January 22, 2018


Ron Saetermoe

I don’t hear it talked about much but etiquette plays a big part in our sport. It hit me Saturday as I was riding on Santiago Canyon.

I saw a guy with a flat on the other side of the road and I called out “Need anything?” For those of you that don’t know, essentially what I was asking is whether he had everything he needed to fix whatever problem he was having.

No sooner did I call out that he yelled back “Ron?” It was my buddy Al Gaspari – the same guy I did the Honu 70.3 with a few weeks back.

I crossed over to discover he had a flat so I watched him change it and we chatted. I’ve made similar stops for people over the years. It’s really a good feeling being able to help someone out.

The first time I remember needing such help was at the Malibu triathlon. I finished the swim and got to my bike only to find out I had a flat. Oh well, no PR today. I changed it hastily (bad idea) and started out. No sooner did I leave transition that I got another flat.

I started to fix it again and snapped the valve stem. Well, that was the end of my day. At least I didn’t have far to walk to the car. My first DNF . . . or was it?

There was a guy, a cyclist, watching the race and saw my dilemma. Flat with no more spares. He looked over the situation and not only gave me a tube but he helped me change the flat as well. A good Samaritan I thanked but will never see again.

I think most of us in this sport are the same. I think we watch out for each other and encourage each other, even if we’re in the same age group. It would be a shallow victory for me to beat one of my main competitors when they weren’t at their best.

So next time you see someone pulled over to the side of the road, yell out “Need anything?”


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