In some cycling circles this bone head move is know as a Break-a-lame. Some go so far as to call these riders Wad Blowers, or the more PC “natural sprinter.” Nothing ruins a group ride faster than a dolt who shoots off the front of a strong paceline causing everyone to surge and chase, only to have said dolt sit up when others reach the dolt’s wheel. This particular syndrome is known to the cycling community as AAD, Attack And Die. Symptoms include half-wheeling, increased time spent riding alone, chest thumping, frequent looking over one’s shoulder, moving left after their “attack” is done and they are in the “die” mode, riding with their knees out while attacking with hands on the hoods, the inability to hold a respectable fast speed for more than 14.3 seconds without needing a 5 minute recovery and a Clif Bar, and an over-zealous appreciation of high speed coasting.
Those with AAD also didn’t get enough attention from their mommies. If they weren’t going off the front and sitting up on your group ride they’d be shouting “get in the hole” at televised golf tournaments. I consultultated (a George Bush term) with The Global Center For Naming Everything With Latin Lingo and they have approved a whole new animal kingdom sounding term for this dufus, Attackus-Nonstickus. Women aren’t immune from AAD. On occasion I have witnessed the female of the Attackus-Nonstickus species go all AAD on a group. It’s very rare and just as unimpressive. The Attackus-Nonstickus doesn’t realize that there’s no glory in an attack unless you can stick it to the end of the ride, the sprint sign or the coffee shop. To attack and not stick it is like a football player fumbling the ball on the goal line…a shameful wasted effort.
If you encounter an Attackus-Nonstickus, first of all never give a hard chase. The Attackus-Nonstickus, much like a 7th grader pulling the fire alarm at school, thrives on attention. By standing up and ramping up the speed to quickly close the gap you just fuel the fire, the cycling equivalent of dialing 9-1-1. You also risk dropping riders you enjoy riding with. By maintaining a steady tempo and gradually reeling in the Attackus-Nonstickus you don’t give them undue attention. The best catch of an Attackus-Nonstickus is not to simply reach their wheel, but to just keep rolling by them like they aren’t even there. It’s easy because they usually end up on the left after their non-sticking attack. Even better, during the chase, arrange the order of the paceline so the weakest rider of the group is the one who ends up making the catch and the pass. That leaves an Attackus-Nonstickus thinking “what the?” in their head as ninety-pound Nancy rolls on by. If this technique fails to quash the spirits of the Attackus-Nonstickus, your next option is to systematically drop them from the ride. While it does sound mean spirited, it opens up a whole new world of fun to those “in” on the drop.
To accomplish this, let the Attackus-Nonstickus off the front at least 3 times. Each of those three times reel them in as stated above. However, on the 4th attack, preferably at the farthest point form where you started or in a bad part of town reel them in steadily. Before you make the catch, let your co-riders know you’re going to drill it. Say something sly like “get ready to go.” When you make the catch sit on the wheel of the Attackus-Nonstickus just long enough for them to feel as if they have tired you out. Count to three bananas. Let out a big sigh to solidify your bluff. Now! Swing out wide-right to the shoulder and drill it! Go hard enough to get a gap but not so hard as to lose the riders behind you. Now dial it up to donkey wheezing speed. Even if the Attackus-Nonstickus managed to see the move, they won’t be able to grab the last spot in the paceline before they know what hit ‘em. Now YOU got to stick it. Hold it hard for one minute followed by a steady pace higher than the original pace of the ride. Don’t look back for the next five minutes. Since the Attackus-Nonstickus will be tired from their four hard efforts, has no idea that attacks can go up the right side of the road, and can’t hold a fast speed for more than 14.3 seconds, you will never see them again…at least until next week’s group ride.