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Old 02-23-14, 08:08 PM   #26
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1) Ow. Gnarly! Heal up fast.

2) OMG, Ninny in the sig, I didn't even notice that, I've seen globecanvas' posts I don't know how many times.

3) I hope they give you a result!

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I ripped my elbow up so bad some bone is exposed, and I've got a huge amount of road rash all down my left side and some burning where the jersey melted on to my skin. Amazingly no broken bones or head injuries, though...

Interesting that they completed the stage for you, even thought you DNF'd. I've just written to the organizers about this, so hopefully I'll get a similar result. Thank you very much for the response!
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Old 02-23-14, 08:09 PM   #27
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Oh yeah.... and bad luck that you crashed in your first crit, and yes it does happen, but don't let it stop you from racing, if you enjoy it. It's the exception, not the rule.
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Old 02-23-14, 08:11 PM   #28
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The truth is that racing is like this. You take a chance when you toe the line.

I crashed in my first official cat 5 race. A rider in front of me freaked out because of incidental contact and locked up his brakes. I rear-ended him. At the time I was mad as hell.

Nowadays, over 200 races later, I am reasonably confident that I would have a better chance of actually avoiding the situation. There are some things that just come with "number of races".

There is nothing wrong with you sending a letter to the chief ref or chief judge of the event, give the rider's name and number, and tell the story in your own way. It is possible that others may corroborate the story. It is also possible that in the heat of battle, memories become very unclear.
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Old 02-23-14, 08:14 PM   #29
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Every time I start thinking racing might increase my motivation another one of these threads pop up and I start thinking too risky... us guys in the back of the pack are probably less experienced and skilled and a lot more likely to crash and that just doesn't appeal to me. Chaseing the pack is ok, it's the crash I fear.
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Old 02-23-14, 08:19 PM   #30
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Every time I start thinking racing might increase my motivation another one of these threads pop up and I start thinking too risky... us guys in the back of the pack are probably less experienced and skilled and a lot more likely to crash and that just doesn't appeal to me. Chaseing the pack is ok, it's the crash I fear.
I hear you. I've been doing TTs and Triathlons in the past, with no fear of crashes. So I decided I wanted to get better at pack riding , so I've been riding in groups twice a week for the last few months without incident and now my first big race = crash. It seems like such a risky business...
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Old 02-23-14, 08:27 PM   #31
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Before you do too much statistical extrapolation ("let's see, I raced once, and crashed once...") keep in mind that as GMT said, with every race you do you become that much less likely to crash.

I got crashed into in my first race. A rider misjudged a turn and low sided, and his sliding bike ran me off the road. Probably 12 guys got taken out by that crash. I'm fairly confident I would avoid that mishap now, just by aiming inside the sliding bike rather than trying to outrun it on the outside.

In my most recent race, in the M40+ field, a guy crossed wheels on a fast straightaway and crashed right in front of me, in the middle of a crowded group (far more tightly packed than any cat 5 field would be) and only took himself out. He got bunny hopped, run over, riders leaned on each other to go around him, but nobody else went down.
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Old 02-23-14, 08:54 PM   #32
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As mentioned above it's very hard for an official to make a "reckless rider" call. There is a rule against making an abrupt movement:
1N7. No rider may make an abrupt motion so as to interfere with the forward progress of another rider, either intentionally or by accident.
1N8. Dangerous Rider. Any rider who appears to present a danger to the other competitors may be disqualified by the Chief Referee, either before, during, or after a race.

Locally there's a rider that has been DQ'ed for both, at separate times, in about 10 days. The first was at a crit - the rider moved sideways pretty hard with maybe 100m to go. He took out something like 6-8 riders, a few hurt really badly (broken shoulder, collarbone, not sure what else). There were so many calls for ambulances that the cops in that town remember it - I happened to run into the cop that was on duty that day, a few years later, and when we realized that we'd both been at the race we were really surprised. He of course questioned my sanity but I explained that the one guy was responsible for a number of ambulance calls. Luckily the hospital was on the backstretch of the course.

After that first incident the officials asked for my helmet cam footage. Unfortunately I was to the side of the crash - I was moving up the left side when he did his thing. The guy next to me fell, the guy in front of me almost fell, and I ended up going off the road, but the cam didn't catch the crash. No help but the officials DQ'ed him.

The second was a training race, two Tuesdays later. With about 500m left in the race (one turn), racing for a soda/beer (latter if over 21), he didn't like that he got boxed in by a Cat 1 (former pro) and a Cat 2 so he swerved across the field to get out from behind them. He swerved as hard as someone might swerve if they were trying to avoid a car that was about to t-bone them - this was a full out, 100% swerve, something that doesn't belong in a field of riders. The first person he hit was me. I can deal with a pretty hard wheel rub but this was like someone kicked the front wheel out from under me, I literally found myself sideways and about to hit the deck. I broke my first bone in my life (and in 27 seasons of racing), twice (pelvis fractures), someone else broke a bunch of bones (ribs, shoulder, I don't remember), another rider lost a nipple, it was pretty ferocious. The officials put in for assault and the rider in question negotiated an off season suspension because he didn't want to ante up the $200 fee required to formally appeal a suspension.

Said rider happened to ask me before the Tuesday race if I'd be wearing my helmet cam. I told him no, I need to finish one of the races first, and I left the camera set up in the car (camcorder, cigar-cam to feed the camcorder, 8 AA batteries, and a mess of wires - I cobbled it together before action cams were good or worked super reliably). The official in charge of the investigation said that if we had video or photos then we'd have proof, but since he and his two teammates swore he was forced to brake, and everyone else swore he just swerved, the official couldn't take one story over the other. Therefore no one year suspension for assault.

That crash cost me $8k - 2 months no work, wheelchair for a bit, etc. I could have bought everyone in the field a ContourHD. So that winter I bought a ContourHD. I catch the rider in question about to pull moves, he checks to see where I am, and then doesn't make the move. It's pretty interesting actually, and I think people in general behave better because they know I'm wearing a cam.

Personally I find the cam a great learning tool for myself. It also makes it very clear what I did right or wrong in a race, like trying to bridge a gap that I thought was 10-15 seconds but was actually more like 25 seconds, stuff like that. On the other hand it's good in case something happens.

I also use a dash cam when I drive, and two of our cars have a rear facing cam as well (it's amazing how far away people stay when they realize there's a cam there - very few people tailgate the cam cars). Cams help keep people aware of what they're doing and usually they try to be on good behavior around them.
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Old 02-23-14, 10:49 PM   #33
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Is this just the nature of bike racing?
Yes.

By that I mean people doing dumb **** and bumping into each other is definitely just the way it is in racing.

As you move up in categories people don't really stop doing the dumb stuff, nor do people stop crashing.

Sorry to hear about the injuries tho!!
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Old 02-23-14, 11:25 PM   #34
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I was in a race once where a guy came left (wide in the corner) into me. Because I'm huge I leaned into him, and I stayed up, he went down.

After the race he was raging, saying I went into him.

I don't know who's right.

Sounds like OP had bad luck for a first race. **** happens, especially when everyone racing is new.
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Old 02-24-14, 12:02 AM   #35
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I was in a race once where a guy came left (wide in the corner) into me. Because I'm huge I leaned into him, and I stayed up, he went down.

After the race he was raging, saying I went into him.

I don't know who's right.

Sounds like OP had bad luck for a first race. **** happens, especially when everyone racing is new.
Some dude leaned on me in the middle of a climb in a RR, I leaned back at him and he nearly fell over. He yells at me, "WTH!!!", I'm like "dude you're the one that leaned on me, chill!"

I actually came up to him later and we talked it out.

Racing is dangerous. If you think you're never going to crash then you're in for some surprises. I see just as many crashes in the 3s and the 1/2's as I do in the 4's. Sometimes the 5's don't have crashes and there's multiple crashes in the 3s. Yes I watch races after mine is over
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Old 02-24-14, 12:19 AM   #36
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I had a similar experience last year, in my first season racing. It was a hilly circuit race, and I had just hammered to bring my teammate to the front and hurt the field a bit up the first part of the climb. Job done, I sat up and allowed myself to drift back a few places. I picked a wheel and slotted back in to the field. The rider behind apparently missed me slotting in and tried to ride into an imaginary gap between myself and the rider on my left. He crashed me out, my shifter broke, the race referee saw what happened and had words with him after the race.

It was stupid, inattentive racing on his part, and at the time I was fairly livid with him over the blood and broken shifter, but we all know the risk taken when rolling up to the start line. He was apologetic and I'm sure he learned his lesson, which is the best I can hope for. OP's offender? It depends on how thick and/or sociopathic he is, but regardless, you and likely others know to avoid him.
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Old 02-24-14, 12:36 AM   #37
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In my last road race I got bumped/bumped someone too many times to count. And most times it wasn't clear who bumped who. In my first race when I got bumped I wasn't freaked out but I definitely noticed more than I do now. And I've been racing far less than a year. I crashed once and witnessed at least a dozen more. So much more confident now even after seeing so many crashes.
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Old 02-24-14, 12:56 AM   #38
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This is a topic I've been pondering the last few weeks*, and as a new Cat 4 rider I'd be interested in other people's thoughts on some ideas I have.

1) Anonymous feed back on other riders in your field. USA Cycling currently has this on the event level, but why not implement it per rider? Sure most people wouldn't have anything to say, or there is the hugbox factor. Yet, maybe it would open the eyes of someone who is behaving poorly. Perhaps notify the regional director of riders with a "large" number of negative reviews.

2) In Cat 4 races give upgrade points for number of laps lead or premes. This does make scoring more difficult, but possible incentives harder riding. The person who doesn't have a 5 man team can try an attack to get some points, and the guy who leads out his 5 man team into the last lap gets some points. What other ways are there to incentive the individual or small group to not wait until the last kilometer (it doesn't seem that a couple prize premes have any effect)?

3) If a crash is attributed to someone, this may be several people, then they lose 3 upgrade points/races even if it puts them into the negative. Two crashes attributed to someone in a year can result in a ban or mandatory clinic.

4) A documented individual or small group clinic training regimen that can be performed to improve bike handling (ride strait, contact, four wide corner, etc.). From a rock climbing background, I can tell someone they need to do X when Y happens until I am blue in the face. They may logically/intuitively understand what I am saying but when they are fatigued and border line hypoxic they will do what comes to them as muscle memory. This is a trained behavior and without training when fatigued it will almost always fail when that person is fatigued.

While all risks can not be eliminated, and there is inherit danger that must be accepted in all of life. Why is crashing a tolerated happening in amateur bicycle racing? Why are we not each the automotive equivalent of Jackie Steward, demanding safety at all our event.

*Ultimately I was the fault of a crash at the hairpin on the last lap in the Cal Aggie Cat 4 race. I will personally impose #3 and I'll happily buy a food/beer for anyone who went down because of me.
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Old 02-24-14, 07:49 AM   #39
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This is a topic I've been pondering the last few weeks*, and as a new Cat 4 rider I'd be interested in other people's thoughts on some ideas I have.

1) Anonymous feed back on other riders in your field. USA Cycling currently has this on the event level, but why not implement it per rider? Sure most people wouldn't have anything to say, or there is the hugbox factor. Yet, maybe it would open the eyes of someone who is behaving poorly. Perhaps notify the regional director of riders with a "large" number of negative reviews.

2) In Cat 4 races give upgrade points for number of laps lead or premes. This does make scoring more difficult, but possible incentives harder riding. The person who doesn't have a 5 man team can try an attack to get some points, and the guy who leads out his 5 man team into the last lap gets some points. What other ways are there to incentive the individual or small group to not wait until the last kilometer (it doesn't seem that a couple prize premes have any effect)?

3) If a crash is attributed to someone, this may be several people, then they lose 3 upgrade points/races even if it puts them into the negative. Two crashes attributed to someone in a year can result in a ban or mandatory clinic.

4) A documented individual or small group clinic training regimen that can be performed to improve bike handling (ride strait, contact, four wide corner, etc.). From a rock climbing background, I can tell someone they need to do X when Y happens until I am blue in the face. They may logically/intuitively understand what I am saying but when they are fatigued and border line hypoxic they will do what comes to them as muscle memory. This is a trained behavior and without training when fatigued it will almost always fail when that person is fatigued.

While all risks can not be eliminated, and there is inherit danger that must be accepted in all of life. Why is crashing a tolerated happening in amateur bicycle racing? Why are we not each the automotive equivalent of Jackie Steward, demanding safety at all our event.

*Ultimately I was the fault of a crash at the hairpin on the last lap in the Cal Aggie Cat 4 race. I will personally impose #3 and I'll happily buy a food/beer for anyone who went down because of me.
I think you have some good thoughts. Personally I am in favor of clean, aggressive racing, no matter how much I am in awe of some of the shenanigans I see in the Pro-1 clips. Clean and aggressive can work well together. It's when riders either make technical mistakes (more common in the 5s and 4s, like they brake too hard) or they make tactical mistakes (Pro-1) that the "Clean" can go out the window.

After my crash I looked into penalties and such for dangerous riders. The rider that took me down, that caused the massive crash a couple Sundays prior, he's been making similar moves for something like 20 years, sporadically sometimes, in bunches sometimes. Everyone in the area knows who he is, but the sheer insanity of some of his moves means that even when you expect stupid moves you simply don't expect the insane moves. I mean who swerves 100% to the left in the middle of the field on a straight just before the finish? I understand if a dog jumped out or there was a pedestrian who somehow wandered onto the course, but for no reason except to move up? No way.

So what I found were:
1. No penalty tracking. You have no record except when serving a suspension (only exception - doping violations, tracked by a different organization). You get suspended once, the slate is wiped clean at the end of the suspension. I proposed a rule (all USAC racers can propose rules, they typically get considered in Oct of that year) to track violations and to escalate the penalties. For example if I intentionally take someone out I'm looking at 20 days (recommended max suspension). I pointed out that a ruthless team could designate three riders to take out the rest of the field, line up at the front, and the "crasher" just brakes super hard and swerves in the last turn. The field crashes, the two teammates in front win. The three crashers take turns serving 20 day suspension, they return on the 3rd week (so in 3 Sundays for example) and repeat. Do it again and again. There's nothing in the rulebook that covers this, and, in some way, the rider that took me out has been doing this for decades (not always quite so blatantly).

I also proposed an escalating penalty schedule, something significant, like 20 days, 200 days, 2000 days (or something like that). The "crash trio" strategy wouldn't work well if the rider causing the crashes couldn't come back for 6 years. That seems like a lot of time but if such penalties were in place I could have served five of them and still have gotten in racing from when I first started racing - the ones that are around are around for a long time.

USAC's response - they're not set up to track penalties so no go on this rule or anything related to tracking suspensions.

2. The problem with anonymous feedback is that it's anonymous. It could be simply hate feedback. Plus a very experienced rider can do a lot of tricky things to a less experienced rider and there's nothing wrong with that kind of stuff. For example it's perfectly feasible to take a wheel in 5-10 seconds from someone really dedicated to holding onto the wheel. I know because I've been on both sides of the situation. However a less experienced rider might think that the wheel taker is taking chances. He's not - he's just using normal Sphere (front wheel and bars area) stuff to make the other rider back off. No contact at all, and in fact initiating contact is almost 100% of the time an indicator of a tactical error.

However a racer can protest another racer's conduct/riding to an official. That's fine and it's actually good. It puts the racer (who did the alleged misdeed) a bit more to the forefront in the officials' eyes. Often the racer is exonerated but there are times when the racer really is causing problems.

For now the best thing to do is to notify officials at the race.

Also, relating to #1 and #2 , use a helmet or bar cam. Back up your complaint with video. Someone may complain about poor riding but video is very telling. It also keeps the cam user in check, meaning if you have the cam you won't go complaining willy nilly, you'll review the footage and then complain. This is why I wear a camera every time I go training or when I race. If I had a cam on when the guy took me down he'd have been suspended for a year for assault.

3. There are races where there are points/rewards for leading - they're called points races. However that's just one specific kind of bike racing. In the 5s and 4s you don't have to place to upgrade. One of my teammates did a lot of lead outs, helping other teammates win races. The leadout rider eventually got upgraded to the 3s not for his placings (he had none) but for his lead outs and experience in piloting the sprinters to the front at 200m to go. You can upgrade based on experience.

However, merely leading a race isn't an indication of being a good racer. To upgrade you need to show fluency in the field (at the appropriate level, so more fluency in the 3s than in the 5s). This means the racer needs to grasp the fundamentals of pack riding.

To me this seems to be a weak point in racing nowadays. In the old days, meaning 25-30 years ago, racers did all sorts of events. Lemond would seriously contest Paris Roubaix in the same years he was seriously contesting the Tour. He knew how to fight for position on flat roads in crosswinds. Yes, he was basically the first SRM powermeter user, but he also knew how to race. Nowadays there's so much emphasis on power/training that the "art of racing" is sort of getting lost. For a recent example Froome in the Tour last year - he could have made that split on the flat crosswind stage (13?) but instead he got on the radio and ended up losing some time. Yes, he eventually won, but at that moment his first reaction was to ask for advice. In the 4s (and 3s and 5s and even 2s) a racer doesn't have that luxury. Usually they don't have the luxury of teamwork. Racers need to know how to race and that means figuring out how to race the hardest part of the races, the bit just before the finish.

4. There are very few crashes attributed to individual riders. Often the rider who caused the crash will be on the deck. Even when a rider obviously caused a crash it's hard for officials to penalize them. Like the guy the took me out, he raced the rest of the season - a short time granted but in that time he races a few times, he promoted a stage race, and then he served an off seasons suspension primarily because he didn't want to pay $200 to appeal the suspension. If he'd paid the $200 he probably would have been cleared of any wrong doing, hence the negotiated off season penalty (so in essence he wasn't guilty but because he didn't appeal he had to serve something). Plus, after the off season suspension, there's no record of him ever serving it.

5. I think bike racing clinics help immensely. It gets the racers used to certain unnatural sensations. So, with my extremely limited rock climbing background, I found that trusting the rope was a huge deal (for about 10 seconds, until I trusted it). In real life you don't get exposed to that kind of stuff. Nor the whole "stand horizontally" when rappelling. Etc. In bike racing the unnatural things are bumping (side to side), wheel touch (front tire to something like a back tire), being very low (say trying to "palm" the pavement), bunny hopping (semi natural but enough people screw it up), counter steering (push the right side to initiate right turn), drafting (don't brake hard)… I'm sure there are more but that's what comes to mind. If a rider can do all of those with the same level of comfort as, say, trusting a climbing rope, then the fields would be much safer.

I started with clinics at the races I promote but it's hard - USAC doesn't have a set of guidelines on what sort of stuff qualifies for experience/points (bumping side to side? pace line? touching wheels?) so I needed to charge twice as much to the 5s because I was sacrificing one race to do the clinic. If there were clinic guidelines then I could dedicate appropriate time and charge accordingly, but without any guidelines the clinics are for experience only. It helps some of the racers of course - one guy told me about an incident where someone swerved into his front wheel during a race. He lost half the spokes of his wheel but he not only didn't crash but he rolled to a stop on his own. He mentioned some of the clinic practice and chalk talk (verbal coaching) as reasons for him staying upright.
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Old 02-24-14, 09:08 AM   #40
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Here's the thing - Ask anyone who crashes who caused it, and it is always going to be some other sketchy guy.

The answer is always the same.

No one is ever willing to admit he or she may have actually been the sketchy one.

I'm not saying you are the sketchy one, but you need to look at your actions and what could you have done differently. I've gone down in three crashes over the years, only one of which I caused though I did not take anyone down with me, but in every one, I can point to things I could have and should have done differently that would have kept me out of the crash.
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Old 02-24-14, 09:15 AM   #41
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I hear you. I've been doing TTs and Triathlons in the past, with no fear of crashes. So I decided I wanted to get better at pack riding , so I've been riding in groups twice a week for the last few months without incident and now my first big race = crash. It seems like such a risky business...
TT: it's like a bike race only with all of the fun taken out.
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Old 02-24-14, 09:46 AM   #42
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I'm not a fan of cameras in races. I've seen them go flying and cause crashes, and my sense (non scientific) is that many races with cameras seem to have more crashes than others. As topflight points out the crash is always someone else's fault, and it's not hard to posit scenarios where fingers get pointed based on popularity or team size. The answer I'd think is pace cars and follow vehicles.
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Old 02-24-14, 10:12 AM   #43
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I'll also add that I have only seen one rider every DQ'd for reckless behavior, and that was for throwing a punch during the race.
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Old 02-24-14, 10:19 AM   #44
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I'll also add that I have only seen one rider every DQ'd for reckless behavior, and that was for throwing a punch during the race.
This is an interesting thread, I will have little to offer.
One's man's person's perseption of wreckless riding is another's aggressive riding. I am the latter, said it many times in the past, if there is a 44 cm hole I'm going through it as I use 42 cm bars, there might be a little bumping and grinding but that's ok after all crit racing is the Nascar of cycling...
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Old 02-24-14, 10:35 AM   #45
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there's a reason why they call it crash 5. of the 6 races I've been in, 3 of them had crashes. of the two crits I did, both had crashes. I'm really gad I got out of cat 5 for this reason.
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Old 02-24-14, 10:46 AM   #46
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No one is ever willing to admit he or she may have actually been the sketchy one.
this.

And, the corollary: more often that you want to admit, YOU'RE the sketchy one. We all are.

Anticipate, avoid, absorb, adapt.
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Old 02-24-14, 11:00 AM   #47
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I ride sketchy on purpose, gives me a little extra room...
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Old 02-24-14, 11:52 AM   #48
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I'll also add that I have only seen one rider every DQ'd for reckless behavior, and that was for throwing a punch during the race.
I've seen a rider throw a punch (in the final 500m!) and not get DQ'd.

When things are hot and heavy, it can be very hard to accurately perceive unexpected things that are happening around you. That particular melee happened right next to me, and I heard several bizarrely conflicting stories about what exactly happened.
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Old 02-24-14, 12:26 PM   #49
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I ride sketchy on purpose, gives me a little extra room...
This sounds like a joke, but there are guys who actually do this on purpose.
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Old 02-24-14, 12:35 PM   #50
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there's a reason why they call it crash 5. of the 6 races I've been in, 3 of them had crashes. of the two crits I did, both had crashes. I'm really gad I got out of cat 5 for this reason.
Seen more crashes in the 3's than I have in the 5s in certain races.

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This is an interesting thread, I will have little to offer.
One's man's person's perseption of wreckless riding is another's aggressive riding. I am the latter, said it many times in the past, if there is a 44 cm hole I'm going through it as I use 42 cm bars, there might be a little bumping and grinding but that's ok after all crit racing is the Nascar of cycling...
the more I'm racing the more I agree with this. If there's an opening, you take it or someone else will. If you're leaving openings you're asking for someone to sweep in. This isn't a casual group ride where everyone has a 4 ft bubble around them.
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