Monday, May 14, 2012

AOMM: Game Day!

I will be riding in my 17th or so AOMM, and thought I'd offer a few comments about game day:

(1) Don't be "that jerk." Yes, this is a harsh # 1, but it is the most important thing I can offer. Every decision YOU make in a large, competitive (and dangerous) environment is a decision FOR EVERYONE ELSE. So an example: You decide to jump over the yellow line and advance in the pack because you plan to win the AOMM (insert sarcasm here), and a motorist driving legally in the on-coming lane appears so you dive back into your proper lane...endangering everyone near where you dive back in and sending a ripple-effect into the entire pack...So as I said, don't be "that jerk."

(2) Arrive at the start with all your equipment checked over and over. New tires or checked tires. New tubes. Clean chain and properly shifting drive-train. Bottle cages tight and secure. Saddle bag secure and filled (tubes, CO2s, tire lever, boot, mini-tool). Shoes and cleats clean and checked for wear. Numbers on and secure (jersey and bicycle).

(3) If you need and carry more than two water bottles, carry the extra in your jersey pocket. PLEASE DO NOT CARRY BOTTLES IN TRIATHLETE CAGES BEHIND YOUR SADDLE. THEY COME OUT EASILY AND OFTEN, AND THUS ENDANGER OTHER CYCLISTS (SEE #1 ABOVE).

(4) Know your ability and experience as a cyclist. Do not ride over your head in effort. Hold your line (don't surge, slam on brakes, swing left or right) and TALK to your fellow cyclists in ways that ensure everyone's safety ("Hole left!," "Gravel!," "On you left"...).

(5) Make no sudden moves to meet a sag or speak to a friend or family on the road. Be extra careful at SAG stops and when riding through Tom Johnson Campground. Be aware all day that you aren't the only cyclist on the road, and that roads are primarily open to motorists.

(6) Don't cross the yellow line, and don't break any laws or basic courtesy of cycling. This isn't a race, and we all have jobs. We all want to ride a long time, including the days after the AOMM. Relax. About 1 billion things are more important than what you are about to do...

(7) Ride the ride that fits your goals, and try to have the best day you can. If you are trying just to finish, and you do, that was excellent. Nobody else's agenda really matters. If you are trying to do your best time, I really hope you do. That is a great day to have. I hit my goal once a few years ago; I sleep better at night now even though I suspect I'll never do it again. [If things go no-so-well, we'll have the AOMM next year...]

(8) Compliment other riders. Firmly insist other riders not be "that jerk." Thank the volunteers, including the police officers at the intersections. Thank the fans who cheer and wave at us as we pass.

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