Human behavior is an interesting thing to observe. During the race yesterday was a good example. Many Olympic distance swimmers were coming out of the water before the Sprinters started. Quite a few athletes saw the lead guys coming out of the water and stood cheering them – right in the path they had to run to get into transition. It didn’t occur to them to move. The bike course was an 8 mile loop so both distance athletes were riding together either two or three loops. On the back of our legs we had our age and either “S” for Sprint or “O” for Olympic. I was amazed at how many Olympic distance athletes did not know the drafting rules. One woman thought she would ride next to me for a while. After at least ten seconds I had to tell her that she only has 15 seconds to pass me or she is drafting. She had no idea and pulled back. Another woman actually told me as we were entering the slow down area into transition that she was going to pass me on the right. I politely said “no, you are not.” Then there are the observers near the finish who want to cross the run path to get to their car and don’t think to look up to see if runners are coming.
I also experienced a bit of the surprises of human behavior today training. This morning I swam and it was uneventful. We did 2,000 meters with several 75 meter sprints but nothing too taxing. Then I road late this afternoon. As in most of the US right now, we are experiencing a heat wave. When I left to ride 20 miles it was still 87 degrees out. I took plenty of sports drink on the ride and headed out. I always pump my tires before I ride and I keep a CO2 cartridge with me. Now I need to add spare tube to my saddle bag… On my way back I was 18.22 miles into a great ride. The heat was not bad because there was a nice breeze. I was riding strong for the hills averaging over 16 miles per hour. I approached the four way stop that I turn to go home, only 2.5 miles or so to my house, and I heard a very loud pop from my front tire. Instant flat. I knew the tube was shot, but I still tried the CO2 just incase. Nothing. I always ride with my mobile phone – so I called a good friend of mine, and blogger by the way, who lives close by and I know her husband has a pickup truck. Within a few minutes I am at ease knowing he will be there to pick me up in 10 minutes. I also checked my text messages and saw a friend of mine who I texted I was riding this afternoon sent a message asking if I was finished riding yet. His check in was nice to read. I also texted my training partner to let her know what happened. We always check in when we ride.
But then I noticed something else. I was at a four way stop clearly not able to ride and cars came and went. SUVs, pickup trucks, and mini-vans mostly – then I started counting after at least 10 had already passed, eight more drove by. Nothing. At least 20 cars stopped at the intersection and drove right on by. Only one asked if I was okay, if I needed water since it was so hot, and if I needed a ride. One cyclist passed and stopped. He offered me his spare tube. I couldn’t take it – I had a ride on the way and he still had miles to go. He may need it. I was very surprised. As a cyclist, I always stop when I see someone stopped and off the bike. I know many people are hesitant to take a ride from a stranger, but I always ask if they have a phone, is someone coming, do they need water. People seem to have agendas and refuse to change course, stopping may require they actually have to do something. They may be late to where they are going. They may excuse it by thinking someone else will stop, so they don’t have to. I sure hope they don’t need someone to stop for them, they may realize they were wrong. A kind gesture, a quick check in from a friend, just asking if they can make a call – all small things that require such little effort, yet mean so much. I am grateful for friends and two kind strangers who took the time to check on me and to help. Hopefully others will catch on.