hill, and he did a big standing effort - to drop us hard I guess. About halfway up the rise I had to give Sean the waveoff since I was going to ride up the Fred's ass. If you're doing a standing effort on a hill and can't drop me you have a problem, Houston. Still being cool, I didn't try anything and just followed him for a ways. Eventually he turned down Good Luck at Soil Conservation, and then proceeded to get his ass in the way of irritable drivers heading home in their cars.
After he swung in front of a couple cars and back I had to make my move, so I pulled past him and said, "you're welcome to grab the wheel." I then proceeded to get after it hard for a mile or three, Jens'ing the dude as hard as possible. When Sean and I slowed down he was nowhere to be seen, and we chatted about the guy and I told him, basically, that I didn't want to be around a guy who was acting that way. We tried to figure out why he was acting squirelly and concluded it must have been the team jerseys that set him off.
That's consistent with my experiences around town. Pathletes, Freds, you name it, want to "race" with a guy who is wearing team kit in order to prove something. What it proves (besides their inherent lameness) is beyond me. But it is irritating.
I don't get this reaction wearing non-descript clothes. In fact, quite the opposite. When I wear one of my old shitty Performance jerseys and some shorts with crash damage, I get ignored at best, but more often than not sneered at by people in nicer gear.
I noticed this at Hains yesterday. Guys in team jerseys would talk, waiting to accumulate enough numbers to get the lunch ride going strong. Me? I got ignored for the most part. So maybe club riders do the same sort of thing to perceived Freds. Hmmm... interesting.
Doesn't really matter why, however. What matters is I got some peace and quiet, got avoided completely in fact, which allowed me to complete some longer threshold intervals. That was just what the doctor ordered.
I think from now on when I need to be left alone to get some training done, I'm going to try to wear my shitty old jerseys, nasty shorts, maybe my old road shoes and beat old helmet. If it keeps people from bugging me mid-workout - Freds, or racing associates who don't really know me - so much the better.
It's an imperfect Fred remedy and there's nothing you can do to avoid guys who pull up to you at a light, but maybe it will discourage some of the more irritating interventions.
Meanwhile... I bought a new highly ergonomic keyboard today, and check it out, the "H" and "G" function, as well as the comma. Sweet!
I spent about 3 hours tonight switching disc brakes around (new levers on mine, Avid BB 7s to the Frankenbike, Frankenbrakes to the Wife's 29'er. I also threw a cassette, and SRAM X7 derailer and shifter on her bike, since she's not much of a single speeder, not at 32:16 anyhow. Sooooo tired... time for sleep. Schlafzeit.