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Preventing crit crashes with new racers

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Preventing crit crashes with new racers

Old 06-01-15, 10:57 AM
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The Domestique
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Preventing crit crashes with new racers

Here's a video from the first race of the season. Jump to 4:15 to watch the crash itself. I'm looking for the "hard and fast rules" we can teach the newcomers to prevent this from happening. It's pretty rare but is scares guys off.


Thoughts?
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Old 06-01-15, 11:02 AM
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I didn't watch the video, but...

  1. Don't overlap your front wheel
  2. Know how to bump, elbows, shoulders, hips, handlebars WITHOUT PANICKING
  3. No sudden movements, left, right, or backward
  4. In spite of this, crashes will happen.
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Old 06-01-15, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by mkadam68 View Post
I didn't watch the video, but...

  1. Don't overlap your front wheel
  2. Know how to bump, elbows, shoulders, hips, handlebars WITHOUT PANICKING
  3. No sudden movements, left, right, or backward
  4. In spite of this, crashes will happen.
this. Blue guy was a bit aggressive, ( trying to squeeze into a space that may have been too tight for the skill level of himself and those around him) but the guy that went down could have easily rolled through that situation. Ride with upper body loose, and he shouldn't have had much of a problem dealing with it.

Not sure if the blue guy actually got his front wheel, but you should be able to use your upper body to keep another rider from hitting your front wheel with their front wheel, by just flaring your elbows a bit.
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Old 06-01-15, 11:11 AM
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it looks like the guy in that video tried for a hole that he did not recognize was closing and got pinched, and was being too aggressive for someone who really doesn't look like he was comfortable with contact. So, don't do that, that's dumb.
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Old 06-01-15, 11:22 AM
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Okay, I watched it a few times and I think there are 2 issues. 1) the guy in black was locked in and not checking his peripheral (which didn't cause the crash, just good practice) and 2) the guy in blue riding like it was a gran fondo with his elbows locked and on the hoods probably made him top heavy and lost control of the handlebars (main reason). If he leveraged better he could have gotten out of it even with the contact.

It didn't look like the bikes made contact, but the body contact caused a slip on the bars.

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Old 06-01-15, 11:35 AM
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From what I see, the guy in black moves to the left as the guy in blue is moving up. It doesn't look that tight to me until the guy in black moves left. (Maybe it was too tight for Blue's skill level.)

They bump. It looks like Blue's front elbow hits Black's back elbow as Blue is trying to pass. The contact causes Blue to turn his wheel - his arms are stiff and on the tops. Blue loses control and unclips. Then he goes down and Black goes over his wheel.

Didn't see any wheels being taken out, just two guys bumping and one not knowing how to respond.
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Old 06-01-15, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by The Domestique View Post
Here's a video from the first race of the season. Jump to 4:15 to watch the crash itself. I'm looking for the "hard and fast rules" we can teach the newcomers to prevent this from happening. It's pretty rare but is scares guys off.


Thoughts?
Have courses of consistent width and no hazards to avoid. Non bottlenecking roads, no cones, don't mix levels. I think narrow is better as riders get used to close. Cycling is a contact sport and it takes a while to learn that. I see crazy stuff on big wide roads esp. when someone wants to get back in because of narrowing or they just figured out they are pushing too much wind.


Dreaming...
I think everyone should be on the Belgi (and other) junior program. Meaning - new riders are new riders and until they can do the open categories they will be coached via the rules.

Cat 5 all ages - Big gear is 52X16. This keeps riders closer, slower and they have to learn to handle their bikes and learn to race, and spin.
Cat 4 all ages - Big gear is 52X14. This keeps riders less close, less slow and they continue to have rules coach them.
Cat 3 all ages - open it up.

Do not mix groups with different equipment restrictions.
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Old 06-01-15, 12:10 PM
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Happens in every category, just with varying levels of speed and skill.

Nothing you can do about it really.
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Old 06-01-15, 01:46 PM
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I think this issue has been discussed to death here a few different times, but it's really not about crits in particular or course design or some hard and fast rules handed down from on high. It's that there is no on high from which things are handed down to new racers, for the most part. We throw n00bs into the deep end and expect them to learn to swim. That's the problem.
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Old 06-01-15, 01:57 PM
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Guy goes into middle of two people, guy on right is closing up with inside guy, they touch, panic, and fall. Seems like a really dumb needless crash. If he had more weight on the bars and just held steady on either of them they'd be ok but seems like they paniced with hands touching allowing their bikes to turn into each other causing a crash.
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Old 06-01-15, 02:15 PM
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It seems like a pretty clear case of not being positionally aware and then panicking at the contact. Agree with what's been said already: be soft in the upper body so that contact isn't a big deal. Also: head on a swivel.
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Old 06-01-15, 02:29 PM
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The guy in blue was heavily overlapped with the guy to his front left (who doesn't crash). The shadows were such that I was confused initially whose wheel was whose. Blue was almost halfway up the other guy's bike, i.e. his front wheel was well ahead of the other guy's rear wheel. Blue went into a hole, he didn't back down, and he got squeezed into the guy to his front left.

Based on the massive gaps around the riders generally (I skipped to about 3:55 so didn't see the rest of it, before or after) Blue was doing a super tight move in a field that wasn't used to such things.

Blue was in over his head. Some bump drills, being on the drops (I know I harp on it but it's best practice virtually all the time, you almost never have a problem because you're on the drops), and knowing when to back down, those are things that would help.

Unfortunately judgment is hard to improve. You can get people to respond a certain way to certain situations but forcing them to make the decision themselves? Difficult to train, if not impossible.

In a weekly race like this (it's a weekly thing?), in an environment like that (parking lot, lots of open space, smaller number of riders) it would be natural to have a rider clinic each week. 15 minutes of bumping drills wouldn't take much time, it would improve everyone's appreciation for close quarter riding, it would improve everyone's ability to stay upright, and bring everyone a bit more into a community if you will. An experienced rider that wants to share their experience and can teach/communicate/empathize well? The whole group would be a foot apart in 6 weeks. You could have the best little group of racers around.
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Old 06-01-15, 02:32 PM
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When you bump or touch, don't push against the rider, get away from him.
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Old 06-01-15, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
The guy in blue was heavily overlapped with the guy to his front left (who doesn't crash). The shadows were such that I was confused initially whose wheel was whose. Blue was almost halfway up the other guy's bike, i.e. his front wheel was well ahead of the other guy's rear wheel. Blue went into a hole, he didn't back down, and he got squeezed into the guy to his front left.
You are correct. Most people don't see it but the shadows show it. The guy to his front-left ended up with a bent hanger, so we know there was contact.

Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
In a weekly race like this (it's a weekly thing?), in an environment like that (parking lot, lots of open space, smaller number of riders) it would be natural to have a rider clinic each week. 15 minutes of bumping drills wouldn't take much time, it would improve everyone's appreciation for close quarter riding, it would improve everyone's ability to stay upright, and bring everyone a bit more into a community if you will. An experienced rider that wants to share their experience and can teach/communicate/empathize well? The whole group would be a foot apart in 6 weeks. You could have the best little group of racers around.
There is a race just before this one so having the whole course might be hard, BUT there is a massive infield that could be setup for a clinic. Cool idea. I'll suggest it and see if we can get it going.
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Old 06-01-15, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by San Rensho View Post
When you bump or touch, don't push against the rider, get away from him.
I'm hearing the opposite from most folks. Like this,.. "By leaning in, you give both a chance to return to a center of balance. It's counter-intuitive but I've been shoulder-to-shoulder before and that's how you stay up."

Help me understanding your thinking.
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Old 06-01-15, 02:48 PM
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Originally Posted by The Domestique View Post
There is a race just before this one so having the whole course might be hard, BUT there is a massive infield that could be setup for a clinic. Cool idea. I'll suggest it and see if we can get it going.
For bumping drills I'm not talking using the course, I'm talking using maybe a warm up loop kind of thing where you have 50-100 yards straight, do a U-turn, 50-100 yards straight, etc. Better if the U-turn has a cone or something so people don't randomly U-turn in a 30 yard stretch of pavement. The idea is to have a straight long enough for contact. This could happen before the race (ideal) or after the race (less ideal), depending on people's schedules. Before would be better.

Later, on a grass/soft area, you can do front wheel touching, two sides contact, full contact slow speed crits, etc, but the bumping, that's huge. It's basically all we did at the Bethel Spring Series and it saved some guys skin in those races as well as later ones. One guy that thanked me for the drills/instruction was an M55+ racer who lost something like 8 spokes out of his Zipp 404 front wheel in a June race and still didn't hit the deck. First year racer, he said to me that he was just focusing on "drops, steer" and hang on. I'd like to take credit for his clinic instruction but I think @shovelhd was his actual instructor.
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Old 06-01-15, 02:50 PM
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CDR spits the truf. Front wheel touching drills have saved my ass a good dozen times by now.
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Old 06-01-15, 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted by The Domestique View Post
I'm hearing the opposite from most folks. Like this,.. "By leaning in, you give both a chance to return to a center of balance. It's counter-intuitive but I've been shoulder-to-shoulder before and that's how you stay up."

Help me understanding your thinking.
When you have contact with another rider it means you're turning into them, however slightly, or the other rider is turning into you, however slightly. I'm talking the radius of your turn might be 50 miles but the end result is that you two are meeting in one spot.

If you lean away from the rider (natural instinct) then you actually lean your bike towards the rider more. This is the only way to stay upright on a bike if you're moving to the left for example and then you lean right. Your bike leans more left and unless you start doing some massive body English it will turn left eventually.

If you lean into the rider then your bike stays under you, you retain control of the bike, and you can initiate a right turn/move in a somewhat normal way. If the other rider does the same then you end up sort of leaning on one another.

You can ride like this pretty fast - it's happened to me at 35+ mph in a leadout of a sprint. Usually the other rider initiated contact with me, to push me out of the way, but once I went around a blown up leadout guy, moved to the curb, and hit a rider moving up on the other side of the leadout guy that I didn't see before. I collided with one guy super hard like that and I was 100% into my sprint, realistically in the 38-40 mph range, 53x12 or 54x12. We bounced off each other, he let me have the gap, I think I won. I found the guy I bounced off of after the race and apologized. He was okay with it, thought it was kind of humorous because he didn't see me either, and actually asked to join my team. He did and raced with me until he moved away.

This is why sometimes you see sprinters tilting their heads at one another. McEwan did this in a couple sprints, it looks really bad but he's actually leaning into the other rider to retain balance or maintain position, not head butting him out of the way. There are sprints where he's being the aggressor also, meaning he's using his head to try and shove someone out of the way, but that's not very different from the survival "lemme lean my helmet into you so I don't fall into you with my whole body" move.
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Old 06-01-15, 03:46 PM
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Bump drills and riding on the drops. This wouldn't have happened.

Pro-1-2 riders can get away with riding on the hoods. The rest of you, I'm going to yell at.


Originally Posted by grolby View Post
.... there is no on high from which things are handed down to new racers, for the most part. We throw n00bs into the deep end and expect them to learn to swim. That's the problem.
Bingo. One of the most dangerous sports around, and there's very little basic training given.
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Old 06-01-15, 03:51 PM
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I agree with all the other comments about this being avoidable but for the riders panicking a bit, which is unfortunately natural. Bumping drills help with this so much, as does being low and in the drops.

P.S. I know this is going to offend you, but I can't help it. Do you honestly think that incessantly and, by the sound of it, randomly yelling "hold your line" throughout the whole race is making anyone ride more safely?!
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Old 06-01-15, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
If you lean into the rider then your bike stays under you, you retain control of the bike, and you can initiate a right turn/move in a somewhat normal way. If the other rider does the same then you end up sort of leaning on one another.

I rode for about 30 seconds like this, with about 1k to go in a road race, teetering on the right edge of the pavement and making a teepee with a guy on my left. We both just held our speed, knowing that if either of us slowed down unilaterally we'd both fall. (He won the race and I got 3rd.)

Last Saturday morning there was a guy on our group ride who was out of his depth, barely hanging on. On a steepish climb suddenly I feel all this pressure on my hip. The guy had basically fallen over and his shoulder was leaning against my hip. I pushed back toward him to get him upright, then gave myself some distance. At no time was I in the slightest danger of falling, but if I had moved anywhere other than toward him, he would have crashed.
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Old 06-01-15, 04:55 PM
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We do a drill at practice that helps with this sort of situation as well, but I'm not sure if you'd have enough riders for it. We'll ride as a group three abreast, and have the middle row move forward through the outside two lines, with riders alternating sides as they come out to the front. As the drill goes on, the outside lines gradually squeeze in to make it a little tougher for the folks in the middle, so everyone gets comfortable with passing through tight spaces smoothly. By the end we usually have folks squeezing through gaps slightly wider than their handlebars.

That along with the typical bumping drills helped me a lot when I was starting. Also when riding with teammates, we try to sneak up to and bump each other once in a while, or sneak through the gap of two riders having a conversation, just to keep it fresh.
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Old 06-01-15, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by wktmeow View Post
We do a drill at practice that helps with this sort of situation as well, but I'm not sure if you'd have enough riders for it. We'll ride as a group three abreast, and have the middle row move forward through the outside two lines, with riders alternating sides as they come out to the front. As the drill goes on, the outside lines gradually squeeze in to make it a little tougher for the folks in the middle, so everyone gets comfortable with passing through tight spaces smoothly. By the end we usually have folks squeezing through gaps slightly wider than their handlebars
.
I wish I had a group to do this with.
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Old 06-01-15, 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Hls2k6 View Post
P.S. I know this is going to offend you, but I can't help it. Do you honestly think that incessantly and, by the sound of it, randomly yelling "hold your line" throughout the whole race is making anyone ride more safely?!
Oh believe me, I have a whole rant on the "hold your line" B.S. yelling that I can launch into whenever you want. It was among many things that me and my pal mattio (@queerpunk around the BF-osphere) talked about in a podcast episode here: WHBP #10 - Divebombers Gonna Divebomb ? Standard Double. In short, "hold your line" is meaningless non-advice generally yelled by the self-important know-it-all Cat 4s (and 5s... and some 3s... and pretty much any category from time to time) who think they are the bike riding gods among men of the Tour de Parking Lot peloton.
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Old 06-01-15, 08:17 PM
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I generally don't yell "hold your line". What I will do (did at Limerock this year) is roll up to the guy and say it to him in a lower, calmer voice. I put my hand on his back to steady him so he wouldn't run into me. In other words it's a real directed comment, not something yelled out arbitrarily. The guy apologized so he gets a pass from me for a while. I just look out for him.

On the other hand I screamed at a guy three times in the last race I did. Like screamed at the top of my lungs, which I honestly don't remember when I did it last before that, and three times in once race, maybe in the early 90s. Absolutely wacky rider. Ends up he's an ex-pro but man, what a lunatic. Pushing, shoving, almost taking himself out because he's pushing so hard (swerving a couple feet to keep himself upright), trying to crash others… and not in any kind of crucial point of the race, just random laps where someone got him mad. Pointless aggression. He ultimately got DQ'ed but still. A friend of mine told me, oh, he's crazy, there are like 5 guys I avoid at all costs and he's once of them. That friend's been racing 25 years so that says something.

A friend of his who is a (different) friend of mine said, "Well, it's M40+ and it's always crazy in M40+." They used to be teammates, my friend's been racing almost 30 years, he started as a Junior just after I did.

I probably posted the above stuff before, or else I'm remembering messaging my friend, so sorry for repeating it if I did.
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