Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Xmas Break: Who Poofed in the Peloton

(Joe Biker Note: It's that time of the year when you patch the 23 tubes you flatted in 2011, find your hiking boots, and of course face the decision on whether to get "Call of Duty: Blood, Cussing & Grenades" or "Bop-It" for your 11 year old nephew.  While I'm out wishing I was riding, enjoy this classic from The Best Bike Blog 2006 Archives: "Who Poofed in the Peloton."

You're rolling down the road at 23-25 mph and it hits you.  Woo-wee!  You squinch your nose and turn your head.  Dang.  That's nasty.

In the peloton its nearly impossible to figure out who poofed...until now.  Its a matter of weighing the variables such as wind direction and turbulence from churning legs and eliminating outside sources such as garbage trucks and dead animals along the creek.  Based on physics and aerodynamic principals, the rule that whoever smelt it-dealt it does not apply.  Within a second of the poof leaving the factory, it can travel dozens of meters.

You=Red, Possible Poof=Green

However, one rule does apply. If you smelt it, it most definitely came from within the "cone of poof probability" in front of you (see diagram left.) The vortex of the "cone of poof probability" is the shorts of the person in front of you and stretches forward in either direction to the sides of the peloton. Poofs on a bike don't travel side to side too quickly. So the persons directly to the right or left of the person in front of you are unlikely sources of the poof.
The first thing you need to do is figure out whether it was an actual poof or some other offending odor. It's not so easy. But, if you're on a route that you're familiar with, you should be familiar with the odors in that area. Is there a creek or river nearby? Are you in a trashy part of town? Are you out in the farmlands? Does the odor smell like any of these things? Or, does it smell like the remains of a mushroom & broccoli omelet or day old pizza.
Ah ha! Now you know it was a poof. But, who poofed in the peloton?
First, let's revisit the "cone of poof probability." The "cone of poof probability" is rather small and based on the speed you're traveling at. At ten miles per hour, the cone may be a ninety-degree angle from the buttocks of the person in front of you. However, at 25 miles per hour, that cone gets much thinner, maybe only 60 degrees.
What you need to do, is count the number of people in that area. Say you're in the front third of a pack of fifty riders, traveling at 25 miles per hour. There are maybe 18 people in front of you. But, at 25 miles an hour, there are probably only 8-9 people within the "cone of poof probability."
Poof Eliminator
Now, out of those eight and based on pure experience alone, I think you can rule out the really skinny riders. For some reason, larger riders tend to poof more in public. Maybe it's because they eat more meat, cheese and fats. I do. I used to weigh 163 and poofed a lot.  However, now as a 150 pound vegan, beans have a tendency for poofiness.  So, pick out the big boys and known vegan/vegetarians.  That should at least cut 4 people out of the equation and brings it down to an educated guess.
Do you know those riders? Who's more jovial? Who puts on deodorant before races?  Who's more outspoken? Who's the prankster? Who reads GQ?  Who's the goofball? Who smells like Tide laundry detergent?  Who's most unkempt? Who's got the messiest car in the parking lot at the race? Who would think it's funny to beef a poof in the peloton? Who wouldn't care about poofing on his fellow racers?
Out of the five possible offenders, rate them. On a scale of one to five, who's the most likely poofer? I'm pretty sure by now you know whom poofed in the peloton.
So, now what. Big deal. You know whom poofed. What good is that information? I really don't know. I don't think there's a USCF rule against poofing in the peloton. But, by now, having taken your mind off the race for a few minutes, you're probably relaxed and recovered.
I'd attack that damn poofer.

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