Friday, March 5, 2010

Dr. Spalm - Round 1

Dr. Spalm has recently returned from the Haiti. He was not there helping.

An astute and perspicacious reader sent in the following question:

Question for Dr Spalm - How does a 208 lb meat wagon effectively draft
behind a 135 lb cricket?


Dr. Spalm responds: Thank you astute and perspicacious Never was again. Before I go on, I should remark that I have removed the "-", or as you Americans call them, hyphens, from between your name. I have done this for two reasons. The first is that I am paid by the word to produce answers to these questions and those cold-hearted b*st*rds that make up Team Two Wheel would argue for an hour about whether "Never-was-again" was one word or three, but I have forestalled this issue by cleverly removing the "-" and by droning on for a multitude of words before getting to the topic.

Next, I should address that nickname, Never was again. I don't know you personally, although I have been told that you should shower more regularly, but I am guessing that this is clever word play on the concept of a "has been". I would argue, dear NWA, that you are not a "never was", but more of a "never could have been", but I guess that is for history to determine.

Now for the meat of your question. This is indeed a perplexing problem. On training rides with relatively few riders of the recreational variety, it is often the case that larger riders and smaller riders will appear. I have heard that one approach is to recognize that people come in every shape and size and that we should learn to love our brethren for their differences. This is nonsense.

I suggest that you do the following: 1) first, start the ride next to your cricket-sized friend; 2) if the wind is blowing or you end up in a paceline situation, take a short and hard pull and then quickly pull to the side while you examine your brake or crankset, which will cause the cricket to a) not understand that you are faking it and b) cause him to move up; 3) when Mr. Cricket moves over as if to allow you forward, simply move over behind him and, if possible, adjust your shoe and re-examine your brake or crankset; 4) when Mr. Cricket finally won't fall for this tactic anymore, ride up next to him on the non-curb side as if you were going to take a pull and then when you are 2/3 in front of him veer sharply towards the curb. Mr. Cricket's front wheel will be battered sideways causing him to head directly into the curb, gutter or gravel-strewn shoulder and crash. Since you were in front of him, you have no need to look back or recognize the anguished cries of Mr. Cricket and his cracked clavicle. He will, however, never dare sit behind you enjoying your massive draft while he offers no such similar protection from the wind.

One final caveat. If your cricket-sized friend is actually Paulo "The Cricket" Bettini, do not try this. He will cut you so quick you will be bleeding before you know he has his knife out.

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