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Definition of a Mechanical

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Old 04-29-18, 05:07 PM
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Poonjabby
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Definition of a Mechanical

What constitutes a mechanical to qualify for a free lap in a Crit? I had a seat come loose...didnít break. I was allowed to finish the race, but some are questioning whether it was a true mechanical. I did not podium for what itís worth.
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Old 04-29-18, 05:17 PM
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We've been having this discussion over in the Race Stories thread. Give that a read to get a start.

2018 racing stories
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Old 04-29-18, 05:31 PM
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Thanks!
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Old 04-29-18, 06:34 PM
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Who questioned it? Other racers?

I'd pull over for a free lap for that, personally. I'd hope the officials would grant it, but don't know.
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Old 04-29-18, 07:35 PM
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Well today I learned that thinking you have a flat when you don't actually have one is NOT a valid mechanical. Who'd a thunk it?
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Old 04-30-18, 06:52 AM
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Per USAC Rulebook:

2B5. A legitimate fall, a puncture, or the breakage of an essential part of the bicycle shall be considered recognized mishaps. All others incidents are considered un-recognized mishaps.

and

Mishap: A crash or a mechanical accident (tire puncture or other failure of an essential component). However, a puncture caused by the tire coming off due to inadequate gluing is not a mechanical accident, nor is a malfunction due to miss-assembly or insufficient tightening of any component. A recognized mishap is a stoppage that meets the above conditions. An unrecognized mishap is a stoppage where the above conditions are not met. A broken toe strap or cleat is a mishap. A worn or misadjusted cleat or toe strap is not a mishap. If more than one toe strap is used on a pedal, breakage of one is considered a mishap. Any mishap not immediately inspected by an official is unrecognized.

Based on that, a loose saddle is not a legitimate mishap. Had the saddle bolt broken, it would have been.
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Old 04-30-18, 02:55 PM
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my common sense tells me it's a mechanical if it's because a hole or bump in the course caused it to be knocked out of position. but if it's because you were tweaking the saddle before the race, and forgot to tighten the bolt (I've done it), then it's your own fault. but the officials would not rule a loose saddle as a mechanical, because of the rule book, and rule books are dumb objects that don't have the capacity to account for different circumstances. you'd think officials have that capacity but don't count on it.
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Old 04-30-18, 03:14 PM
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It was always my impression from what it looks like the rulebook says that free laps can be granted for mishaps outside of the riders control. It also seems like the only logical spirit of the rule. If you bay a brand new bike and adjust and tighten everything 100% perfect, would you be having the issue? If yes (and believable), free lap. I would not expect an official to believe that my saddle just loosened on it's own after being torqued properly, or that my chain jumped off with the derailleur adjusted perfectly and an unworn draivetrain. Sure, it COULD happen, but it's unlikely. I guess they technically should give a free lap for the chain thing cuz they can examine and verify. But then again one could easily abuse that and just take the chain off. The only way to fake a flat is to puncture it on purpose.
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Old 04-30-18, 03:43 PM
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a bike that's well adjusted isn't immune to mechanicals other than flat tires. yes, they're unlikely, but they could happen. and yea, a bike that's ACTUALLY poorly adjusted can be made to seem like a legit mechanical. it's a big grey area.
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Old 04-30-18, 03:49 PM
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I've heard more than one story of racers letting air out of their tires to ensure the free lap.
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Old 04-30-18, 06:15 PM
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Originally Posted by furiousferret View Post
I've heard more than one story of racers letting air out of their tires to ensure the free lap.
Any competent official pumps up flats to check they're legitimate. I've taken laps away when tires held air.

Also, the area isn't very grey at all. If something breaks, free lap. If nothing is broken, no free lap.
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Old 04-30-18, 11:20 PM
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Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
Any competent official pumps up flats to check they're legitimate. I've taken laps away when tires held air.

Also, the area isn't very grey at all. If something breaks, free lap. If nothing is broken, no free lap.
A dropped chain is a failure of an essential component. In some cases it is not user error and should be recognized based on my opinion of the rules (but is admittedly hard to verify). A broken cable doesn't warrant a free lap just cuz something broke. A broken cable means the race was started with a worn out cable.
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Old 05-01-18, 01:38 AM
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Originally Posted by topflightpro View Post
Per USAC Rulebook:

2B5. A legitimate fall, a puncture, or the breakage of an essential part of the bicycle shall be considered recognized mishaps. All others incidents are considered un-recognized mishaps.

and

Mishap: A crash or a mechanical accident (tire puncture or other failure of an essential component). However, a puncture caused by the tire coming off due to inadequate gluing is not a mechanical accident, nor is a malfunction due to miss-assembly or insufficient tightening of any component. A recognized mishap is a stoppage that meets the above conditions. An unrecognized mishap is a stoppage where the above conditions are not met. A broken toe strap or cleat is a mishap. A worn or misadjusted cleat or toe strap is not a mishap. If more than one toe strap is used on a pedal, breakage of one is considered a mishap. Any mishap not immediately inspected by an official is unrecognized.

Based on that, a loose saddle is not a legitimate mishap. Had the saddle bolt broken, it would have been.
This.

I'm glad there's a rule book, or this would be confusing and up for endless debate.
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Old 05-01-18, 06:56 AM
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Originally Posted by aaronmcd View Post
...based on my opinion of the rules ...
This isn't a debate. You've seen the black letter rules; I've told you how USAC officials (at least in my district) are trained to interpret them. You don't have to like them, but if you race in the U.S., this is the system you'll be racing under.
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Old 05-01-18, 07:05 AM
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Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
This isn't a debate. You've seen the black letter rules; I've told you how USAC officials (at least in my district) are trained to interpret them. You don't have to like them, but if you race in the U.S., this is the system you'll be racing under.
And that's the rub. Doge used to go on and on about this, but the rules aren't consistently applied. I agree that a dropped chain isn't a mechanical, but I've seen at least one person get a free lap for it. And when the rules aren't consistently applied, and racers don't read the full rule book, it creates confusion and anger - as is the case with Spec, who didn't get a free lap for a dropped chain.
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Old 05-01-18, 07:12 AM
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Originally Posted by topflightpro View Post
And that's the rub. Doge used to go on and on about this, but the rules aren't consistently applied. I agree that a dropped chain isn't a mechanical, but I've seen at least one person get a free lap for it. And when the rules aren't consistently applied, and racers don't read the full rule book, it creates confusion and anger - as is the case with Spec, who didn't get a free lap for a dropped chain.
Yes, officials make mistakes, but an official's error is not a precedent to rely on for a new interpretation of the rules. You're on much firmer ground understanding the correct interpretation and following it, than making up your own version and then arguing with the official that you're right and she's wrong.
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Old 05-01-18, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
This isn't a debate. You've seen the black letter rules; I've told you how USAC officials (at least in my district) are trained to interpret them. You don't have to like them, but if you race in the U.S., this is the system you'll be racing under.
yeah and the rules DON'T say "only flat tires or broken parts count as mishaps" unless I missed that part
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Old 05-01-18, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by aaronmcd View Post
yeah and the rules DON'T say "only flat tires or broken parts count as mishaps" unless I missed that part
That is almost exactly what the rule says. So yes, you missed it.
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Old 05-01-18, 09:57 AM
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I just love the fact that in 2018 they use toe straps as example, and couldn't be bothered to put in anything about electronic shifting.
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Old 05-01-18, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
Yes, officials make mistakes, but an official's error is not a precedent to rely on for a new interpretation of the rules. You're on much firmer ground understanding the correct interpretation and following it, than making up your own version and then arguing with the official that you're right and she's wrong.
I agree with your perspective, but when officials make these errors, they create the wrong impression among racers as to what really qualifies as a mechanical.

Originally Posted by asgelle View Post

That is almost exactly what the rule says. So yes, you missed it.
Yeah. It pretty much says anything that breaks is a mishap. Anything that doesn't break isn't.

Originally Posted by cold turtle View Post
I just love the fact that in 2018 they use toe straps as example, and couldn't be bothered to put in anything about electronic shifting.
The mishap example comes from the track racing section, where toe straps are still widely used and electronic shifting doesn't exist.
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Old 05-01-18, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by furiousferret View Post
I've heard more than one story of racers letting air out of their tires to ensure the free lap.
One rider that got caught doing in a Pro race this is apparently running for office in PA. The official in the pits (who happened to be the same official for my defunct race series for many years) pumped up the tire, totally fine. No free lap, disqualification or something like that.
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Old 05-01-18, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by asgelle View Post

That is almost exactly what the rule says. So yes, you missed it.
Any chance you could point me to it or quote it? Cuz I looked it up recently after spectastic's issue, and didn't see it. What topflightpro quoted said nothing of the sort. Where is it??

Re checked. Not in the road section nor in the definition of mishap. Failure of essential component not due to missassembly or insufficient tightening. This doesnt come close to implying something has to break.

Last edited by aaronmcd; 05-01-18 at 10:43 AM.
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Old 05-01-18, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by aaronmcd View Post
Any chance you could point me to it or quote it? Cuz I looked it up recently after spectastic's issue, and didn't see it. What topflightpro quoted said nothing of the sort. Where is it??
2B5. A legitimate fall, a puncture, or the breakage of an essential part of the bicycle shall be considered recognized mishaps. All others incidents are considered un-recognized mishaps.
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Old 05-01-18, 01:59 PM
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Originally Posted by asgelle View Post
2B5. A legitimate fall, a puncture, or the breakage of an essential part of the bicycle shall be considered recognized mishaps. All others incidents are considered un-recognized mishaps.
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Old 05-01-18, 04:19 PM
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basically what this discussion amounts to
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