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Old 03-07-08, 11:14 PM   #1
Cycle-clops
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We're going to yell at you?: I got yelled at and it feels like crap :(.

So this is my first (of many I hope) year of track racing (racing of any type actually) and I love it but some people are just too serious.

I decided to partake in an "Unknown Distance" race at the velodrome. For most of the race I was hanging out at the back just chilling and trying to get comfortable with the whole racing thing. About 14 laps in I said the heck with it and hammered around the group and did a solo break away off the front just for fun. I knew there was no way I could keep up with the final sprint and the group laughingly let me go off on my own for a lap or 2.

Then.....DING...the bell rings! Oh ****! Now I can either drop the hammer, stay low, and get swallowed up by a sprint, or just get the hell out of the way and let the faster guys do there thing. I decided to get out of the way. Unfortunately my solo breakaway was not a solo. Another rider was sucking my wheel and was in the process of coming around. I cut him off badly. He didn't go down (thank god) but he would have easily won the race. He let loose a blue streak of curse words that I'm pretty sure everyone heard. Then after we got off the track I got another loud lecture about how I "cost him the race". This is a C/Novice race. No points, no prizes, no fee, race. Then I had to sit there and watch him go off and rant to everyone else at the track about what I did. Yeah, I felt like crap. In his defense he did come back to me and apologize for having a "hissy fit" and I gave him a handshake but I had to leave. I was signed up for a few more races but I was just too embarassed. I'll be back next week though!

Thanks for reading, ranting makes me feel better!
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Old 03-08-08, 12:39 AM   #2
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It's a learning experience, and you'll understand it better when you're on the other side, going around a dying rider.

At my local track we teach a lot of "do this, do that", and there's pretty much only one "don't", and that's don't ever try to get out of the way of an overtaking rider. They may be going *way* faster than you, and will probably be committed to going around on whichever side (usually over) by the time you try to get out of the way. They can see clearly where you are, and easily pass safely, but you can't see them.

Congrats on your first track racing experience though! I hope you will keep racing-- you'll find that most people can be really competitive on the track and may yell at you there, but they'll leave it there, and lend you a cog or a wrench and be friendly on the infield later.
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Old 03-08-08, 08:22 AM   #3
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Depending on how close this guy was riding, it's bad form for him not to tell you that he's there.

Also, don't count yourself out on the breakaway: Since I can't sprint, it seems like the only way I've ever won a race. You'd be amazed at how tired everyone else is by lap 14. If you've got big lungs, they can sometimes carry you across the line.

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Old 03-08-08, 07:45 PM   #4
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Never quit, hold your line, if you're in front and stick to this, everyone else will be fine, it's when you think too much, and do the unexpected that things go wrong on the track. If you are going to swing up on the track, always look before you leap, and never stop pedaling.
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Old 03-08-08, 10:03 PM   #5
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Don't quit because you think you'll get passed. It's their job to come around you. Make them do their job. Another thing to keep in mind. You were off the front for a lap or two with him in tow yet he never once offered to take a pull (and in the process let you know you're not alone). Yet you pulling off him cost HIM the race. In other words he was just fine letting you do all the work and pipping you at the line. You didn't cost him the race. His lack of effort cost him the race. Some might say if a guy is willing to pull you all the way let him. Fine, but don't blame the guy when he dies because you didn't help.

Get your butt back out there and race.
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Old 03-09-08, 04:12 PM   #6
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Don't they teach you to do shoulder checks at this track? Whenever moving off line, ALWAYS do a shoulder check to make sure no-one is in the space that you wish to occupy. No exceptions!
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Old 03-09-08, 04:38 PM   #7
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Don't they teach you to do shoulder checks at this track? Whenever moving off line, ALWAYS do a shoulder check to make sure no-one is in the space that you wish to occupy. No exceptions!

They used to fine you in Australia for looking behind. Concentrate on whats in front of you. It's up to the riders behind to worry about themselves. BUT...they used to fine you and even suspend you if you swung up in the last lap. Swinging up the track in the last lap is a big no-no. Its dangerous.

For the OP, there are rules, then there is race etiquette. Ask some experience riders at your track if you are unsure.
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Old 03-09-08, 07:21 PM   #8
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People get heated in races. I know I have been guilty of barking at a fellow racer for chopping my wheel.

Your mistake is common (see this video for another version). Consider it a learning experience. Remember that when you take the lane, you never leave it until you're overtaken.

Everyone has a first race, and everyone has a major mistake. Brush it off and get back into the mix.
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Old 03-09-08, 07:53 PM   #9
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If you were moving into the guys line, he should have yelled "stick" or "stay" or whatever the word is at your track.
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Old 03-10-08, 09:31 PM   #10
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You should have stayed low, and you should have checked to see where you were going, but this guy sounds like a total ass. learn from his mistakes, too. if you're sucking wheel, you could be doing a better job working with somebody else to hold a lead or a breakaway. if somebody does something wrong, don't lose your cool - show them how it was wrong and encourage them to get back on the oval.
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Old 03-11-08, 12:23 AM   #11
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it certainly sounds like an exciting race for you. while it can sometimes be intimidating, i kinda like being in a pack with someone who calls stuff out a lot. just simple stuff like "stay!" or "easy now" is reassuring enough that everyone is paying attention behind you. ...i guess that's not really applicable since you were ahead of the pack.

i really hope you do stay with it and just remember that track racing is like every other jock-oriented sport; its got meat heads and short fuses. just don't become one!
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Old 03-11-08, 08:19 AM   #12
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Stick with it and learn. There is no more helpless feeling than being totally out of gas, and having a whole field go right over you! But the right thing is also the easy thing, just hold your line. Usually when someone reacts (over reacts) like that its because you scared em.

Apologise for the mistake and move on.
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Old 03-14-08, 01:13 AM   #13
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I always pushed "track awareness" -- building and continuously updating a picture of the entire track surface including everyone on it. That way you're never caught by surprise, which is even more important in the age of the rampant dumbass.

As for getting fined for looking around while riding the track? Makes me glad I never rode in Australia, as that's one of the dumber things I've heard.
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Old 03-14-08, 04:17 PM   #14
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As for getting fined for looking around while riding the track? Makes me glad I never rode in Australia, as that's one of the dumber things I've heard.
I dunno, I don't usually look behind me when I'm taking a place unless I'm in a group with people who aren't used to pacelines and riding in groups. Out of the few (10 or under?) track races I've done, I've never had a problem; I get to the place where I'm sure that I'm close enough to the person in front of me, and about 6in away from the guy behind me, I always inch my way in slowly, if he sees a problem with me moving in, he'll yell. Both in road and track races I do that, but only if they're allowing a gap to form.
Even in go-kart racing, they discerned looking behind you, because in both sports, looking back causes you to veer to either side.
There can also be sometihng like a wheel rub or something go down while you're looking back, and by the time you regain focus, you're practically in an accident.
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Old 03-14-08, 05:09 PM   #15
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I wonder how they do match sprints in Australia. Helmet mirrors? Lol.

You need to be able to look around without having your bike move off line. That doesn't mean that you're turning around and staring at the guy behind you in a paceline, but it does mean that you're looking around enough that you're unlikely to be surprised by anything. The fact that the OP wasn't aware that there was someone on his wheel is indicative of a problem. Not that there's anything wrong with making mistakes as a new track rider as long as he learns from them.
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Old 03-14-08, 08:20 PM   #16
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it's bad form for him not to tell you that he's there.
You're kidding right?

"hey man I'm about to pass you" isn't part of racing.

The current rule in Australia just to clear things up is 'in the last 2 laps no swinging up regardless' fines and penalties can apply. Never heard of the don't look over your shoulder as a rule but its something Juniors are taught to do (not look around because the bike goes where your looking) in a sprint.
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Old 03-15-08, 06:03 AM   #17
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They used to fine you in Australia for looking behind.
I didn't say anything about looking behind. I couldn't care less who's behind me when on the track. A 'shoulder check' lets you know if anyone is in the space you would like to occupy.

The instruction at the OP's track was obviously bad. He should have been taught not to swing up (or change line) when the sprint was on. That was the first mistake. And he should have been taught to shoulder check if he ever was considering changine line.

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Old 03-15-08, 09:48 AM   #18
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I got bawled at by some officials at Northbrook for looking over my shoulder in a sprint to the line. They were dead right, too. I was sprinting for a prime, and looked over my shoulder twice in the straight, with the result that I came off my line a bit. Even though there was no-one really near me, when the race was over I got summoned over by the officials and was told that they would deny me upgrade points if I did it again.

I mean, it was my fault. I shouldn't have been looking over my shoulder in a sprint, and if I was going to look over my shoulder I should have been able to do it without veering off my line. Rookie mistake.

Still, I won the prime.
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Old 03-15-08, 11:02 AM   #19
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I got bawled at by some officials at Northbrook for looking over my shoulder in a sprint to the line. They were dead right, too. I was sprinting for a prime, and looked over my shoulder twice in the straight, with the result that I came off my line a bit. Even though there was no-one really near me, when the race was over I got summoned over by the officials and was told that they would deny me upgrade points if I did it again.
God, even the track scene is being taken over by the outdoor spin class types. I guess it's easier to just say "Don't look around" than it is to insist that people learn basic skills. Grump, grump.
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Old 03-15-08, 11:10 AM   #20
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God, even the track scene is being taken over by the outdoor spin class types.
Are you talking about me?
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Old 03-15-08, 11:21 AM   #21
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I dunno, I don't usually look behind me when I'm taking a place unless I'm in a group with people who aren't used to pacelines and riding in groups. Out of the few (10 or under?) track races I've done, I've never had a problem; I get to the place where I'm sure that I'm close enough to the person in front of me, and about 6in away from the guy behind me, I always inch my way in slowly, if he sees a problem with me moving in, he'll yell. Both in road and track races I do that, but only if they're allowing a gap to form.
Even in go-kart racing, they discerned looking behind you, because in both sports, looking back causes you to veer to either side.
There can also be sometihng like a wheel rub or something go down while you're looking back, and by the time you regain focus, you're practically in an accident.
Always turn your head for a quick look before you make a lateral move. It makes people aware of where you're going (even if you don't want them to know why). You should also learn to hold your line while turning your head-- that's a really critical skill in track racing. Some people do drills where they'll ride a full lap with their head turned to get it down. If you ever start riding madisons you have to learn to see everywhere at once-- you're expected to be looking the whole time you're coming in off relief.
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Old 03-15-08, 07:20 PM   #22
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Are you talking about me?
No, mate. Just venting. You learn to ignore me after a while.
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Old 03-15-08, 07:21 PM   #23
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You should also learn to hold your line while turning your head-- that's a really critical skill in track racing. Some people do drills where they'll ride a full lap with their head turned to get it down. If you ever start riding madisons you have to learn to see everywhere at once-- you're expected to be looking the whole time you're coming in off relief.
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Old 03-15-08, 08:07 PM   #24
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No, mate. Just venting. You learn to ignore me after a while.
Ah don't be a grumpy aul' bollix! It was only the second night of Cat5 racing, and while I agree that the point might have been better made at one of the pre-season clinics, they did at least explain to me what I had done wrong, and how to avoid it. They were helpful.
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Old 03-15-08, 11:41 PM   #25
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The way you wrote it up makes it sound as though they addressed the symptom, not the underlying issue. The problem is not that you looked back, it's that your bike moved off line as a result. And that's not actually the real problem, as novice riders should be expected to lack skills, no offense intended. The real problem, IMO, is that folks -- including many of the folks "in charge" -- seem to think that a lack of skill is a normal state of things and that the solution is to forbid riders to perform simple tasks rather than insist that they learn to do them correctly.

This is not progress, in my book.
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