To rocket, or not to rocket.
Illustrations by Krys Blakemore
There was a time, not too long ago, when I thought blowing snot out of your nose was the most vile act possible while on a ride. Afflicted, as many of us are, with the clogged nose that accompanies riding (where does it come from? It seems to affect me in all seasons. Any doctors out there feel free to weigh in on the subject), I would sometimes head out with a pack of tissues in my jersey pocket, sometimes I would just be the one constantly sniffling at the back of whatever group I was with. Perfectly respectable and (dare I say?) ladylike as I might have been, I was also ruining my breathing during my workouts and essentially slowing myself down.
It all changed one day, when I raced my first combined 3/4 field. I decided to stick behind a friend, let’s call her Jules, who was a Cat 3. Jules is completely awesome, really fast, and I knew she usually functioned as lead out for her team. So I figured if I could stick behind her I’d be right where I needed to be at the end.
At some point, following her red kit and long braid around the four corner oval criterium course, doing my usual painful and inadequate sniffle pattern, I received a solid and well-packed loogie right in the shoulder. It only narrowly missed my face. I looked down, just for a moment, in disgust. Is that what I think it is? Did Jules just spit on me? Of course there wasn’t much time to think about it, I could only keep pedaling, which is what you do in a race. I didn’t even wipe it off.
Of course, Jules didn't spit on me on purpose. It was not a defensive tactic to get me off her wheel and leave room for her teammate. She was racing her damn bike, and getting rid of the phlegm which often occurs when you are in zone 4 and needs to be expelled for you to breathe fully and get all of the oxygen to your legs.
I was liberated that day.
On the bike, you do what you gotta do. You shoot rockets of snot out of your nostril, you hawk up loogies that would make your dad proud and toss ‘em over your shoulder. What you don’t do is look back and see where they landed. Because it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you lay yourself on the line. It is not the time to be polite, but to be selfish.
So this is your invitation ladies. Do not be polite. Forget what manners you’ve been taught. If you’re new to the game and feeling unsure, I’ve included an illustrated guide to help you on your way.
PS: I am now a spitting connoisseur, but when I say it doesn’t matter whose behind you, this is for hammer-mode, only. If you are on a social group ride, I do not recommend spitting or snot-rocketing on the girl behind you.Special thanks to Krys Blakemore for the illustrations featured in this guide.