Wikipedia says - Chaos theory is a field of study in mathematics, Chaos theory studies the behavior of dynamical systems that are highly sensitive to initial conditions, an effect which is popularly referred to as the butterfly effect. Small differences in initial conditions yield widely diverging outcomes for chaotic systems, rendering long-term prediction impossible in general. This happens even though their future behavior is fully determined by their initial conditions.
I like the concept of Chaos theory in general. It's fun. I like it because Dr. Jeff Goldblum used the concept of Chaos Theory to prove why Jurassic Park would not work. In the end, after one of his co-stars got eaten by a dinosaur while sitting on a toilet his theory proved correct - Jurassic Park didn't work (I've been there, there aren't any dinosaurs there). But, that was just one of the great movies that Jeff Goldblum played in. Of course he was in that movie The Fly, that was pretty stupid. But, he was in the movie Earth Girls Are Easy, which totally rocked. He was also in history's greatest movie, Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension. In almost any book, that makes him just about the coolest actor of all time. If only he had also been in The Gods Must Be Crazy would his legacy be better. Unfortunately, I do not think that Jeff Goldbloom has ever been in a movie about cycling, but he would definitely approve of my version of the chaos theory for cyclists.
I mean, Earth Girls Are Easy and Buckaroo Banzai, geez? The chances of Jeff Goldblum ever toping being in movies like those ever again are exactly 1236.7 to 1.
Of course that has nothing to do with how the Chaos Theory can be applied to cycling. But, let me try.
When you leave your garage in the morning to go for a ride, you make 2 subtle decisions. First, what time to depart. Assuming that you would not go out before 7am, and not after 18:00, that means the odds of leaving in any given minute during that time are 660 to 1. Second, which direction to go. Since most of us can only go left or right at driveway, we are going to assume a 50/50 choice usually based on wind, time of day or if you have heard any Husker Du music lately. Those 2 decisions set up a whole series of events, and are a little like the hairs on the back of your hands. A series of events that leads to what routes you ride, which turns you make and exactly what road you will be on when the moment happens.
You know exactly what moment I am talking about. You are on a little used road. You have not seen a car in either direction for miles. Up in the distance you see the first car coming your direction. It looms on the horizon, and slowly you realize that it is a BIG truck going really fast. It is taking up a huge part of the road on the other side. You glance behind and see an SUV coming from the other direction. OMG, they are going to meet at exactly the moment they pass you. All 3 of you will be trying to occupy the same section of the road at exactly the same time. The highly accurate probability for that happening is pretty much exactly 13,567,891 to 1.
I know you have seen it, it happens every time you ride. 2 vehicles meet at exactly the moment they are passing you. Never fails. Chaos Theory - The Cyclist Version. I think I need a coffee or some oatmeal or something like that.
I rode for 3 hours on Saturday, and 4 hours on Sunday on the road. I think that this scene played itself out at least 5 times on both days. How can that be? What kind of probability is that? I so not know that number, my calculator does not have enough numbers on it to figure that out. I need to go and figure out what movie Jeff Goldblum is going to be in next.
Which way will you go when you leave the driveway tomorrow?