Wednesday, August 6, 2008

What Cracking Sounds Like

A few weeks ago, a friend was telling me what to listen for when you've cracked the rider behind you on a long climb. She said that if the rider behinds you coughs or spits, it's usually a good indicator that he/she is redlining, and that this is the time to attack. I immediately thought of an evil trick, and have since been getting behind someone going up a long hill and trying to fake them out with a cough or a spit. I want to see if they will go early, so I can hang on and swoop them at the top for those precious group ride KOM points.

"Hooray for me," I will shout. "I won the Tuesday Night Ride." Alert VeloNews.

(By the way, nobody has fallen for this yet. Which is probably good because hefty old farts like me don't have enough oomph left to swoop anybody on a long hill.)

Anyway, the other night I thought of some other sounds you could listen for on a long climb to know when to attack:
  • Water-bottle shake. This is the sloshy rattle of somebody pulling out their water bottle and trying to unclump the Cytomax from the bottom. This is either your cue to drink something because the Shaker behind you will attack when they put their bottle back, or attack now while their mouth is full of drink.
  • Shifter clunk. Even better, if you have super-hearing, is if you could hear the sound of aborted shifter clunk. This is what happens when you push the lever over to get into the 25-tooth cog, and find that you're already in the 25-tooth cog.

Now, these are both obvious ones. Here's some less-well-known-but-good-sounds-to-key-an-attack-off-of-(pardon-my-dangling-participle):

  • Ring ... ring ... "Hey, what's up?" When somebody answers their cell phone behind you on a long steep hill, you either need to attack or tap out and go do the Beginner's Ride.
  • Chain-drop rattle. You probably don't really need to attack at this point, but I wanted to throw this in. We've all had it happen, and most of us have had it happen when we're going so slow that we can't unclip and we fall over and take out a couple of other riders (sorry about that Janet and Mike). Or maybe that was just me.
  • "Charging paddles ... clear!" I mean, if the guy's having a heart attack anyway, he probably won't even be in contention to win the Tuesday Night Ride. And ambulances tend to slow up the pack behind you.

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