The No Pass Rule

Posted by SuperClydesdale on February 26, 2010 under Commentary | Be the First to Comment

Cycling is such wonderful stress therapy.  You’re out in nature, enjoying the sun, getting your heart rate up, wind on your face – awesome.    There’s the thrill of a high-speed descent, the challenge of the long, steep climb, and the smooth, rhythmic locomotion of the flats.

Isn’t life sweet?  Ah, the delight of such simple pleasures.

… then someone has to ruin it by attacking your very soul.   These people, probably devil-worshiping puppy killers, are compelled to try to humiliate and belittle you – to rob you of your self esteem.   How?   They try to pass you.

For anyone who has ridden with me for any period of time knows about the No Pass Rule.   I’ve mentioned it in previous articles.   The Rule is a guiding principle.   It defines me.  The rule is simple:  you can’t pass me.  It’s unacceptable.

So, an informal survey:

Question 1:  What would be worse?

(a)    Finding out that you’d been walking around all day with your fly down

(b)   Being passed by another rider

Question 2:  What would be worse?

(a)    Walking into a meeting with a long trail of toilet paper stuck to your shoe

(b)   Being passed by another rider

Question 3:  What would be worse?

(a)    Inadvertently sending a seriously inappropriate joke to “Jack Anderson”, the VP of Human Resources instead of “Jack Andersen”, your old college buddy?

(b)   Being passed by another rider.

While some of these – to the less psychotic – might appear to be close calls, I’d have to say that the correct answer to all questions is clearly “b”.

It takes a high level of commitment to invoke the No Pass Rule, and you’ve got to be pretty confident and fit in order to even consider using it.   It took me about 18 months once I got back into cycling to be in a position to renew the No Pass Rule.  Now that Spring is nearly upon us, and my fitness level is returning, I can once again plot the use of this.

I developed The Rule in my youth – I can safely say that from high school until I was a college junior, I was never passed.  Not once.  It’s not that I was a world-class rider —  I grew up in Las Vegas, and at that time, there were very few serious riders.  I can barely recall ever seeing anyone even in riding “kit”.  I was somewhat of a freak wearing lycra, causing the occasional bottle to be hurled my way.   The No Pass Rule was developed almost by default – there didn’t seem to be anybody who could challenge my fitness level.  Finally, when I was a junior in college, I was out on a ride with my riding partner, a Japanese national student named Shinji Yokoi.  Shinji was an absolute stud rider.   He had raced in Japan, and was in tremendous shape. As usual, we were keeping a pretty brisk pace, and we were overtaken by another rider.   I was shocked.   I had literally never been passed before.    We immediately tucked in behind the guy and rode for several miles before the guy eventually dropped us.   We talked to the guy at our turn-around point.  Apparently, this guy had just returned from Olympic training camp.    I had never seen such a strong rider — it certainly took me down a peg.   The first violation of the No Pass Rule.

So, obviously, the No Pass Rule is not something I am always successful with.   There are certainly people on my riding team – people who apparently practice some sort of Velo Voodoo that gives them special powers (also called  “racers” in some dark circles) — that can pass me.  Even in these circumstances, it really irks me.   I don’t like to be passed by these devil worshipers.

No Pass Rule provides constant challenge.   If you are out on a ride and see a big guy in bright yellow shoes,   don’t even think of trying to pass him.

Add A Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.