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Don’t Be That Person

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Hey Guys! Todd here!

I really want to write about how wonderful the Ride for a Reason was this weekend… however, there is something that I need to get off my chest. (I’ll write about the event next time, but will include this lovely picture with Sher and Sam!)

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Something occurred during the ride in which everybody who reads this could learn from.

If you’re not aware, TriAugusta’s Ride for a Reason is a supported preview of the Augusta 70.3 bike course. There were over 250 athletes who participated in the ride. As a member of the club and head coach of the youth club that benefited from the ride, I gladly participated in the event.

Here’s where it gets interesting…

As we were finishing up almost 60 miles, we were riding on a street three miles from the event location. The road was not busy.  And three of us were riding as a group. Inadvertently, because it wasn’t busy and because we were tired, we were riding three wide in the lane–two in the lane, one in the bike lane. (More on this, later…)

As we were riding, another cyclist came riding up to us, CURSING about us riding three wide and exclaiming we were trying to get him killed.  We looked around—no cars, nothing—just him.  And as he rode off, he stuck up his middle finger, cursing more, and rode off. We tried to catch up to him but he beat us to a light. (Where, mind you—he RAN the red light.)

I managed to catch him as he turned into the event’s host hotel.

I explained to him that the event was a fundraiser for a kid’s tri club and his behavior was embarrassing, that I didn’t appreciate his language and he wasn’t being a good ambassador of the sport. He showed no remorse for his actions by continuously saying, “Whatever, man. Whatever…”

As I stood there, I looked at him.

There it was, his club tri top, right on him. It was as though it was screaming at me. When I realized he didn’t care whatsoever and saw his tri club name, I said the club name to him, and said, “good enough.”

Here’s what you need to know about this situation…

First, were we wrong? Yeah, probably. We shouldn’t have been three wide, riding.  That being said, we weren’t on a busy street, and we were three riders who were aware of their surroundings. Still, no three-wide. I got that.  BUT there’s a way for that cyclist to have approached the situation. You could get a point across without cussing or flipping the bird.

Second, if you’re wearing your triathlon group/club kit, don’t be an idiot. The ramifications of this are far-reaching.

When you wear your club kit, you represent the club.  Because of this, I was able to look up the club, find out the individual’s name and what he’s all about through Facebook. It’s really not difficult. Then, the situation really, really bothered me because our club hosts a lot of visiting clubs in Augusta.

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We work with many clubs to help show them around the Augusta 70.3 bike course. His club is one of the clubs that comes to visit often and we help out. So to be disrespected like this by one of their club members stung.

I sent a message to his club addressing his behavior while wearing their kit, in which, they promptly sent a message to the individual and addressed it.

The thing about this is the sportsmanship.

Keep in mind, USAT has a penalty for poor sportsmanship. You’re not supposed to curse other athletes, other “friends” in this sport. There’s really no room for it. We have a hard enough time from motorists and those who don’t understand our sport—but other cyclists? Come one.

The point of all this is simple. If you’re a guest in somebody’s city, be a good guest. If you’re going to wear your club kit, please remember you’re representing your group–you should be putting your best face forward. Sportsmanship is not only something to be used during races… it matters during training as well.

– Todd

Todd is a husband, father of three, youth triathlon coach, and 140.6 finisher.
He’s heading to another 70.3 this season, and is our new voice of Swim Bike Kid.

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15 Comments

  • Cynthia @ You Signed Up For WHAT?!

    August 15, 2014 at 10:55 am

    This, exactly this: “You could get a point across without cussing or flipping the bird.” YES!!! How hard would it have been for him to point it out in a friendly, good-sportsmanship-like manner and say “hey guys, remember to tighten up your line, makes me nervous to pass you’re 3 across!” Well, maybe that’s too many words to say as you’re riding by, but seriously that is way too aggressive. I wish I could have previewed the course too – next year!

    Reply
  • Barbara Ann

    August 15, 2014 at 11:34 am

    Great post Todd. Every time I get beeped at or a car passes WAY too close I always try to tell myself, “they just don’t understand”. But when a “friend” does that, it’s downright hurtful. Good for you for following up with the Club.

    Reply
  • Lisa

    August 15, 2014 at 11:59 am

    Very well said Todd. Thank you for sharing this as well as following up with his tri club. You hit right in the money. This sport is difficult enough without having to endure poor sportsmanship from our fellow triathletes

    Reply
  • Justin Snyder

    August 15, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    I do not mean to condone his actions for a second because he was wrong and you did a great job of explaining how and why. The question is what is the proper thing to say to get the point across so that the overtaking rider alerts you? I say “left”all day long to the folks who are riding 3 across or just riding far far left because they feel like it and they don’t budge forcing me to either slam on my breaks or pass in the other lane risking a head on. How can that be addressed at 22 mph in a polite way? I’m not being rude. I just don’t have an answer. Thanks, Justin

    Reply
    • Todd for Swim Bike Kid

      August 16, 2014 at 8:57 am

      Well… I can’t condone going across the double yellow. Its dangerous and USAT has a rule against it so you shouldn’t do it in training. Therefore, if you’re having to stop, take the time to explain that its dangerous and not appropriate to ride three wide. They simply may not know any better. Even experienced riders may fall into three wide accidentally for a moment if they’re trying to communicate, pass a bottle, etc. People make mistakes. They don’t need cussed or flipped off.

      Reply
  • Kris

    August 15, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    I will probably be the unpopular reply but I don’t care. While him swearing and flipping you off wasn’t the best approach maybe he’s seen it too many times by fellow cyclists and finally snapped. Were you “probably” wrong to ride three across? Not probably, you were. You were BOTH in the wrong here.
    I’ve come upon three across in my vehicle coming the opposite direction and they did not budge. I could have stuck out my arm and touched the 3rd guy. I was livid especially when my neighbor was walking on the other side of the road and I had no where to go except to basically stop. It took everything in me to not turn around and reem them a new one AND call the police. Riding three across is dangerous and although you say you were aware of your surroundings, it doesn’t take much to not be aware of a vehicle coming up from behind you if you’re talking with your buddies and/or in a groove.

    Reply
      • Kris

        August 15, 2014 at 4:25 pm

        I absolutely agree. The other rider could and should have said something along those lines. He handled it poorly.
        I feel three things can be taken away from this post and that is don’t cuss and flip off a fellow rider, don’t ride 3 across and respect your club.

        Reply
    • Todd for Swim Bike Kid

      August 16, 2014 at 8:04 am

      There were two in the lane, one in the bike lane. Its legal to ride two in the vehicle lane. While it appeared to be “three wide” we were not.

      It was a five lane highway with very little traffic on it at the time.

      Reply
      • Kate

        October 8, 2014 at 3:08 pm

        I’m not sure if this matters / applies to this situation or not. However, on my bike team in college our coach taught us it may actually be safer to ride two abreast when there is moderate traffic – as cars now feel compelled to actually drive around your “pack” as opposed to just fly by you barely skinning your elbows. He told us that it made us appear larger to the vehicles who are now more likely to slow down and pass with care. Right or wrong? I have no idea, but I agree that regardless of the situation, being a jerk is no way to be in the triathlon world. We’re a family, let’s keep it that way.

        Reply
  • Lori

    August 15, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    Had someone do the very same to me and my girls. However, this person was coming at us from the opposite direction. It was early and dark outside. We very much could tell if traffc was coming up behind us. This person did not even have one ounce of safety equipment on their bike or person…..no lights, no reflective gear and NO HELMET! And he wants to holler at me??

    Reply
  • Stephanie

    August 15, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    AMEN!
    When I ride with my team kit on I am especially aware of what it means and how I am viewed because it DOES have an impact on MY TEAM.
    Don’t be that jerk either way.

    Reply
  • Lisa

    August 15, 2014 at 5:51 pm

    I agree with both Kris and Cynthia, while the other rider did not need to be hostile, riding three across is not only dangerous for you and other riders trying to get around you but it also angers the motorists with whom we share the road. It is never acceptable to let the rules of the road slide just because you think you’re the only one on the road any more than its okay for motorists to text or speed just because they assume they’re the only ones on the road.

    Reply
  • Becky

    August 16, 2014 at 10:45 am

    I agree that the guy was a jerk and then confirmed it by not apologizing when you spoke to him later-even if he had just said he was tired, frustrated, etc. and should not have spoken so harshly, that would have helped. And if you were riding where I think you were riding, one in the bike lane and two in the right lane was OK and he should have been able to pass without too much trouble. I will say that I participated in the ride and did note that a lot of people were riding without much concern for their surroundings, not responding to an “on your left”. I hope this was because it was a ride not a race, and this is not a problem during the actual race. It certainly made me aware that I need to position myself not to get stuck behind people on a hill if at all possible. Overall, it was a well-organized ride and I am sorry you had to deal with a jerk-they have them in every sport!

    Reply

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