"The 33"-Road Bike Racing - Unspoken Rules - and written ones
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02-04-09, 12:12 PM
So after my first race last week I realized I didn't really know the rules very well. I decided to read through the rulebook, but it didn't really give me what I was looking for.
What are the rules for position inside a pack? When do I have a wheel, when does he have it? When have I passed someone so that I can move in? How do you force your way into a pack from the outside?
What is the racing etiquette in these situations? Is it still a gentleman's sport? How far does that go?
And someone mentioned CDRs blog has an entry about moving up inside a pack, but I couldn't find it. Someone help me out please? Any other good websites that have stuff similar to this? Any tactics websites I can read as well?
02-04-09, 01:09 PM
CDR's video(s) on youtube demonstrates how to move around in the pack nicely. Alot of it will come with experience. I'm still not good, only better than before.
02-04-09, 01:10 PM
The quick answer is, there are no rules for the things you mention.
Only strategies, tactics, techniques, ploys, and "what's appropriate and safe for the conditions" vs "what you can get away with"
02-04-09, 01:17 PM
^ Not true. Take a look at the Conduct section of the Rulebook, specifically 1O6, 1O7, 1O8, and 3B10
Admittedly, they don't give specific answers to the OP's specific questions, but they are the rules which govern the situation, and under which your actions will be judged.
02-04-09, 02:25 PM
This is mostly my own interpretation and opinion, but you have a wheel when it is directly in front of you. I usually follow that wheel through turns to avoid being the guy who screwed up his line and took out a bunch of others.
If your rear wheel is next to someone else's front wheel, you have the upper hand and can squeeze him out gently (gently means not chopping his wheel or forcing him into someone else). If your front wheel is next to someone else's rear wheel, it's self preservation to give in, although closing the gap and offering your elbow if he continues into you is an option.
Forcing your way into a pack is a cheap shot, but if you can find or make a hole, go for it. Aside from that, I'd say you either need to fade to the back or charge up front. The front is a nice choice because it usually doesn't take long for someone else to take the front, allowing you to sit in the second row for a bit.
02-04-09, 03:58 PM
If you get you get your bars in front of another set of bars you are in control, exercise your control responsibly. Oh yeah, don't throw up on your shoes.
02-04-09, 04:06 PM
Use good judgement my friend. Ride aggressive, but not aggressive enough to hurt anybody. You'll get better with experience.
02-04-09, 04:15 PM
Yeah, when I make a move toward the front of the pack, I just pass everyone in that front line gradually, sort of asking to be let in with my body language. It's rare that I don't see a gap open up voluntarily. Similarly, I generally let people in, in that situation. My attacks aren't from that far up usually, so I don't care about losing a spot or two every so often. If I'm in the top 15, I can do what I need to.
02-04-09, 04:52 PM
if you want a wheel bad enough, putting your sti lever into the bum of the guy you want to move usually works.
I wouldn't race too agressive, there is really no need. but if someone wants to bump me out of the way, I'll bump them back no worries.
Racing bmx and doing track events (like pionts race, sprints and scratch race) make crits seem like slow mo, road races even more so. Elbow and hips work, but I'm not into racing dirty or folks who do it. 9 times out of 10 it's the guy who starts silly stuff that goes down.
Don't be afraid to show your front wheel too, I know I'm often happy to let someone have the wheel in front, really happy if they look like a big motor and are happy to flog themsleves.
02-04-09, 07:21 PM
I don't recall doing a post on moving up specifically, but I did do this one that has to do with etiquette and, in some sense, what you can and can't do in a field:
The "sphere" is the area around your front wheel and bars which you need clear to feel comfortable. If someone intrudes in that area, you'll back off. If the area is too big (i.e. you don't feel comfortable when riders get closer than, say, five feet) then you'll just lose your field position whenever someone else wants it. If your sphere extends like 2-3 inches around your bars and wheel, you'll have a better chance holding your position.
I have no qualms about moving over into someone's oversized sphere. I figure that it ought to extend a foot or less, so riding within 2 feet of someone isn't (to me) "impolite". However, I've gotten yelled at for being that close to (or far from) someone, so others may disagree with me.
If you watch the helmet cam clips, you'll see that there is a lot of time where you can move up. A couple of them get tight at the end, where I'm squeezing a bit (and the 120 degree cam, used in all but Summer St Sprints and the 2006 Nutmeg Games, actually makes people look further away than they are).
I mentioned this in a different post somewhere but in the 2006 Nutmeg Games, someone leans really, really hard on me, trying to push me to the right (the cam doesn't show it). Just on principle I pushed back so that he couldn't get by. In that race too I wait in the sprint to move left. You can see that I look left a half second or so before I jump - I'd been waiting for the guy to the left to fade but he just didn't fade. He finally moved off line slightly and I could jump, but I jumped maybe 2 seconds after I had that feeling "I gotta go NOW". I've never gotten that sprint right, ever. Arg.
02-04-09, 10:15 PM
Short of actually physically intending harm (punching a guy in the leg, jerking their handlebars, throwing a stick in their spokes), I feel its pretty much anything goes. But if you try to force yourself into every little hole, you'll eventually crash people or crash yourself. And once everyone determines you are the aggressive guy, they'll put you in the gutter, chop your wheel in corners, etc.
just race smart.
02-04-09, 11:06 PM
And once everyone determines you are the aggressive guy, they'll put you in the gutter, chop your wheel in corners, etc.
Yeah, don't forget that you're probably racing with the same guys all season, and possibly for years.
02-05-09, 12:32 AM
when you stand up, don't jerk the bike back. When you go through a corner, expect that the person in front of you will have to slow down so you don't have to slam on your brakes. Try to smooth out the nonsense the guy in front of you is doing. These are all things you can do to keep the guys behind you from thinking you are putting them in danger.
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