Recently, it has been brought to my attention that, in the past (near and distant), I have yelled at people on group training rides. That I have a reputation as a “hater” has disturbed me for several reasons. First, it is highly inconsistent with my self-concept. I really do care about other people and their feelings. And, I want the sport of cycling to grow—the last thing I want to do is to run people off. What is also troubling is that I have yelled at people of whom I have no recollection whatsoever. Maybe I have finally lost my mind, or, maybe, the post-concussion syndrome has morphed into full-on dementia. Who knows?
I do know that I have no tolerance for stupidity. I am not talking about the puerile behavior of the boys on the group rides: “monkeyshines,” “weeds in the wheel,” “drop a junior,” etc. Nor, am I talking about the dick-swinging that shatters the group—the only harm there is wounded egos. I am referring to the stupidity and apparently thoughtless behavior that endangers the safety of the group. So, if you ride in the wrong lane around a blind corner, split riders while bombing a descent at 40+ mph, make sudden and unexpected lateral moves, force someone across the centerline, or think it's just fine to leave the new guy behind in the middle of nowhere, chances are, I will yell at you. If I were strong enough, I’d just attack instead of yelling, and attempt to make my point that way. Although, the connection between the stupid behavior and my “reaction” might be missed....
Maybe my concern for my friends’ safety is just a manifestation of my hyper-awareness of others’ needs or, perhaps, it is buried maternal instinct. Maybe I should adopt a Darwinian perspective—survival of the fittest and all that (i.e., if you crash because your training buddy is a dumbass, too bad for you.) Sorry people, but I am too old to undergo such a fundamental change in who I am.
I would like to point out that an individual’s “mouthiness” is not always a good indicator of their true nature. Based on reputation, the guys who have without fail waited for me, pulled me back to the group, given me their food, water, and gloves, are the ones who should have left me for dead. Clichés exist because they are true: “actions speak louder than words.”