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  1. #1
    Announcer EventServices's Avatar
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    Avoiding Rookie Mistakes

    Just when you thought you had everything covered for your first season of racing, more stuff crops up.
    Like.... pinning your number on.

    Once you figure out which side it goes on (based on which side of the street the officials and camera will be located), then you need to properly orient it so that the officials can read it.

    Now, the actual pinning. There is no ceremony for this.
    Here are two different methods:

    The first one is the correct way. It keeps the number from becoming a parachute. It also prevents it from ripping your jersey to shreds.

    The second one is the way to do it if parachuting and ripping is part of your race plan.


    Seriously, it may seem like minutia, but it's just one of many little helpful hints.

  2. #2
    Blast from the Past Voodoo76's Avatar
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    Always hated it when I went to a race that was "Recycling" numbers. And I'm issued one thats all scuffed up, with a couple of tire marks on it. Figgered that wern't the best start to my day. End of ramble.

  3. #3
    Ink-Stained Wretch pinky's Avatar
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    How bout remember to get to the race early enough that you're not sitting on the line trying to put your number on.
    Than there's my personal favorite, remember to actually put the bib part of your bib on, I know I've rushed into a few races with my bib suspenders hanging out jersey (that almost ended really badly in a cyclocross this season).
    Puke before the race (not during)
    Don't show up wreaking of alcohol or wearing make-up (though it does get you extra space at the line)
    If you don't wreak of alcohol and aren't wearing make-up be sure to be as friendly as you can to everyone around you, you want people to be nice to you when you do something dumb.
    There's more but I figure I've given enough for the moment.

  4. #4
    Meow! my58vw's Avatar
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    Thanks for the help there... I made that mistake in my first crit... pinned the number backwards.
    Just your average club rider... :)

  5. #5
    @ Checkmate Cycling jbhowat's Avatar
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    I always put an extra pin in the center of the number on the front side. It helps it not act so much like a parachute I think, or at least when it does catch the wind it blows around less. Been doing that since my first junior crit several years ago.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    I wish they would just give us numbers to put on our bikes. I hate pinning numbers on. I use 6 pins to keep it as taunt as possible.

  7. #7
    Blast from the Past Voodoo76's Avatar
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    Started with Event and 4 pins, then jb upped it to 5, now Floppy w 6. Do I have a 7 out there??? Man no wonder its so expensive to put on a race.

  8. #8
    Ink-Stained Wretch pinky's Avatar
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    Methinks if your biggest rookie mistake is putting on your number wrong you shouldn't be too worried, I'd concern myself more with things like having fun and not killing anyone

  9. #9
    On Your Right ZackJones's Avatar
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    If you ever get off the front in a race and folks behind you swear they will work if you wait for them to catch up, they won't. They will suck you in and drop your a$$ like a bad habit.
    "You never fail, you simply produce results. Learn from these" - Anonymous

  10. #10
    Elitist Jackass Smoothie104's Avatar
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    any one use arts and crafts spray adhesive instead of pins?

  11. #11
    Senior Member Gustaf's Avatar
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    I Washington they issue Year long numbers along with bike numbers to ziptie onto the frame. its quite handy

  12. #12
    @ Checkmate Cycling jbhowat's Avatar
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    Yeah, bike numbers would probably be easier I would think. Judging by the number of times i heard the officials say "the arm is in the way", or another rider's torso is in the way, etc.
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  13. #13
    Senior Member socalrider's Avatar
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    If the numbers are tyvek material and not paper, crumple them up in a ball and then they will not catch as much wind.. 4 corner pinning is fine in most cases.. If you are racing a crit that has photo finish equipment.. Place the number more on your hip instead of on your back...

    Before you crumple make sure there are no rules against it...

  14. #14
    sundy hopeful berny's Avatar
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    Two pins in the top and let the bottom stay loose, not a problem. I pin through the thicker pocket tops as in pic #2. Never had a tear or parachute.
    Got half way round lap 1 once before I realised my gloves were still in my ride shirt pocket doh!
    The consumption of alcohol may create the illusion that you are tougher, smarter, faster and better looking than most people.

  15. #15
    Announcer EventServices's Avatar
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    Oh yeah, you GOTTA crumple the numbers. That's a given.

    The officials will complain about it, so you have to smooth them back out before pinning it on.

    Just so you rookies understand WHY you crumple it and then smooth it out: the stiff Tyvek flaps in the wind and makes a horrible sound that everyone hates. Plus, when you're attacking from behind, everyone will hear you coming.

    You smooth it out to make it readable by the photo-finish cameras.

    Cool stuff.

    And I've seen people use that sticky spray stuff instead of pins, but the heat/sweat/etc doesn't serve it well.
    Amazing how much

  16. #16
    Ink-Stained Wretch pinky's Avatar
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    If you crumple in New England the officials get really pissed, some will actually send you to get a new number, even if the race is starting

  17. #17
    commuter
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    As a senior member, surely you have a USCF rulebook or can download one from the USA Cycling website.
    Please take a moment to read rule 1K4b regarding racing numbers. There is a reason for this rule being in place, just as there is for the other rules contained therein. Note that this rule allows judges to relegate a rider who violates it. When you enter a race, I assume you wish to be scored when you cross the finish line. I also assume that you wish to have results posted as quickly as possible so that you can get on with your day. When riders finish in a bunch, the judges have to be able to read the number of each rider coming across the line. In a high speed bunch finish, number placement and condition become critical. When a number is crumpled, folded, or otherwise defaced, the uniformity necessary for the judges to accurately read each number in a second's time is compromised. If a judge has to follow one defaced number for a tenth of second in an effort to read it, several other riders may have crossed the line without being scored. It is therefore also a disservice to your fellow riders, who may have made an effort to follow the rules. If a finish line camera is used, sunlight is reflected from a myriad of small facets on a crumpled number instead of from a single surface, sometimes washing out the number on the video playback. When riders cannot be identified due to condition or placement of numbers, the judges must spend time to reconstruct the finish based on each other's scoresheets, video, and sometimes meetings with riders, delaying posting of results. I find that it is difficult for a rider who hasn't worked on the official's side of a race to appreciate the difficulty created by non-standardized placement and altered condition of numbers. Next time you race a crit, after your event, stand at the finish line with a pen and paper for the next race and see how deep you are able to score the field as it crosses the line. This may give you some small idea of what a narrow margin of error is available to the judges. Anything you can do to make their job easier benefits the racers and decreases the amount of time it takes for results to be posted so that you can be on your way. Remember, the officials are in place from the opening of registration until the end of the final awards ceremony, often ten hours or longer. The officials may seem to be nit-picking, but how can you expect to have a race if no one records order of finish, much less maintains an environment in which the riders' safety comes first?
    Our Tuesday Night Racing Series at the San Diego Velodrome began last night, April 5. We registered over 50 riders and issued each a number for the season. Several riders upon receiving their numbers immediately wadded them into a ball before opening them up and pinning them to their jerseys. When the Chief Referee reprimanded them and asked why they did this, two of them responded that they had read posts on cycling websites advocating this rule violation. If the sound of a flapping number bothers you, use more safety pins. Do it right, do it safe, and have a good race!
    Last edited by Ray R; 04-06-05 at 12:16 PM. Reason: error

  18. #18
    more ape than man timmhaan's Avatar
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    this seems simple - but taking your jersey off before you pin the number on is easiest. i've seen guys trying to put the number on while the jersey is still on and i cring at the thought of them poking their skin with the safety pins.

  19. #19
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    on the topic of pins, i'm surprised noone is marketing ultra-lite safety pins, c'mon, you know people would go for those Ti pins. gotta save those grams...

  20. #20
    sundy hopeful berny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by matgarf
    on the topic of pins, i'm surprised noone is marketing ultra-lite safety pins, c'mon, you know people would go for those Ti pins. gotta save those grams...
    Ha, ha but there is something strange about using the lowly safety pin to attach a race number to the back of a high tech shirt worn by a highly trained athlete riding a much developed, high tech, megga expensive race bike. I mean a safety pin, the same item used by many of our mothers to attach our nappy/diaper.
    Struth, in an age of mobile phones and computers, and all manner of amazing inventions, where do we get off still using safety pins to attach a race number.

    Just a bit peculiar maybe?
    The consumption of alcohol may create the illusion that you are tougher, smarter, faster and better looking than most people.

  21. #21
    cab horn
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    Screw numbers, microchip tags.

  22. #22
    Italo-racer Jaco's Avatar
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    Here's my favorite "rookie" mistake. (Not that I ever made it)

    1. You're riding in a pack that really hasn't organized itself too well.

    2. A paceline begins to form in the front, maybe just a line of two or three people with the big blob of the group in tow.

    3. You take a long, hard pull.

    4. You then fall back to find a wheel to recover.

    5. The "blob" of the pack has stretched out into one long pace line and there is no immediate wheel to be found.

    6. As you slow down searching for that last wheel, it passes you by and you've realized you slowed down too much looking for it and you're now screwed.

    7. You huff and puff in vain about two bikes lengths behind the pack as you try to recover while catching up with everyone else.

    8. You cry as the pack leaves you in the dust and two minutes later, after you've recovered, you feel even worse about your "rookie mistake."


    Moral of the story: Don't get screwed.
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  23. #23
    Senior Member stridercc's Avatar
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    One of the worst rookie mistakes that I have seen occur when people try something new at a race. The golden rule of bike racing should be never try anything new at a race be it equipment, tatics, a pre race food, or anything at all. People always say train as you race. Which is true you should always train for the specific events that you compete in, but lots of people forget the other half, race as you train. You should never do something in a race that you haven't tried in training.
    -Matt-
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    (my season that is)

  24. #24
    Announcer EventServices's Avatar
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    Jaco, you left out one key element of that story:

    One milli-second after you officially retire from the race (having cooked yourself trying to chase), the pack will slow to a snail's pace.

  25. #25
    Tiocfáidh ár Lá jfmckenna's Avatar
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    I say if you are a rookie dont avoid the mistakes. Just get them over with.

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