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  1. #1
    Senior Member seanmdo's Avatar
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    Bumping... the fine line, when is it OK

    I've been in several races where someone will squeeze through a spot that ends up making several in the field proceed to yell at the rider. I've been told that if you can fit your handlebars in the space, you can take the spot. Most of the time, I end up exerting more energy and passing on the outside instead of grazing someone who may not be used to contact...

    Any thoughts on when it is OK to nudge someone or squeeze through a spot. Does it depend on the Cat level (i.e. the probable experience of the other riders with contact a high speeds)? I'm curious to hear your opinions. I just don't want to send someone to the gorund b/c they freak out when they should not have. Again, I'm not suggesting PUSHING someone out of the way, but rather, riding in close quarters and moving up through a field as opposed to around the field.

  2. #2
    Outgunned and outclassed
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    I'll do it in almost any situation if I want the spot. This is bike racing, not a knitting circle, but DO NOT press a spot if you are not totally confident that you have the space to make it work.
    Patience - Consistency - Motivation

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  3. #3
    LMLN Turd Ferguson's Avatar
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    If the other riders let you slide in, take it the spot. If they aren't agreeable ( ie, start closing the gap), I wouldn't recommend it. You might get Cinzano'd.

    When near the front I'm usually cool with someone moving up,...except in the home stretch.

  4. #4
    slow up hills kudude's Avatar
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    I'd say it's a pack experience thing. The more I ride in tight groups the more comfortable I am with a handlebar on my hip or riding while touching shoulders with people I don't know. The problem is that in a 4/5 race you don't know WHO will stiffen up and swerve when you get closer than they expect.

    I find that even in the 3/4 (training) races, all I have to do is move into a tight spot, where the other riders can see me and they get out of the way. It's about being more comfortable in close quarters than the other guy....up to a point. I remember reading a very good article on cdr's blog about just this.

    I'll leave it to the P/1/2 crowd to lay down the law as far as this thread is concerned, however.
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  5. #5
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    My rule is absolutely no intentional contact.

    (This applies to Cat 3s - 5s... in P123 races I've seen guys unclip and kick at other guys - meaning they are stomping the side of the other rider's thigh with the cleat of their shoe - while the final leadout guys are winding it up, so they're crazy and don't count. Having said that, I've placed in such races without any contact so it's possible.)

    Contact, in general, means you are in a weak position and are using force to try and mitigate the situation. If you are in good position, with good tactics, you won't need to contact another rider unless they try to make up for their lack of tactical knowledge by reaching out to you.

    An accidental nudge, fine, but if someone nudges me on purpose I won't let him in or by on principle alone (but I'll let him by if it looks like I'll crash without taking him out - but if we'll both go down, then so be it). I've leaned super hard on a guy's bars at 35 mph inside the bell lap because they tried to push me aside. The move wasn't important but I didn't let the guy go by just because he tried to make room when there was no room.

    btw it's hard to tell when someone is leaning on someone - the hard contact at 35 mph happened while I was wearing my helmet cam in the 2006 Nutmeg State Games and that part of the race is in the cam clip.

    btw2, I only crashed once (just as the sprint was getting wound up) with a guy who was being a jerk, it really wasn't intentional but I was laughing when I got up. Worth the crash to see him mad for taking himself out - he was in the weak position and tried to force the situation. He failed.

    The key is moving up in such a way that there is no contact. You may come close to someone but you shouldn't contact them. Nothing wrong with that.

    If you think that you may contact someone, don't do it. You are holding a weak card. Get better position and try again. You'll find an opening shortly if you're doing things right. If not then you'll never see an opening - that's when you figure out what you're doing wrong.

    As a primer, watch my helmet cam clips (YouTube Sprinterdellacasa). You can see I can move up in the field if I want to (outside of the field doesn't count since that just takes strength). I recall one contact when a guy to my inside forgot to turn for just a second. Nothing else, even when guys are piling up beside me or bunny hopping into the flowers etc.

    You can practice on group rides. Moving up within the field is a great skill and I practice it whenever I can.

    hope this helps,
    cdr

  6. #6
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    so far most of the topic replies relate more to rubbing elbows and squeezing through gaps.
    "bumping" is what takes place in the last few kilometers of what is going to be a field sprint in a P,1,2 race.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    I don't know much about the topic as I'm only a sophomore racer. I know I've been bumped, have bumped, and once was moved explicitly as in the hand-on-the-hip-and-moving-me-over kind of way, which I thought was a bit rude.

    I also know that cyclocross starts, where you are sprinting for the hole shot, are a decent place to learn to get used to being bumped. Very forgiving environment, very forgiving bike handling what with the low speed, those big tires and the dirt and all that.
    Cat 2 Track, Cat 3 Road.
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  8. #8
    Announcer EventServices's Avatar
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    It comes with experience. The newer riders are usually the ones who yell when you get too close. They're also likely to over-react when you bump an elbow.
    It's a skill you can work on.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Duke of Kent's Avatar
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    I got leaned on by Johnny Sundt and a Jittery Joe's pro this year while shooting a gap before and through a corner with two laps to go in a crit this summer.

    Yeah, it was hairy, but if you're racing with people who expect and can handle such things, it's not a big deal.

    If your bars and hands can fit through the gap, and no one is actively closing it, it's yours.
    "If a non personal post makes you feel as if you've been attacked, maybe the problem IS you."

  10. #10
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    My take is I'm not going to intentionally bump someone to get a spot. However, I'm not going to back down or give ground if someone's bumping me.
    You could fall off a cliff and die.
    You could get lost and die.
    You could hit a tree and die.
    OR YOU COULD STAY HOME AND FALL OFF THE COUCH AND DIE.

  11. #11
    Foot + Mouth = me aperez8264's Avatar
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    It called racing, not siting around waiting for sh*t to happen.

    If you have to squeeze through and bump to get a better position then do it. Chances are if you don't do it,someone else will.
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  12. #12
    Little Pony obra3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duke of Kent View Post
    I got leaned on by Johnny Sundt and a Jittery Joe's pro this year while shooting a gap before and through a corner with two laps to go in a crit this summer.

    Yeah, it was hairy, but if you're racing with people who expect and can handle such things, it's not a big deal.

    If your bars and hands can fit through the gap, and no one is actively closing it, it's yours.
    LOL! El Gato.... was the other guy Elken?

    Yeah, that's the biggest thing... P/1/2's- there's always bumping in crits. You get used to it. What's nice is no one panics- everything is smooth. It's when some numbskull decides to dive into a corner in a position that they have no business being in that causes pile-ups. Bah.
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  13. #13
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    I got my bars tangled with another racers during a crit. I looked up and saw that it was my teamate. We were coming through a turn and I just told him to speed up as I slowed a bit and we untangled. It was a bit scary though.
    Truth, like light, blinds. Falsehood, on the contrary, is a beautiful twilight that enhances every object.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member Duke of Kent's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by obra3 View Post
    LOL! El Gato.... was the other guy Elken?

    Yeah, that's the biggest thing... P/1/2's- there's always bumping in crits. You get used to it. What's nice is no one panics- everything is smooth. It's when some numbskull decides to dive into a corner in a position that they have no business being in that causes pile-ups. Bah.
    Based on who raced SuperWeek for them this year, it was either Chad Hartley or Johnny Cantwell. They had another guy show up a couple of times, but I didn't know who he was.

    I have no problem leaning on someone, shooting a gap, or any of that crap. But I'm never, ever looking to actively initiate contact. Don't have any interest in forcing someone to give up a wheel, I'm not TAKING a wheel from anyone; that's not my job. I'm never the guy who is fighting for wheels with 800m to go; I'm a set-up man or if I'm lucky, in a break. I deliver, explode, and watch as the race goes up the road towards the line.

    And really, by the time you hit the Pro/1/2 ranks and you're actually capable of getting yourself up to lean on XYZ pro at that point in the race, unless you're a Cat5->Cat1 in a season type, you've learned how to handle your bike in a respectable manner. You can hold a nice, tight line, can handle hopping the rear wheel out of a corner, etc. If I had been my Cat4 self in that situation, I would have hit the rear brake, taking out my teammate behind me, or sliding out to my left, taking 20-30 people down with me. But, simply by racing my bike enough times, doing well from time to time, I learned enough to prepare myself for that situation. Of course , that's all it boils down to: enough sh*tty situations that you somehow survive, and you get used to it.
    "If a non personal post makes you feel as if you've been attacked, maybe the problem IS you."

  15. #15
    In beaurocratic limbo urbanknight's Avatar
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    The only time I touch other riders is when they're coming in on me (on purpose or by accident) and I have nowhere to go or don't want to let them take my lane/wheel. I'm comfortable with it, but don't see it as a smart way to move up.
    "Well, I guess you can cut the arts as much as you want... Sooner or later, these kids aren't going to have anything to read or write about." (Richard Dreyfus as Glenn Holland)

  16. #16
    . botto's Avatar
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    there's bumping and squeezing, and there's idiots.

  17. #17
    /\/\oderator Bevo Bill's Avatar
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    (intentional bumping is)Just asking for trouble. Yeah, you'll get away with it here and there, but you'll pay eventually.


    It's more important to ride so that you leave no invitation for anyone to think about bumping you to steal your wheel or edge up on you.

  18. #18
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by botto View Post
    there's bumping and squeezing, and there's idiots.

    The Mark Calcavecchia School of Bike Racing: No brains, no fear.
    You could fall off a cliff and die.
    You could get lost and die.
    You could hit a tree and die.
    OR YOU COULD STAY HOME AND FALL OFF THE COUCH AND DIE.

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