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Recreational Cyclocross and Gravelbiking This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

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Old 10-26-10, 08:13 AM   #1
JMZ_CROSS
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Cross etiquette.

Spanking new to cross and have my 1st race this weekend and need the low down on the un written rules of cross...race etiquette.
What’s the deal on getting past someone on a narrow track? Obviously it’s a race so they aren’t gona pull over to make it easy for you to pass but if you’re stuck to their back wheel and faster than them how do you get past with out just forcing it and shouldering them out the way?
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Old 10-26-10, 08:15 AM   #2
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If they're experienced they'll realize the situation and get out of your way.

If they're not, you have every right to have a "talk" with them afterwards.
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Old 10-26-10, 08:25 AM   #3
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Ok so how does it work with you and your closest competitor... say your tired from a quick sprint up a hill and he's trying to push past, is it cool to make it hard for him and keep him behind you? I'm mean are there any tactics that people use, especially when in the front pack?
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Old 10-26-10, 08:28 AM   #4
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Ok so how does it work with you and your closest competitor... say your tired from a quick sprint up a hill and he's trying to push past, is it cool to make it hard for him and keep him behind you? I'm mean are there any tactics that people use, especially when in the front pack?
I would say it is cool.

You'll know at the time if you have any chance of pacing him or staying in the lead ...etc.

If you know you're spent, let him pass.
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Old 10-26-10, 08:29 AM   #5
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Narrow places are where you recover. Straights, hills and barriers are where you can pass. It is possible to pass in narrow places, just be sure that you don't do something stupid and take the other rider out. If the rider wants you to pass he will give room in the narrow spots, otherwise he will make himself as "wide" as possible.
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Old 10-26-10, 08:40 AM   #6
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Don't get too caught up in tactics. In truth, it's a long race and getting cheeky on turns is just a waste of energy. It's better to cooperate with the people around you through most of the race, then at the end it usually sorts out who's the fitter guy.
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Old 10-26-10, 09:21 AM   #7
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I will pass in a turn occasionally if it is wide enough, but the other person pretty much has to be slow enough to mean I can actually get by while taking a sub-optimal line, meaning they've blown up or I lapped them (rare). It's only viable in wide turns. Don't cut people off either.
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Old 10-26-10, 09:51 AM   #8
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I do not ride to obstruct another rider, but I will ride my line. It's his job to ride faster and with the technical skills to get around me. Also, first wheel to the turn gets to pick the line - again, if he wants to pass he needs to get their first.

Now, that said, I will always give room to allow a superior rider to go by - it's a hobby and I'm there to have fun, not acheive bad kharma. This is mostly a first lap thing until we're all strung out.

Most of the riders I've interacted with on the course have been very friendly and supportive - including the guys who were lapping when I was a total newb. It's worth it to me to keep that culture going. I'd also note that the guys around you on lap 4 are the same guys you'll be racing all season. So you're going to get to know them and they you. Better to keep the competition hard and clean (well except for the mud).
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Old 10-26-10, 10:10 AM   #9
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Typically it's like the wild west at the start of the gun, take no prisoners there and try to be the first through the hole shot. After that it's mostly a gentleman's sport. Also cross courses are technically supposed to be 3 meteres wide at all time. Lots of courses might have a small section of single track so it's usually not an issue to wait it out if some one is really slow just pass them. If you are the slow one then just move to the side, no bigie.
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Old 10-26-10, 10:11 AM   #10
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Great question and answers. I'm also in my first race in less than 2 weeks and was wondering about this. I'm going to start pretty far back in the CAT 4s just to stay out of the way. If I'm fit enough to pass a few people great, if not then I'll just watch and learn. I just don't want to take someone out or cause a pileup. I figure by the 2nd or 3rd race I'll have a much better idea where I stand fitness wise and try to be more towards the middle/front at the start.
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Old 10-26-10, 10:39 AM   #11
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Most of my expertise is from the "being passed" side of things. Right now, while you're calmly sitting at your computer with a fully oxygenated brain, you can probably step back and see the whole picture looking at it from both sides. If you internalize that, you'll know what to do.

Here's my advice.

1. Rubbing is racing -- expect to bump and get bumped. It happens. I don't think anyone does it on purpose, but it does happen. If you ride in such a way as to avoid contact whenever possible, you'll do really poorly. I speak from experience.

2. Everybody is oxygen deprived during the race. If you pass someone and take the line they want or bump them or whatever, they may use a colorful expletive. That doesn't necessarily mean that guy's a jerk. He's just tired and frustrated. Don't take it personally. It doesn't even necessarily mean what you did was wrong, though you should later consider the possibility that it was.

3. Be predictable. This is really all anybody wants, I think. If you're being passed, and you hold a consistent line, a good racer will find a way to get around you. On the flip side, however, if you want to pass somebody and he isn't holding a consistent line, take that into account. Don't steamroll him. Wait for a better opportunity. If you're in one of the lower cats, he's probably not trying to block you. He's probably just trying to keep his bike upright. If you're in one of the upper cats, be creative and show your skills.

4. Call your line. If the guy in front of you is slower than you, don't be shy about telling him where you intend to pass. He'll appreciate it, and it makes him much less likely to cut in front of you by accident. This is really a corollary to being predictable. Conversely, it is at the discretion of the rider being passed as to whether or not to give up the good line. If I'm being lapped, I will take a bad line, sometimes really bad, to let the leaders get around me quickly. However, if the line they want is the only line I think I can successfully negotiate, I take it. When I can, I try to indicate which I'm doing by yelling, "You got it," if I'm giving him the line or, "Just a minute," if I need to stay where I am.

I think you'll get mixed reactions to calling out "on your left" when passing someone who is on your lap and near your pace. I do it if I think the terrain is dicey. The way I look at it, it's a courtesy and even gives the other guy an advantage because you're giving up the element of surprise in your attack. Other people might take offense.

5. If approached by an angry rival after the race, don't respond to anger with anger. If a guy comes up to you and says, "You ran me into the ditch you #$%$@," and you respond by angrily defending yourself, you'll both go away bitter. If you stay calm and apologize (even if you don't think you did anything wrong), you may be able to talk it out. You may even make a friend. Humilty goes a long way, and it doesn't actually cost you anything.


The bottom line is, whatever is hateful to you, don't do to your fellow racer.
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Old 10-26-10, 11:48 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by flargle View Post
Don't get too caught up in tactics. In truth, it's a long race and getting cheeky on turns is just a waste of energy. It's better to cooperate with the people around you through most of the race, then at the end it usually sorts out who's the fitter guy.
There's some good truth to this. Passing for the sake of passing might not be the right choice. You might put five seconds that you can't hold on to the guy behind you, and then you've both wasted energy and can't claw up to the small group that's ten or fifteen seconds ahead of you.

So, there's a time for a stranger to be your friend, and a time for the stranger to be your opponent.

When the stranger is an opponent, they're not obliged to let you pass. It would be a dick move to start to let you pass and then shut the door on you. It's good tactics, however, to lead through a section that the people you're with are better at than you. Bad at technical stuff? Take the lead before that gnarly section and keep people behind you rather than let them put time into you.

If you're getting lapped, let people through.
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Old 10-27-10, 02:58 AM   #13
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Cheers guys, all info great food for thought.
Its seems there are various attitudes out there with riders racing in different ways with different goals. Being considerate yet still competitive seems to be the general vibe...i'll put it to the test on Saturday night. being a night ride if i do p*ss anyone off at least they wont be able to see me!
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Old 10-27-10, 05:48 AM   #14
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Check out the 2010 Belgian national championship race on youtube. It's a pretty tight course with lots of passing. It might give you some ideas for what "appropriate" aggressive racing looks like.
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Old 10-27-10, 11:32 AM   #15
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If I falter or can't ride up a section where others behind me can, I move over to dismount and run up off the 'good line' so that they can carry their momentum up.
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