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What does "ride in the gutter" mean?(10 posts)

What does "ride in the gutter" mean?kushogun
Mar 5, 2003 12:19 PM
Always hear it thrown around when the weather or the going gets tough. Just curious as exactly what this means.
re: What does "ride in the gutter" mean?Spunout
Mar 5, 2003 12:24 PM
Probably common from racing in Belgium. When a crosswind blows a race apart, the last guys in a diagonal paceline are on the other side of the road, usually off the road in the gutter trying to get out of the sleet blowing off the sea. When you're off the back of one of these, you are in the gutter frozen, hurting, and your eyeballs are bleeding.

When you want to attack such a group, ride on the side of the road where nobody can draft you.

Also, in Paris-Roubaix we see alot of racers in the gutter because it is smoother than the cobbles!
refers to an eschelon in a crosswindlonefrontranger
Mar 5, 2003 12:25 PM
An eschelon is a paceline pointing windward in a hard group ride or race in a stiff crosswind. With the wind coming in over your left shoulder (centerline), the weaker riders will be struggling to hang onto the backside of the line, meaning they will be all the way over in the gravel and grass on the right-hand (lee) side of the paceline, i.e. "in the gutter"

I never knew the true meaning of this term until I did some tough spring races in Boulder. I spent the entire first half of my first season racing here "in the gutter" barely struggling to hang on. It's not a nice feeling, at all.
it refers to ...sacheson
Mar 5, 2003 12:28 PM
... being pushed towards the farthest boundary of the road while trying to ride in someone's slipstream ... that point where, if you move 1 inch to the side you'll be riding on the shoulder of the road.

Does that help?

Of course, being in the gutter is what happens when you return from a long ride in the gutter only to be reminded by your significant other that you didn't take the trash out.
..true, there is a dog house in my gutter ;-) nmSpunout
Mar 5, 2003 12:35 PM
My Mom always said to keep my mind out of the gutter. nmJuanmoretime
Mar 5, 2003 2:31 PM
Riding in an echelon is not the sameSherpa23
Mar 5, 2003 3:40 PM
This is the real reason: When there is crosswind, you ride in a echelon, as other mentioned, but riding in an echelon is not riding in the gutter. If you ridei nan echelon, you are letting others draft. What do you do if you don't want others to have the benefit of the draft: you ride on the far side of the road AWAY from the direction of the wind. So now, you're on the side of the road, tearing things up, and everyone is strung out behind you in the only place that they can get the smallest sliver of shelter from the wind- even more on to the edge of the road - and the guy behind him and guy behind him and so on. So pretty much the whole field is in the gutter with virtually no draft. That's riding in the gutter.

BTW, in Belgium, unless you are in a town, there are no gutters. You ride on the edge of the grass in a crosswind (provided that someone is trying to drop you). I remember going to the showers after a race with grass blades stuck in my hair, teeth, ears, etc. Gutters are a luxury.
la bordurephilippec
Mar 6, 2003 1:00 AM
the posts below have got it right -- w/ a side wind, the "gutter" is not where you want to be. As soon as this happens, you have to start up a new echelon or kiss your chances of staying w/ the lead group g-bye! Here in France we call it "la bordure" and to get strung out in the gutter is to get youself "gutterised" ("se faire borduré"). The gutter is a bad, bad place that you want to avoid at all costs!



The "fan" you guys are talking about is called an echelon. It is
something that even a lot of good cat 1 and 2 riders can't do properly.
It looks something like this: (Each "|" is a rider.)

Wind from the left

The single file guys at the bottom of the picture are "in the gutter".
Though they may be behind another rider they are getting almost no draft
and their days are numbered unless they can get into the echelon proper.

The riders in the echelon will rotate through from the sheltered side to
the front and then back in the windward side. i.e. With wind from the
left you rotate counter clockwise and you rotate clockwise when the wind
is from the right. If you are riding in a echelon and you want to keep
things smooth and together you will NEVER take a big long pull on the
front. You will always just rotate through. If you take a big pull at
the front, the previously pulling riders will continue to drift back.
Especially since the last guy to pull is still in the wind waiting for
you to swing over and give him a draft! What you'll end up with is a
single file echelon. This is bad because the number of riders that can
fit into an echelon is determined by the width of the road. If you go
single file, then only half as many can fit into the echelon and you've
got a lot of pissed off riders pushing the wind.

A strong team (like ONCE) can cause a lot of damage in a cross wind. By
putting the whole team on the front and making the echelon just wide
enough for the team, they can drive the pace up front hard enough to
shatter the field. Smart riders will start forming second and third
echelons behind the original. This is the best thing to do.
Unfortunately there are two problems. First, as soon as you get close,
some moron will try and jump across to the first echelon. This is
usually stupid because the reason you are in the second echelon is
because they're no room in the first one. So the offending moron will
often find himself stuck in the gutter unless he can muscle his way into
the echelon. (A lot like trying to knock Abdu off of his leadout man
with 300 meters to go.) The second problem is that most of the stronger
riders are probably already in the first echelon so you're at a
horsepower disadvantage.

Often, early in a race, the field might encounter a strong cross wind and
break into as many as eight or ten echelons. Each echelon will be within
50 to 100 meters of the next one. They will continue like this until the
course turns either into or with the wind and the group will reform.
Just because you aren't physically connected to the front group in this
situation IS NOT NECESSARILY A REASON TO PANIC. If there are only ten
miles to go however, feel free to panic. :)

There's nothing about an echelon that makes it faster than a regular pace
line. The reason it will break the field up is that only part of the
field will fit in an echelon.
Thanks...I like tidbits like that (nm)LactateIntolerant
Mar 6, 2003 5:51 AM
Describes where I was in the 1980's ;) nmLeroy
Mar 6, 2003 8:10 AM