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  1. #126
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    I've has my front wheel turned almost ninety degrees sideways in the field and didn't crash. The key to dealing with these situations is to have a relaxed grip on the bars. Any drill that develops this, bumping, rubbing (shaddup Kwakerson), dirt drills all help. In panic situations where your grip is strong because it has to be, you need to develop the reflex to release the brakes, loosen the grip, and steer your way out or set up a controlled fall. This is not always possible. Bad stuff happens to experienced bike handlers. But an awful lot of it can be avoided by making an honest effort to improve your bike handling. We try and teach these things in the clinic, along with homework assignments.

  2. #127
    Resident Alien Racer Ex's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by UmneyDurak View Post
    +1000 Seen a few times in 4s, people bump someone freaks out over reacts and down they go.
    One of the things people often miss is that bikes don't really want to fall down. Anyone who grabbed someone's Stingray when they weren't looking and rolled it down a hill gets this.

  3. #128
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    Quote Originally Posted by aaronmcd View Post
    Do tire bumping drills really help a lot? Do they help you stay up if it happens in a race? It happened once to me - in a race, and I didn't even know what was happening until I was already falling.
    Handling drills really, really, really help. You need to have at least one friend to do drills with. You can almost fake side to side bumping by riding rollers and trying to "push the wall" out of the way with your elbow, shoulders, hips, but that's only one aspect of bumping.

    I differentiate between "bumping", i.e. side to side stuff, to "tire touching", i.e. your front tire touching something like another rear wheel, frame, etc. The latter will almost always take someone out.

    Bumping, the side to side, is absolutely key. It happens often enough, inadvertently, that it's virtually impossible to avoid. Learning how to deal with it is a must. The drills are also something that you can do without any prep - just ride down the road at a reasonable slow speed (10-15 mph) next to someone and start leaning onto each other. Protect your hand, forearm (since you don't want to move your hand and it's hard not to move it if your forearm is moving), bar, and front wheel. This means contact with elbow, shoulder, triceps.

    Tire touching is also key but learning to deal with it pretty much requires falling over as well. Therefore the practice is harder - we don't do these in the clinics at the races although I'd do them in separate clinics where there's more time. This is where your front tire contacts something. For the uninitiated it can result in a surprise dump. Even for the initiated it can cause problems - that clip of the San Rafael Twilight Crit shows two riders in rapid succession falling due to overlapped front wheels that ended in the tire contacting something hard. I've fallen three times since about 1993, two of them in 2009-2010, and the two last ones were due to overwhelming significant contact with my front tire. In one someone swept across the road hard on a straight while we were all going about 30 mph. In the other I was sprinting with a teammate, he decided to slow hard and I happened to be checking back for traffic. When I looked forward it was too late for me to stay upright.

    On the other hand I've had situations where I've hit the rider in front of me so hard my rear tire lifted (twice). I've had massive rub in crits, where someone took a hairpin on a significantly different line for the latter half of the turn. Etc. No problems there. I've also had such hard contact with a pedal or derailleur that a spoke pulled out of my front rim (and elongated the spoke hole in the hub by a couple mm) with about 500m to go but still placed 3rd? in the sprint and in the race.

    For touching wheel drills I recommend finding a flat grassy area, using long thick clothing (sweat pants over tights, sweat shirts over long shirts, big gloves, helmet of course). Keep speeds as low as you can, 39x21 ought to be the highest gear, and then practice contacting and pushing through the contact (hands firmly on drops, don't let the impact on your front wheel turn the wheel - that's the key really). At school we used an off-season lacrosse field (which was actually a lawn borrowed by the team - it was a grassy area between two buildings, not a "field" per se). We did regular drills for 15-60 minutes then did tire touching crits. We threw bottles in a circle, maybe 20-30 feet wide, then slalomed between them, with the idea being you contact the other riders as hard as possible. We did this twice a week for the fall semester until snow/ice covered the field. We couldn't do it in the spring - the field was either still covered in snow/ice, it got muddy, or we were racing.

    In the spring even our new riders (one borrowed a bike for the drills because he didn't have a bike yet) were absolutely comfortable in the field, no problems with anything until the last race when a bunch of them fell in the same race (not sure what happened but I think someone fell in front and that was that). I still draw on that practice, 24 years later, it was that significant.

    When shovel or myself refer to the "clinics" they are these:
    http://bethelspringseries.com/clinic/2013-clinic-info

    He's one of the instructors. Homebrew01 is another. DocM (I think that's his name here, he doesn't post much) is another. There's a 4th that isn't on BF. And myself. Although I am responsible for the syllabus I created it with the help of the other instructors. Shovel, I should point out, had a much more ambitious list, but due to time constraints we're extremely limited to what we can cover.

    We had probably 300? unique Cat 5s go through at least one clinic. One of the riders was a 50+ rider, first year racing, reasonably fit but from what I can tell he wasn't necessarily an athlete, at least recently (recent cancer battle, etc). He really dove into the racing 100% even though he wasn't at the pointy end of things all the time. He did the clinics, applied himself seriously, took our words seriously. About 2 months later he came up to me while I was getting ready for a race. He wanted to thank me for doing the clinics. There were a few things I repeated over and over - use the drops when you think something might happen and by definition most races "something might happen". The other was my no-drill-possible front tire touching tip - just hang onto the bars and keep things pointed forward. Well apparently in his race he got squeezed between two riders on some curve. One rider's wheel his his front wheel, his wheel ended up in another rider's pedal or derailleur or something. His bars were bucking but he hung on and stayed upright. He lost a bunch of spokes, trashed his wheel, but he didn't hit the deck. He said that the whole time he was remembering me emphasizing "hang on to the bars! hang on to the bars" and he did.

  4. #129
    Senior Member ips0803's Avatar
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    I crashed once this year when a retreating rider was blown sideways into me and hooked his drop on my bars. I stayed up until his bike went under mine and some component ripped a foot long gash in my rear tire. I felt bad I didn't do a better job keeping his bars away from mine with an elbow, but he was coming backwards quickly and kind of caught me off guard with how quickly he came into me.

  5. #130
    Senior Member globecanvas's Avatar
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    I find that I'm a much better bike handler in a group of good bike handlers. Less predictable racers make me less confident, which makes me less predictable, like a domino effect.

    The last road race I did was a mixed M40+/M50+ field and man those guys were smooth. Nothing compares to carving down a big hill just a foot off the wheel of the guy in front, with total confidence that he's not going to freak out and brake.
    Ninny

  6. #131
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by globecanvas View Post
    I find that I'm a much better bike handler in a group of good bike handlers. Less predictable racers make me less confident, which makes me less predictable, like a domino effect.

    The last road race I did was a mixed M40+/M50+ field and man those guys were smooth. Nothing compares to carving down a big hill just a foot off the wheel of the guy in front, with total confidence that he's not going to freak out and brake.
    That's a good point. I would also point out that it's a skill that needs constant and consistent practice. I always feel a bit squirelly the first group ride after a long period of riding solo.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  7. #132
    Senior Member shovelhd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by caloso View Post
    That's a good point. I would also point out that it's a skill that needs constant and consistent practice. I always feel a bit squirelly the first group ride after a long period of riding solo.
    After a long winter on the trainer, I'm always a bit rusty in the early races. Many others are as well. In the Masters, we all know this, and tend to take care of each other. The P/1/2/3, not so much.

  8. #133
    Con forza e velocitÓ Forza's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shovelhd View Post
    After a long winter on the trainer, I'm always a bit rusty in the early races. Many others are as well. In the Masters, we all know this, and tend to take care of each other. The P/1/2/3, not so much.
    I also notice a big drop off it handling ability from fatigue in the first couple of races of the season. When people get tired, they get twitchy. Seems like the first couple of races every year the guys who try to "race into shape" don't have the endurance @ 50-60 miles in, cause a "brain fart" crash, and call it a season. Good motivation to stay up front and not sit in.
    The greatest accomplishment is not in never falling, but in rising again after you fall. - Vince Lombardi

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  9. #134
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    This was supposed to be my first full season of racing...

    Crashed out of a race in late May when things were going really well. Got bronchitis shortly after that. Tried to race with bronchitis, made it worse. Ended up spending an entire month off the bike in mid-summer, decided not to race again until 2014. Ugh.

  10. #135
    RacingBear UmneyDurak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spartannia View Post
    This was supposed to be my first full season of racing...

    Crashed out of a race in late May when things were going really well. Got bronchitis shortly after that. Tried to race with bronchitis, made it worse. Ended up spending an entire month off the bike in mid-summer, decided not to race again until 2014. Ugh.
    It happens. One of my seasons got ended third race in to the season with fractured wrist. Didn't heal until September.
    I see hills.... Bring them on!!!
    Stay calm and bring a towel.

  11. #136
    Senior Member wens's Avatar
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    Good: upgraded to the 3's

    Bad: Just about everything but the 3 races I finished my upgrade on. Gained weight when I broke my collarbone in the fall, didn't deal with that hoping it would take care of itself, missed out on intensity I'd been getting from group rides and didn't replace it adequately. Basically rolled up my season at the end of june (there weren't many local races left anyhow) and decided I needed to lose weight before bike racing would even be fun.
    Do you think we're gonna make it? / I don't know unless we try \ you could sit here scared to move / or we could take them by surprise

  12. #137
    Senior Member rankin116's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Racer Ex View Post
    Of course if I knew my asthma would clear out after an hour I might ride an hour before I started racing.
    Are you being serious with this comment? Sometimes it's hard for me to tell with you! I've been struggling with asthma this fall, but I do have times where I'll get what feels like symptoms but then it does clear out. Does that happen to you at all? Usually one puff from the albuterol and I'm ok. I've been using that damn thing too much lately.

  13. #138
    Making a kilometer blurry waterrockets's Avatar
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    I don't need albuterol unless it's cool out, and usually needs to be dry as well. This was much more of an issue in Colorado than in Austin. Albuterol puff days are coming though... finally down into the 50s today.

  14. #139
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    2013 was a low "investment" year for me. Getting a house ready to sell, moving to a rental, building a new house, etc., no real time to train, but felt that I made the most of my limited fitness and raced smarter than I had in the past. I affected most of the races I was in, took 3rd in my first stage race, and 7th at the state TT. The biggest disappointment was only getting a few crit races in at the Driveway. The team did really well in the masters series this year and I missed all the fun.

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