At the end of last ZRL season we shared some stereotypes of irritating ZRL riders, and the conversation immediately shifted to the coaches and directeurs sportif, making it clear that a similar post for ZRL coach types was unavoidable. After last week’s post detailing a week in the miserable life of a ZRL coach, here is my take on the crazy ZRL captain profiles. We still love them.
#1: The Shouter
This is the most expensive of the captains. During the race, under pressure, their vocal cords cannot produce any sound lower than 277 decibels. And this is costing each team member a consultation with an otolaryngologist after each race. Unfortunately there are no targeted “ZRL Captain Noise Canceling” headphones yet.
#2: The Onomatopoeian
No matter what the question is, he answers with something in between a grunt and an understandable noise. “Mmmpfff…”, “aaaaarrrghh…”, “oooooooh…”, “Booooooom!”, “Waouh”, “wohoooo!” The good thing is that most onomatopoeia are universal and understood by everyone.
#3: The Diplomat
Within a team there are always arguments and conflicts. He officially never takes sides. Yes or no are forbidden words for him. He is an expert on the “I tend to agree” and “fair enough” answers, allowing everyone to believe he is in agreement with you.
Here is a small translation table from diplomat language to straight forward language.
#4: The Universal Expert
Don’t buy a voice assistant if your captain is a “Universal Expert”. He is a direct competitor to Alexa and Google. There is not a single thing he does not know, he has an answer for everything. Even for the things that he actually does not know, he will find a way to make you believe he knows. He believes his entire status as a captain would be challenged if he does not know.
- How stalactites are formed? Of course I know!
- A recipe for Cannelés Bordelais? I am your man!
- A DIY rocker plate? I have the best template!
#5: The Organization Disaster
This coach has a well-earned reputation for messing up schedules, circuits, names, to the extent that you are safer doing the opposite of what he says instead of what he actually says.
#6: The Last Minute Guy
It’s twenty minutes to the start and you did not receive the link to register for the event?
It’s Tuesday morning and you don’t know if you are racing today?
It’s TTT time and you don’t know who is in the pen?
It’s the end of the season and you still don’t have a name for your team?
Your captain is certainly a “last minute guy”.
#7: The Reminder
There is an Argentinian proverb that says we have only one mother because two would be unbearable. The Reminder captain is that second mother.
“Remember to warm up with enough time.”
“Remember to calibrate your trainer.”
“Remember to check all your connections.”
“Remember to go to the toilet before the race.”
“Remember to register for the event.”
“Remember to prepare enough water and drink.”
“Remember the towel.”
“Remember that the climb starts at 4.2km.”
“Remember to wash your teeth, to do your homework before dinner.”
“Remember to say thanks to your grandmother for the gift she sent for Xmas.”
“Remember to put your history book in your backpack.”
The Reminder is a human checklist and brings you back to your childhood, when your parents would remind you of EVERYTHING.
#8: Captain Positivity
No matter how good or bad the team did during a race, the conclusion of this captain is always the same: “Great job, guys!” Everybody knows it was a disaster, but the captain still genuinely believes we did great. Denial or exacerbated positivism, nothing breaks his enthusiasm.
#9: The Best Team’s Captain
A delta variant to the Captain Positivity is The Best Team’s Captain.
Like a parent looking at his children and feeling they are perfect even if they are an exact replica of Darth Vader’s personality. Your team might be composed of two Charles Mansons, one Jack the Stripper, one Hannibal Lecter, one Machiavelli, and a Raspoutine. Your captain will see you all as aesthetically Michelangelo sculptures, Einstein-like minds, Pogacar kind of cyclists and above all Nelson Mandela-type human beings. There is no point in arguing, “Our team is the best!”
#10: The Revisionist
This type of captain gets along very well with the “I told you so” rider we described during last ZRL season. They nurture each other. The Revisionist always finds a fantastical explanation of why things didn’t go as planned, attributing it to external factors. “We were right in our decision to break the pack in the first climb, the issue is that the other teams did not analyze the race properly and did not follow. But we were right, everybody else was wrong. In one way we are in advance of our time. In the future people will acknowledge we were right, we were pioneers, visionaries. We are Zwift Van Goghs.”
#11: The Stick to the Planner
No matter how the circumstances have changed the “Stick to the Planner” feels safe only within the boundaries of the option prepared before the race. In a TTT, we keep six pulls even if only five made it to the race. We go slow and cautious at the beginning even if there are five Vikings and four DIRT giants pushing at 15 w/kg in the first kilometer. “We stick to the plan!”
#12: The Swearer
Strangely enough, the most extreme swearers I have witnessed were the most polite and kind teammates in normal circumstances. You only discover a captain is a swearer in the moments of highest tension during the races. Bruce Banner becomes The Hulk in two seconds: “Sh*t, f**k, h****e, as***e” (the list is infinite and, like always, includes references to mothers and sisters of the other riders). The swearer has a very limited vocabulary, yet it’s clear enough to not require further explanation. I love the swearers because most of the time they verbalize what is in my head and I don’t have to take the blame for the atrocities I imagine. I sometimes even pretend I am offended by their vulgarity while in reality I enjoy every last bit.
#13: The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
You have the feeling you are part of a permanent experiment? It is not a feeling but a reality if your captain is the “sorcerer’s apprentice” type. This captain is a Harry Potter fan who will always choose an experimental alternative defying the most basic laws of physics.
#14: The Under Controller
Even if the world is falling apart, everything is under control. It’s 10 minutes before the start of the race, two guys are in the wrong pen, another one is in the right pen but has connection issues, the leader of the team got a muscle cramp while warming up, but, “no worries, everything is under control!” What do you mean everything is under control? Everything is a mess! We will all die in enormous suffering!
#15: Mister Perfect
They are understanding, inclusive, maintain their calm under pressure, encourage everybody, remember the birthdays of each team member, empathize with everybody’s personal and professional issues, anticipate and erase all complexities, are always prepared and updated with the latest news, share documents and thoughts about the next five races seven weeks in advance. They are so loveable and sooo exasperating at the same time! I love AND hate them.
What About You?
Are you any of these? Did we miss some Captain types? Comment below!