Friday, February 10, 2017

It's Yer Unwritten Rules o' the Peloton, Revisited!

All right, as the recent smackdown between Kittel & Grivko so amply demonstrated, it's !@#damn etiquette chaos in the peloton right now, so before we all devolve into thievery, cannibalism, and chamois-snapping, I say it's about freakin' time to lay down some serious rules. Disagree, especially if yer a pro who's not just talking out of his/her !@# like I am? Have at, Miss Manners!

1. The Golden Rule: Do Not Be a Punk-Ass. If yer own mom'd spit on you and disown you for shaming the family, back off whatever weasel scumbag move yer about to pull. This goes for you too, Valverde!

2. Golden Rule, Part Deux: Do Not Be a Wuss. This, as dear reader(s) have pointed out, is bike racing. If Rui Costa'd rip yer stem off and start beating the crap out of you with it for some simpering passive-aggression, back off!

3. The Leader's Jersey, Part Un: Respect the Jersey. The leader sets the rules, dictates the pace at non-critical junctures, calls nature breaks, and doles out mercy or hellfire. But only within limits, because...

4. The Leader's Jersey, Part Deux: this goes both ways (hear me, Marcel)? Don't call a nature break halfway up Alpe d'Huez just because yer legs are crap and you know some !@#$wit with a motor--uh, Valver--uh, somebody stronger is gonna destroy your GC hopes like Godzilla on Tokyo, don't take undue advantage of someone else's misfortune, and don't, in general, be a !@#$. Heavy is the head that wears the crown, get it?

5. Sucker-Punching (A Fan): sure, you might not like that publicity-slutting asshat running next to you screaming their heads off in a neon banana-hammock, combination baseball hat/Texas longhorns, or a (wholly unjustified) syringe costume and accusatory sign, but if s/he ain't interfering with your line, endangering your wheel with a flag, or imminently tossing a large dog or small child in yer path, save the energy, honey, and let it go. On the other hand, if someone throws urine at you--and you're sure it's not just an ill-aimed, if well-intentioned, attempt to toss you a beer--I say, justice dealt!

6. Sucker-Punching (A Fellow Rider): Don't use it to screw someone over in a sprint. If some reckless selfish dipwad is jacking *your* line in the last 100 meters, though, fair game. And if you're Bernard !@#$ing Hinault, you can punch anyone at any time for any reason. Why, *you* want to tell him he can't?

7. Attacking (Flat Due to Natural Road Debris): look, happens to everyone. If you're just some schmo, no-one's attacking you anyway. If you're ten seconds apart on GC, particularly if it happens on a crucial climb, keep your pace, but no need to be a wanker about it. Caveat: no brownnosing peloton-powerhouse former teammates by staying with 'em for half an hour while the team you're supposed to be riding for gets hosed. And no running up the hill like a jack!@#!

8. Attacking (Flat Due to Pile of Tacks Deliberately Strewn by Some Malevolent Nutwhack): Not only should you not attack if you're the only sod lucky enough to get through it unscathed--which only rewards the scumbag, imho--but this possibly one of those instance where the Sucker-Punch (Fan) protocol applies. You endanger the riders, you takes your chances!

9. Bottles (Giving): Got an extra bottle riding next to someone who's obviously in croaking distress with no team car in sight? Nice to pass it along. Just don't accidentally hand over one with whatever sketchy drug-positive internet "nutritional supplement" you're scamming!

10. Bottles (Throwing): Over the head and/or to the side. Not skittering under somebody's wheel to take 'em down! This goes doubly for musettes: toss it into somebody's wheel and you've probably cost 'em the stage, the podium, or, even worse, some major collarbone surgery when they jackknife into the tarmac. And they'll remember you, pal!

11. Nature Breaks: Don't attack on a real one. It's weak, and the entire peloton will justifiably hate you. About three more water bottles in, you'll likely find that out for yourself! For calls necessarily heeded while on the fly, with perhaps the balancing assistance of a discreet teammate, for god's sake stay to the back and off to the side, so you don't let it rip on the poor bastard behind you!

12. Extreme Weather Protocol: Know you game-changingly suck in the wind/cold/snow/rain/dessicating heat, and your GC rivals don't? Well, it's really nice that UCI's decided no-one should actually have major limbs drop off from frostbite, but don't take advantage of your lack of hardman skills and whine at the organizers til they cancel the stage just so you can gain a leg up. Why? Because you're a *cyclist*, dammit, and Marianne Vos eats blizzards for breakfast and spits 'em back out as snow-cones for the kiddos while you're still cowering in your hotel room in your down bathrobe, you wuss!

13. And Finally, Yer Miscellaneous Post-Race Commandment: If you say you're gonna retire, *retire* fer chrissakes! This applies without exception to Brad Wiggins, but not to, say, Purito, whose glaring absence from the peloton has already left an atom-crushing black whole from which no light or matter can escape. And this includes any stupid !@#$ like reality-show long-jumping/bull-fighting/extreme curling or whatever the !@#$% you're doing lately, Wiggo!