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  1. #1
    Overacting because I can SpongeDad's Avatar
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    Not overlapping wheels -

    I understand why not to, but having trouble figuring out how not to. I've done 15 or so road and crit races (albeit Cat 5 and 4/5) over the last two years and I have yet to be in a race where the pack wasn't massively overlapping wheels. Only when the front is hammering to we end up in 1, 2 or even 3 parallel lines of non overlapping wheels.

    I tend not to overlap and close gaps/keep it tight, but it [seems that] most of the riders around me half wheel it and then muscle over. It seems like like the only way to protect your position is to half wheel it yourself.

    [edit - meant to say that while I don't overlap, it do work hard to close gaps and ride close to the rider ahead of me.]
    Last edited by SpongeDad; 07-21-11 at 10:02 AM.
    “Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm." (Churchill)

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  2. #2
    Senior Member Homebrew01's Avatar
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    You can overlap wheels, just don't be too close to the guy.
    Bikes: Old steel race bikes, old Cannondale race bikes, less old Cannondale race bike, crappy old mtn bike

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpongeDad View Post
    I tend not to overlap and close gaps/keep it tight, but it most of the riders around me half wheel it and then muscle over. It seems like like the only way to protect your position is to half wheel it yourself.
    You're pretty accurate in that statement. The question is how close and how overlapped. If you're a foot to the side, that's barely overlapped in the scheme of things. 2 feet to the side, not really. If your front wheel is next to his cranks, that's not really overlapped anymore either, you're almost next to the guy.

    Based on what I've experienced it's virtually impossible to defend a position. It's virtually impossible NOT to take a wheel.

  4. #4
    I eat carbide. Psimet2001's Avatar
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    If you hit the deck then I guess that's when you can say you're doing it wrong. Until then - Overlap away!

  5. #5
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    Stay up near the front and hammer. Problem solved.

  6. #6
    Overacting because I can SpongeDad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
    Stay up near the front and hammer. Problem solved.
    I've tried that - it's fun and mentally what I'm inclined to do, but I'm not physically able to do it. This is the season where I learned to sit in, resist the temptation to go to the front, and actually get to be there at end. As often said on this forum, racing is at least as much about "racing smart" as being strong.
    “Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm." (Churchill)

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    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    I was just pulling your chain. You can overlap wheels almost as easily up front depending on what's going on up there. It's something you will get more comfortable with as your sphere shrinks. In general, I try to keep it to a minimum, i.e. to avoid braking or when in an echelon.

  8. #8
    My idea of fun kensuf's Avatar
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    X X
    X X
    ..Y
    ..Y

    Rider "Y" can overlap wheels between riders "X" and "X" without too much risk because riders X can't go left/right without bumping into each other.

    X X
    X X
    ......Y
    ......Y

    Rider Y can overlap wheels, but is risking a splat.

    Gosh darn it spacing gets messed up.. So think of the periods as virtual spaces.
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  9. #9
    I eat carbide. Psimet2001's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kensuf View Post
    X X
    X X
    ..Y
    ..Y

    Rider "Y" can overlap wheels between riders "X" and "X" without too much risk because riders X can't go left/right without bumping into each other.

    X X
    X X
    ......Y
    ......Y

    Rider Y can overlap wheels, but is risking a splat.

    Gosh darn it spacing gets messed up.. So think of the periods as virtual spaces.
    Y just needs to overlap enough to get his elbow up outer X's ass if he tries to move.

  10. #10
    ride lots be safe Creakyknees's Avatar
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    Good diagram... it's not the overlapping that's the problem, but the lack of reaction time and room when the inevitable squeezes and swerves happen.
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  11. #11
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    It's ok to overlap sometimes, depends on the situation. If you are in a line where it's strung out, not a good idea because the rider ahead of you has the ability to go side to side and hit your wheel. On the other hand, if you are in a pack and the rider in front cannot move to the side due to being in a sandwich between two other riders thus no allowing him to move, it's ok to do it for a little bit, just don't do it too long and especially when you are coming up on a turn.

  12. #12
    STP
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    If I am overlapped (which I always am) then I just tell the guy I'm closest to that I'm on his left or right, or I say, "I'm right here." I'm hoping that he'll now understand that I'm that close to him and won't make sudden or unexpected moves my direction because he'll go down if I go down. It's not really a strategy, but I guess you could say it's a "we're all in this together" mentality.

    Of course, I talk a lot to the people around me during crits. I'm not enough of a threat that I'm giving away my position and I'm a firm believer that I won't crash if the people that can't see my position, can at least hear my position, especially in high speed turns. "I'm right here." "Don't squeeze me." "Hold it tight." Stuff like that.

  13. #13
    Elite Fred mollusk's Avatar
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    Overlapping wheels with a smooth rider isn't a problem. Overlapping wheels with a squirrelly rider is taking a risk. Overlapping wheels on a fred ride is just asking for trouble.
    I'm the world's forgotten boy. The one who's searchin', searchin' to destroy.

  14. #14
    Overacting because I can SpongeDad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mollusk View Post
    Overlapping wheels with a smooth rider isn't a problem. Overlapping wheels with a squirrelly rider is taking a risk. Overlapping wheels on a fred ride is just asking for trouble.
    Therein lies a big part of the problem. I was in a training crit last night with a younger rider who would jump on the wheel I was following the second I wasn't overlapping it. I had the sense that someone told the rider to "close the door" on other riders and they were doing when there was no door to begin with. Damn near road me into the grass twice even though we were sitting in the pack and neither of us were making any effort to move up. Perversely, and I'm not proud of it, but the only remedy I could figure out was to get ahead and do exactly the same thing so that the rider was now behind me.
    “Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm." (Churchill)

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  15. #15
    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    kensurf has it right; there are certain instances where overlapping wheels is okay and even safer than simply following. To determine when it is safe and when it is dangerous, you have to ask yourself "how can this person (the person you are overlapping wheels with) move with respect to me?" If you are following riders that are riding side by side, then you can infer that, as long as you are comfortable, you can safely ride with your front wheel tucked in between their rear wheels. Neither one can intrude into your front wheel without bumping shoulders with the guy next to him. Even if you are on the outside, if you see the rider ahead of you is overlapped in such a way as to keep him from drifting into your wheel, then it is okay. But you have to keep your head about you, because the situation is fluid. Your position might be safe one moment and dangerous the next. Dangerous doesn't mean you have to freak out, it just means you have to be wary and attentive.

    "Never overlap wheels" is advice given to recreational riders. It's oversimplified, and for good reason. On a recreational ride, there is never a reason to overlap. At all. In a race though, it is inevitable, and as you've noticed, basically impossible to hold your position in the pack without doing so.
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  16. #16
    Senior Member Brian Ratliff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by STP View Post
    If I am overlapped (which I always am) then I just tell the guy I'm closest to that I'm on his left or right, or I say, "I'm right here." I'm hoping that he'll now understand that I'm that close to him and won't make sudden or unexpected moves my direction because he'll go down if I go down. It's not really a strategy, but I guess you could say it's a "we're all in this together" mentality.

    Of course, I talk a lot to the people around me during crits. I'm not enough of a threat that I'm giving away my position and I'm a firm believer that I won't crash if the people that can't see my position, can at least hear my position, especially in high speed turns. "I'm right here." "Don't squeeze me." "Hold it tight." Stuff like that.
    Please don't take offense, but this is dumb. With this attitude, it's just a matter of time until someone breaks with your expectations and you end up on the ground. Never ever trust another rider to guard your front wheel for you. If you are in a vulnerable position, you are the one that has to take full responsibility for your own safety and notice if a rider is moving in on you and make the appropriate adjustments.
    Cat 2 Track, Cat 3 Road.
    "If you’re new enough [to racing] that you would ask such question, then i would hazard a guess that if you just made up a workout that sounded hard to do, and did it, you’d probably get faster." --the tiniest sprinter

  17. #17
    Senior Member aicabsolut's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian Ratliff View Post
    Please don't take offense, but this is dumb. With this attitude, it's just a matter of time until someone breaks with your expectations and you end up on the ground. Never ever trust another rider to guard your front wheel for you. If you are in a vulnerable position, you are the one that has to take full responsibility for your own safety and notice if a rider is moving in on you and make the appropriate adjustments.
    Agreed. There may be reasons other than "I want to take out the guy behind me who told me he's there" that the front rider has to move laterally suddenly.

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