Thursday, May 8, 2014

Long Odds and Crazy Train

There is a rule of inferential statistics which is known as the Rare Event Rule. Basically the Rare Event Rule states that if under a particular assumption, the probability of a certain observed event is minuscule, then the assumption is most likely incorrect. In other words, when an extremely improbable event occurs, statisticians conclude that either a rare event actually happened, or the original assumption was not true. Statisticians use this rule to test the validity of hypotheses.

right to left: The Weak and Far-flung
For example, I would assume that I, a relatively normal cyclist living in New Orleans, would never ever go on a ride in Florida with The Weak, who is normally seen on the levee sucking on Bob P.'s wheel, and The Far-flung, who is, after all, far-flung. Nevertheless, I found myself on just such a ride last Saturday in Florida. Accordingly, any statistician would necessary conclude my hypothesis (the probability of my riding with the Weak and Far-flung in FL was zero) was dead wrong, or that our ride on Hwy. 30A near Seaside, Florida, was indeed a very rare event. I'm not a stats guy, and I don't think I've stated the hypothesis correctly, because it seems to me that both my assumption was wrong and a rare event occurred.

 We were in Seaside for a wedding, and did about a 30-mile loop, east to Rosemary Beach and then westward to Dune Allen and back. Of course, The Weak got out as we passed Seaside coming west from Rosemary Beach. Actually he is to be entirely excused in this instance, as father of the bride on the big day and burdened as he so succinctly expressed: "I have errands." Hwy 30A is a nice place to ride on weekends, although I was on it photographing on Friday and there seemed to be a lot of commercial traffic during the work week. During our ride, I was mindful of the fact that Big Rich lost a chunk of thigh meat to a car on this very stretch of road in the past. Seaside is a beautiful location, and I was able to get out each morning to photograph.

Pausing at the benches, where everything started to go wrong.

Tuesday's levee ride was well attended. HL was present and acting like, well, HL. But without support his brief surges were tolerable. So the ride was quite pleasant. Wait, let me qualify that. It was quite pleasant until we got to the turn around and were joined by the OWNHB (whb)1. For some reason unknown to all but the OWNHB, every time he would get near the front of the paceline, he would sit up and let two or three guys go off the front, causing people to have to go around him and chase and splitting the line up. He kept doing it. Eventually, in a tone showing more irritation than I'd like to admit, I asked him why the f*ck he was doing it. He said he was going to teach the group a lesson about bad sportsmanship. Well, that made a lot of sense. So the next time he did it I told him to quit riding like a dick or ride somewhere else, and he responded (and I swear this is verbatim), "Seven broken bones and 71 years old, what's your excuse?" Whether it was his intention or not, this shut me up because it made about as much sense as the bad sportsmanship comment, and I was rendered truly speechless.

He was down the levee by his van as Big Rich, the Far-flung and I rode by going Uptown, and he waved to me with his hand held as high as possible. He was saying something, which, if I had been able to hear it, I'm certain would have made zero sense. HL had a theory that his behavior and bad sportsmanship comment was the expression of lingering anger at his being, as HL put it, "worked over by me and Rinard on Sunday." Who could possibly know?

Mental wounds not healing
Life's a bitter shame
I'm goin' off the rails on a crazy train
I'm goin' off the rails on a crazy train

I've listened to preachers,
I've listened to fools
I've watched all the dropouts
Who make their own rules
One person conditioned to rule and control
The media sells it and you live the role

Mental wounds still screaming
Driving me insane
I'm goin' off the rails on a crazy train
I'm goin' off the rails on a crazy train
-- from Crazy Train by Ozzy Osbourne, Randy Rhoads, and Bob Daisley
= =
 1. OWNHB (whb) = The One With No Handle Bars (with handle bars).

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1 comment:

  1. I'm not sure how you define "relatively normal cyclist" but however you do it is me and most certainly not you