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Caused a crash... have I done everything I can to remedy?

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Caused a crash... have I done everything I can to remedy?

Old 08-29-06, 07:28 PM
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keevohn
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Caused a crash... have I done everything I can to remedy?

All -

As a Cat 5 who's been riding seriously for the past few years but only racing this past season, I thought I'd never find myself in this situation. But I have.

At tonight's Cat 4/5 crit down at the Washington oval in Pittsburgh, I found myself in what I thought to be pretty good position coming into the last lap. The oval is a pseudo-drome: half mile in length, asphalt surface, banked corners, painted lines, but this series is a geared road bike event. Anyway, coming out of the last curve I was on the inside line immediately behind one rider. As other riders split off to the right to sprint, this racer held the inside white line and began his sprint at the same time that I did. Figuring he'd split off to the right as well, I kept on his wheel. However, with about 50 meters left I was boxed in and putting more power into the pedals than he was, causing me to come up quickly on his wheel. I veered to the inside of the white line (my cardinal sin) without thinking and proceeded to resume my sprint there. With the asphalt berm being only a foot and a half wide it was ridiculously narrow, but for some reason I kept powering forward and edged by the rider right before the line. However, he wasn't expecting anyone to be to his left (for damn good reason) and leaned into me. We touched bars, I went careening off the course at 30 mph and slid down a grassy hill and he went down at the top of the hill, presumably into the grass as well.

Thankfully, both of us are physically alright. Sliding down the grass only gave me a few cuts and abrasions and I think that he sustained slightly worse cuts, although nothing serious. My bike is fine, his seems to have a snapped front derailleur. We were both up and moving quickly after the crash and I went right up to him to admit my blame and apologize as best as I could. I immediately knew I was in the wrong and I still feel sheepish about having attempted such a boneheaded move, one that could have resulted in a much, much worse outcome. He was visibly (and understandably) upset right after the incident, but seemed to calm down pretty quickly afterwards and was willing to talk to me. After a couple of minutes I asked again if he was OK, apologized profusely, and offered to compensate him for any repairs/replacements that needed to happen to his bike. I left him my name and phone number for when he finds out the extent of the damage.

My question is: have I done everything I can to remedy this situation that I have caused? Can I do anything else for the rider to make up for my poor judgement? One thing I certainly don't want is to be viewed as a dangerous racer in the Pittsburgh scene, especially since I recently moved here and am very interested in continuing to race and ride with many of the same people that were out tonight. I realize that mistakes happen, especially in Cat 4/5 races, but right now I don't take any consolation from that fact.

Any advice, war stories, or floggings would be appreciated.
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Old 08-29-06, 07:58 PM
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Not consolation but as you've said lots of crashes in Cat.5. I'd bet most of them people just walk away mumbling about "some #%@&ing jerk." You at least admitted wrong and offered to compensate.

Since you can't travel time and change your decisions (boy wouldn't THAT be great) you've done about all that can be done.



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Old 08-29-06, 08:51 PM
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offering to pay for his gear is a step beyond anything I've seen in any crashes. nice touch
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Old 08-29-06, 09:29 PM
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Geez....


Don't expect anyone to put their hand in their pocket when it's you that goes flying.
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Old 08-29-06, 09:55 PM
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Without actually seeing a video it's hard to say. There's bonehead moves and then there's dangerous moves. I'm sure you've seen Robbie McEwen squeeze into some pretty tight spots during sprints. However, at the 4/5 level when you're racing for $50, if you're lucky, there's no reason for it I guess. Sounds like you did everything you could and offering to pay for parts is going above and beyond.

This last Sunday I was watching a Masters 40+ crit. Four guys were off the front in a breakaway, two of which were racing for the series points title. It came down to these two guys sprinting for the line. One guy came around the other guy on the right in the last 20 yards where there was really no room. However, instead of curbing and a hill there were cones. This guy actually ran over, or through, 3 large cones and the two were banging each other pretty good. They nearly went down and came really close into taking out some spectators!! Luckily, neither crashed and nobody got hurt. Sounds similar to what you described.
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Old 08-30-06, 06:02 AM
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Without seeing your finish for myself, it's hard to evaluate "fault".

But in general terms, sprint finishes are a mad dash for the line and a certain amount of erratic riding is to be expected. When someone is going as hard as possible he's unlikely to be smooth, straight, and 100% under control. Cram 10+ riders into a sprint finish where all of them are throwing their bikes side-to-side, drifting left or right or both ways, and you have a very exciting (to spectators) race finish.

If I were the other rider I would have had every reason to expect someone to be coming hard on my left and on my right, and up my a$$ as well for that matter. (Not so, though, if we were bringing up the rear and "sprinting" for 15th place or something. Then it's time for waiving the white flag and not risking life or limb for a meaningless result).

Anyway, my point is that if there was room for you to pass on his left, and you managed to do so without making contact, and you held your line, and he leaned into you, he's the one at fault, not you.

My .02

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Old 08-30-06, 09:45 AM
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^ Agree. I don't think you did anything wrong. If you were holding a straight line and he moved over into you, its his fault, not yours. Thats racing!
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Old 08-30-06, 10:00 AM
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'We touched bars' ... If you got all the way up beside him before any contact was made, there's no way you did anything wrong. The fact that you spooked him is just a Cat 5 thing, everyone that's been doing this for any length of time knows that in a sprint finish if you leave a gap, someone will fill it. Sprinting is a contact sport, as long as you hold your line and don't do anything to cause another rider to have to 'check up' you're fine. There is almost always some bumping when riders are going for position, but hey 'rubbin is racin' right?
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Old 08-30-06, 10:40 AM
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While I appreciate what the last few posters have said, and I would agree with them under normal circumstances, this course is a bit different.

As I mentioned, it is a paved oval with banked turns similar to a velodrome, but longer in length. Like a velodrome, there is a line painted on the inside edge (similar to the 'black line' on a wood track) about 18" from the edge of the asphalt, after which there is the grass of the infield. On the final sprint up the staightaway I was actually inside this line, riding between the line and the grass, which is an immediate disqualification (as I found out soon after). I squeezed by the rider in question, who was pretty much holding the painted line, right at the finish. It was there that he leaned, I got bumped, and things went haywire. He had every reason to expect nobody to be taking the line that I did, because doing so was an immediate DQ... not to mention dangerous and stupid.
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Old 08-30-06, 12:51 PM
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Other than not riding where you weren't supposed to (lesson learned) another thing you could do to help avoid this is to ride with your elbows slightly splayed, and loose when you're in tight quarters. Slightly wide helps avoid hitting handlebars, and loose helps you adjust to the inevitable bumping. See Event Service's thread on bumping.
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Old 08-30-06, 12:52 PM
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Did you get DQ'd? If not what ever works, works. Both of you should have been able to handle a fair bit of contact before careening off course. Expect it and be ready next time. Quit beating yourself up. Racing is racing and crap happens. You have got to have a the attitude that you own the road and your line, you fought for it so protect it , give it up to no one. Otherwise be prepared to be bullied by every agressive rider out there. And in a race I dont expect "no one" to do anything. You never know what some knucklehead will come up with next. Another thought, you could have yelled "left" when you were starting your pass but he probably would have moved left to block you.
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Old 08-30-06, 02:01 PM
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Getting boxed in during a sprint happens often. It is luck and you need to chalk it up to bad luck. Sounds like if he would have drifted to the right you had the winning move. Since that did not happen you were out of luck. You should not try to go somewhere wear there is not room or outside the yellow line. In my racing regoin, we have lost races solely because people did not following the yellow line rule. You will or may have a rep as a dangerous rider. There is nothing you can do now. If you want to re-earn this guy's respect maybe you could lead him out in the next sprint an sacrifice yourself. All this Robbie McEwen talk by other posters is dangerous and scary. IMO bike racers need to have humility and a great deal of respect for other riders. It is truly a fraternity. This is a part time sport for almost everyone. We need to be able to have any expectation that other riders are safe and know what they are doing. you cannot get caught up in the moment. If you were in our training race you could have been banned. Do not listen to these guys that say you did nothing wrong. You did something very dangerous to the well being of other riders. But to answer your questions. There is nothing you can do now. I think you have learned the most valueable lesson and that is humility. Do not loose your motiviation. Everyone on this board that races has made mistakes. If I could leave you with anything - it is there is luck in sprinting. Even if one person is the smartest and strongest, due to luck they could not win many sprints. Sprints are finesse as much as strength. One cannot have a football fullback mentally to sprinting. You cannot bull your way to victory every time.. It is dangerous riding. You are going to hurt yourself. Hurt other people and risk losing your liscense.
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Old 08-30-06, 02:24 PM
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one thing i learned from this thread is that robbie mccwen is no role model for newbies!
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Old 08-30-06, 02:26 PM
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Skuda -

Points well taken. I think that is what I needed to hear.
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Old 08-30-06, 02:33 PM
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Just one more thing - "get back on the horse dude". I have made many mistakes. I have been racing every year since 1989. I am lucky - I am on a great team. In my opinion, the best cyclist are always trying to learn new things. We have many great pros where I live who are always encouraging people to keep going and learn form it. We are all behind you. Get back in there and win it next time. Sounds like you are due for some good luck in your next sprint!!!!
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Old 08-30-06, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by keevohn
All -

As a Cat 5 who's been riding seriously for the past few years but only racing this past season, I thought I'd never find myself in this situation. But I have.

At tonight's Cat 4/5 crit down at the Washington oval in Pittsburgh, I found myself in what I thought to be pretty good position coming into the last lap. The oval is a pseudo-drome: half mile in length, asphalt surface, banked corners, painted lines, but this series is a geared road bike event. Anyway, coming out of the last curve I was on the inside line immediately behind one rider. As other riders split off to the right to sprint, this racer held the inside white line and began his sprint at the same time that I did. Figuring he'd split off to the right as well, I kept on his wheel. However, with about 50 meters left I was boxed in and putting more power into the pedals than he was, causing me to come up quickly on his wheel. I veered to the inside of the white line (my cardinal sin) without thinking and proceeded to resume my sprint there. With the asphalt berm being only a foot and a half wide it was ridiculously narrow, but for some reason I kept powering forward and edged by the rider right before the line. However, he wasn't expecting anyone to be to his left (for damn good reason) and leaned into me. We touched bars, I went careening off the course at 30 mph and slid down a grassy hill and he went down at the top of the hill, presumably into the grass as well.

Thankfully, both of us are physically alright. Sliding down the grass only gave me a few cuts and abrasions and I think that he sustained slightly worse cuts, although nothing serious. My bike is fine, his seems to have a snapped front derailleur. We were both up and moving quickly after the crash and I went right up to him to admit my blame and apologize as best as I could. I immediately knew I was in the wrong and I still feel sheepish about having attempted such a boneheaded move, one that could have resulted in a much, much worse outcome. He was visibly (and understandably) upset right after the incident, but seemed to calm down pretty quickly afterwards and was willing to talk to me. After a couple of minutes I asked again if he was OK, apologized profusely, and offered to compensate him for any repairs/replacements that needed to happen to his bike. I left him my name and phone number for when he finds out the extent of the damage.

My question is: have I done everything I can to remedy this situation that I have caused? Can I do anything else for the rider to make up for my poor judgement? One thing I certainly don't want is to be viewed as a dangerous racer in the Pittsburgh scene, especially since I recently moved here and am very interested in continuing to race and ride with many of the same people that were out tonight. I realize that mistakes happen, especially in Cat 4/5 races, but right now I don't take any consolation from that fact.

Any advice, war stories, or floggings would be appreciated.
I may take back what I wrote before. Was there a rule in place that you could not go inside the white line? If so, then definitely your fault.

If not, I stand by my opinion and would add that you should be pissed at him for crashing you since you held you line and he moved into you.
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Old 08-30-06, 09:49 PM
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3Rensho -

As I understand the rule, going inside the white line on a sprint lap is grounds for a DQ. However, on normal laps going inside the white line is OK, provided it's for a brief period of time. I was not aware of the DQ rule until after the fact, but did vaguely think "this may be a bad idea" as I was tearing up the berm during the sprint.

Ignorance, however, is never a valid excuse. Lesson learned.
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Old 08-31-06, 02:36 AM
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Originally Posted by keevohn
However, he wasn't expecting anyone to be to his left (for damn good reason) and leaned into me. We touched bars, I went careening off the course
like others have already posted - if he leaned in, then game over.

kind of reminds me of a sprint finish i had in a RR. i was sprinting for what turned out to be 7th place. points are points when you want to upgrade, right?

i was sprinting on the right gutter, and was about to pass a guy on my left. he must have seen me, because he tried closing the door, just as i pulled along.

then the jerk goes all abdoujaparov. he knocks into me, trying to push me off the road. then he checked into me again. then he tried it a third time, but i managed to get past him. as i crossed the line i heard the sound of scraping metal.

a few minutes passed, and then my name was called on the PA, asking me to check in with the judges. i was sh!tt!ng myself, paranoid that they were going to DQ me. turned out they couldn't see my full number on the video and wanted to confirm it was me.

so, i ended up with 7th place and the bozo ended up in the showers washing road rash from his face down to his ass.

it was a good day
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Old 08-31-06, 04:40 AM
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Originally Posted by keevohn
While I appreciate what the last few posters have said, and I would agree with them under normal circumstances, this course is a bit different.

On the final sprint up the staightaway I was actually inside this line, riding between the line and the grass, which is an immediate disqualification (as I found out soon after).
Why do I feel as though we've been set up.....

Original Post Summary: "We were in the final sprint. I squeezed through on this guy's left side and passed him at the line. I was holding my line. He leaned over and made contact with me causing us to crash. I feel bad because I'm sure this was my fault."

Summary of Several Responses: "Don't feel bad. If you were holding your line, and you did not initiate the contact, it's NOT your fault".

OP's Post-Script: "Would it change things if I told you that in passing him on the left I violated a white-line rule which resulted in an immediate disqualification?"

Well DUH!!!!

Neglecting to mention critical facts when posting a question on these boards should result in an immediate disqualification from posting.

Bob
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Old 08-31-06, 07:30 AM
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Originally Posted by Bobby Lex
Why do I feel as though we've been set up.....

Original Post Summary: "We were in the final sprint. I squeezed through on this guy's left side and passed him at the line. I was holding my line. He leaned over and made contact with me causing us to crash. I feel bad because I'm sure this was my fault."

Summary of Several Responses: "Don't feel bad. If you were holding your line, and you did not initiate the contact, it's NOT your fault".
I'm sorry you feel set up, but your paraphrase of my initial post twists what I was saying to make it seem like I was complaining and trying to pass the blame. While I didn't explicitly mention the white-line DQ rule (unintentionally, I might add), I thought it was pretty obvious in the context.

Also, it wasn't until your initial post in this thread that the "it was his fault" statements started flying. You were the first person to suggest this, and several people latched on.

Originally Posted by Bobby Lex
OP's Post-Script: "Would it change things if I told you that in passing him on the left I violated a white-line rule which resulted in an immediate disqualification?"
As soon as I realized that several posters had misinterpreted what I wrote, I tried to clarify the situation. Again, your paraphrase misrepresents my intentions.

Besides, the point of this thread was never to establish blame. I'm well aware of who was at fault: me. The point was to make sure I hadn't overlooked any post-crash etiquette and to try and get a sense of what others have done in a similar situation, because you don't often hear about crashes from anyone other than the 'victims'.

Originally Posted by Bobby Lex
Well DUH!!!!

Neglecting to mention critical facts when posting a question on these boards should result in an immediate disqualification from posting.

Bob
Absolutely unnecessary.
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Old 08-31-06, 02:35 PM
  #21  
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on sunday, I could have become the NJ state crit champion, BUT I freakin got blocked in by someone who couldnt go any faster, meanwhile im behind him with all this power built up and ready to burst. I couldnt get around him, and decided ok, play it safe just roll through. I came out in 9th, very dissapointed that this ******* barely even sprinted and ruined my chances for a medal. Im still ticked off, if your not going to sprint, dont be in the front on the last stretch.
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Old 08-31-06, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by nickmaimone
on sunday, I could have become the NJ state crit champion, BUT I freakin got blocked in by someone who couldnt go any faster, meanwhile im behind him with all this power built up and ready to burst. I couldnt get around him, and decided ok, play it safe just roll through. I came out in 9th, very dissapointed that this ******* barely even sprinted and ruined my chances for a medal. Im still ticked off, if your not going to sprint, dont be in the front on the last stretch.
Part of bike racing is picking your wheel. and perhaps he'd already done his leadout for his teammate?
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Old 08-31-06, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by nickmaimone
if your not going to sprint, dont be in the front on the last stretch.

Shouldn't it be more like, "If you want to win, don't let a guy like this get in front of you before the sprint"?

-D
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Old 08-31-06, 04:32 PM
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go to any bike race and 15 guys will tell you they could have won if only they weren't boxed in. it's tough but you gotta find a way through, that's just part of it.
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Old 09-02-06, 04:18 AM
  #25  
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Lower category racing...

Not too long ago, there was a race in the midwest where there was a serious accident at the finish. Too many guys into too small a space and add to that the existence of cars near the finish. From what I gather from reading the story, somehow one of the sprinters going for the finish crashed and hit a car. He broke his neck. He is now paralyzed. Professionally, he is a HS teacher and track coach. I understand he will most likely live the rest of his life in a wheelchair with many months of rehab. All for a CAT III race for probably a $50 gift certificate.

Here's my point...I read these threads on guys crashing and taking huge risks...I was fortunate to race on a sponsored team with insurance that would have covered me if I was seriously injured.

You guys are racing for fun and recreation.

...and have to go to work on Monday...please take care of yourselves.

I watched a CAT IV race recently, and the guys are sprinting for the line, like 10 of them, all with their heads down. I could not believe it. Guess what happened???

Last edited by roadwarrior; 09-02-06 at 04:24 AM.
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