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My first crit... My first crash.. Did I cause it?

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My first crit... My first crash.. Did I cause it?

Old 11-30-08, 04:24 AM
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beebleb
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My first crit... My first crash.. Did I cause it?

Hi all,

Well just to perpetuate yet another racing cliche; I crashed in my first crit

What I'd like to get an opinion on is whether it was my fault!

It happened in the straight section; about 25 minutes into it so far; everything going well; the pack wasn't surging much.

During a sudden acceleration on near the front third, I found myself moving up on the outside - Wanting to get back into pack, I spot an opening an starting moving in. Suddenly I feel someone pushing up on my left hand side, behind me. Bit more pressure for what feels like a second or so and then I'm down. I was moving from the outside (right side) inwards to the left. The fall happened with my back wheel sliding out to my right and me going down on my left. Left bartape ripped, left pedal scratched, most of my road rash on my left side etc.

I'm figuring that the gap I saw go closed out by someone rushing forward as I was going into it. I'm pretty certain I was ahead though.

So my fault? The other guys fault? We both acted like idiots?

My only goal for this race was not to be the moron who made every one crash on his first race! Looks like I didn't make it.
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Old 11-30-08, 06:15 AM
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Did you turn to see what or who was pushing on your hip?
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Old 11-30-08, 07:05 AM
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dude that was your fault ... sounds like you were shooting a gap that may have been there but you had no way to access it. don't think that guys will get out of your way to politely let you into a hole. if it were me and you were shooting a non-existent gap in front of me i would have been leaning up against you and yelling at you to hold your line. also it is not good form to come up the side of the pack then start trying to integrate yourself into the pack from the side. rather, go up the side to get to the front, take a pull or sit on the front for a minute then let the pack swallow you to where you want to be.

i am surprised someone didn't yell something at you.... did you look over your shoulder to see what was happing next to you? cripe man, you could have wipe out a bunch of dudes... take it easy out there.
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Old 11-30-08, 07:21 AM
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probably your fault. not because you went up the outside and wanted into a gap that you saw, nothing wrong with that if done properly, but rather because you haven't yet developed the skill of integrating back into the draft after getting out of it.

hope you and the others you caused to hit the deck are OK physically and equipment wise.
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Old 11-30-08, 09:08 AM
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Not necessarily. If your shoulders and arms (and hips) are in front of the other guy's bars, you "have position on him". It's dicey and will get you yelled at, but depending on relative speeds, the guy behind you can't call dibs on the empty space in front of him. He doesn't own it. If you get there first, it's yours.

It also depends on how abruptly you move into the hole. If you slam into it, that's called a "chop". Not cool.

But if you slid over into it at about the same speed that everyone else was going, it's just one of those things. "That's bike racing."

Last edited by EventServices; 11-30-08 at 09:08 AM. Reason: removing humor. It just wasn't funny enough.
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Old 11-30-08, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by beebleb View Post
Hi all,

Well just to perpetuate yet another racing cliche; I crashed in my first crit

What I'd like to get an opinion on is whether it was my fault!

It happened in the straight section; about 25 minutes into it so far; everything going well; the pack wasn't surging much.

During a sudden acceleration on near the front third, I found myself moving up on the outside - Wanting to get back into pack, I spot an opening an starting moving in. Suddenly I feel someone pushing up on my left hand side, behind me. Bit more pressure for what feels like a second or so and then I'm down. I was moving from the outside (right side) inwards to the left. The fall happened with my back wheel sliding out to my right and me going down on my left. Left bartape ripped, left pedal scratched, most of my road rash on my left side etc.

I'm figuring that the gap I saw go closed out by someone rushing forward as I was going into it. I'm pretty certain I was ahead though.

So my fault? The other guys fault? We both acted like idiots?

My only goal for this race was not to be the moron who made every one crash on his first race! Looks like I didn't make it.

I wouldn't really worry too much about whose fault it is. "Fault" really doesn't matters when you're sliding across the pavement. What matters is that you recognize what was going on immediately prior to your hitting the deck and adjust your actions accordingly next time. Seems like you've got a good handle on that.
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Old 11-30-08, 09:25 AM
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if you're not sure it probably was.
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Old 11-30-08, 10:02 AM
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Did you take a free lap and jump back in (not sure if that is a rule in OZ)? Unless less it is a really dangerous move, most of the time guys are not thinking who is at fault only about getting back in.
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Old 11-30-08, 10:10 AM
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unless you moved in on this guy and he had nowhere to go, it's not your fault. But, whether it was your intention or not, it is relatively aggressive riding that maybe you should stay away from until you've raced a couple more times.
I would still put the 'blame' on him though, simply because he's behind you. He should not have let the gap open in front of him and then close it when you tried to come in.
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Old 11-30-08, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by EventServices View Post
Not necessarily. If your shoulders and arms (and hips) are in front of the other guy's bars, you "have position on him". It's dicey and will get you yelled at, but depending on relative speeds, the guy behind you can't call dibs on the empty space in front of him. He doesn't own it. If you get there first, it's yours.

It also depends on how abruptly you move into the hole. If you slam into it, that's called a "chop". Not cool.

But if you slid over into it at about the same speed that everyone else was going, it's just one of those things. "That's bike racing."
+1, if you moved in slowly and indeed there was a gap. If so it sounds like the other guy was just trying to keep you out. Did any body else go down? If so was it the guy on your hip? If he went down and didn't yell or say anything to you after, he might be thinking it's his fault.
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Old 11-30-08, 12:03 PM
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It's hard to recreate an accident from a relatively inexperienced point of view (no offense intended - as a "first crit" post, to me that qualifies as relatively inexperienced). Other folks might have seen it differently - like "did you see that guy cut in from the right side?? He just flew across the road, slammed into so-and-so, and went down!".

Even though you say you felt the pressure behind, I have a feeling that you were probably very close to being next to the guy to your left, and if you came over "slowly", the guy probably thought he had the spot.

You ever try and walk across a dark room? You hold your hands out, shuffle your feet forward, and you use known landmarks to figure out where you are. When you nudge something, unless you know you have to move a box out of the way, you ease and find a different way around the obstacle.

In bike racing it's similar. If you are easing over into a blind area (and, from what I can tell, it seems like you weren't 100% aware of what was to your left) and you feel a nudge, you should ease. If the nudge goes away, keep going. If not, then find a different route. In very, very, very dicey situations I could see justification in pushing hard, but right now, off the top of my head, I can't think of one. Okay, if the guy was crashing and using you to stay upright, then you can push back.

Generally speaking contact of any heavy sort indicates poor riding. Even relatively light contact is not good. The exception is if you are riding in extreme tight quarters and you get brushed regularly on both the left and right sides. Then the contact is more like a brush, just enough to move your jersey but not enough to put pressure on your skin.

The fact that you went down (and not the other guy, at least not so I can tell) means that you were probably at fault. It's unusual for the guy in front to go down (except Julian Dean leading out Thor, but that was a crazy tip over). I'm glad you're relatively okay, ditto your bike. You're fit so that's good, just focus a bit on the group riding thing.

hope this helps,
cdr
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Old 11-30-08, 12:22 PM
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What concerns me is what exactly made _you_ go down, if all the commotion was behind you.

See if you can figure that out. Normally, a little pressure on your hip, or even a rider falling across your back wheel from an overlap, shouldn't make you go down.

Get with your buddies at a soccer field and do laps around the pitch in a low/easy gear, and practice bumping and leaning on each other. If you stay relaxed and maintain control over your front wheel, you can really absorb a big hit.

And +1 on the advice above - understand the difference between drifting into a hole, vs diving into it. Drifting is ok, diving is not.
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Old 11-30-08, 12:26 PM
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It depends on ho big the gap was. Was there enough room for your whole bike to slot in or where you still half-wheeling the guy behind. If this was the cas then he probably couldnt do much about it if it was a large pack.
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Old 11-30-08, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by beebleb View Post
Hi all,

Well just to perpetuate yet another racing cliche; I crashed in my first crit

What I'd like to get an opinion on is whether it was my fault!

It happened in the straight section; about 25 minutes into it so far; everything going well; the pack wasn't surging much.

During a sudden acceleration on near the front third, I found myself moving up on the outside - Wanting to get back into pack, I spot an opening an starting moving in. Suddenly I feel someone pushing up on my left hand side, behind me. Bit more pressure for what feels like a second or so and then I'm down. I was moving from the outside (right side) inwards to the left. The fall happened with my back wheel sliding out to my right and me going down on my left. Left bartape ripped, left pedal scratched, most of my road rash on my left side etc.

I'm figuring that the gap I saw go closed out by someone rushing forward as I was going into it. I'm pretty certain I was ahead though.

So my fault? The other guys fault? We both acted like idiots?

My only goal for this race was not to be the moron who made every one crash on his first race! Looks like I didn't make it.
My first inclination is to say that it was probably your fault, but I started to think: what if I was the guy you were moving in on? If I saw a rider surging up the outside, Id most likely think "okay, he's trying to improve his position and get in line again." So, depending on the stage of the race (if it was "critical" moment or not) I might soft-pedal and let the gap open a bit more to let him in. However, if it's toward the end, it's unlikely that I'd let him in. But, if it was a critical moment in the race, the pack would most likely be at speed, and I'd NEVER remove my hands for the bars in that situation. If he was about to chop my front wheel, I might yell some obscenity, and if he insisted, I'd slow down and let him in and then yell But I'd pretty much keep my hands to myself.

Anyway, that's an ify call, and you're in the best position to make it. Some guys are just a'holes and would rather cause a crash than let someone back inline. But, I do remember that when I was racing, the race official would ALWAYS tell us 4s to keep our hands on the bars at all times. But I did push one (nervous looking) rider once. He didn't fall, I just helped continue on his way up the pack by pushing him on his lower back forward. The rider at my 5 o'clock thanked me; I was just relieved that the guy didn't touch my (or the other guys next to him) bars. That is one situation where I'd gladly break the "hands to oneself" rule again.

Just keep racing, and let people know you want in. You might be surprised at what letting people know your intentions are and asking nicely will get you.
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Old 11-30-08, 01:27 PM
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I blame myself.
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Old 11-30-08, 02:07 PM
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I find that if you think its you're at fault, yell and scream irrationally at the guy and place doubt in his mind. In a few minutes he'll apologize to you. It also helps to sound like you actually know something about cycling. Just toss in big words like q-factor and w/kg.
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Old 11-30-08, 03:13 PM
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i am surprised that you went down and the guy behind you didn't. i tend to think that it is the other guy's job to allow you to integrate, and your job to stay upright if he doesn't.
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Old 11-30-08, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by fly:yes/land:no View Post
i am surprised that you went down and the guy behind you didn't.
x2
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Old 11-30-08, 03:32 PM
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Hard to tell if it's "your fault". You most likely had "position", but that doesn't help you when you're on the ground/out of a race. They don't even list "but he had position" on the results.

In general - without knowing the setup - if you feel someone's hand on your side you can bet tht there is someone there (genius, I know) and that odds are they are telling you they are there because they have no intention of moving.

Chopping him or continuing to move in on him will result in something spectacular. You ended up on the receiving end. I am sure he didn't go down because it sounds like he pushed you over as you started to come in.

In general just ride heads-up. Read the road and the pack. Don't be that guy yelling "outside!" If you're going to commit to a move and you are in the right (have position) then be sure you know what the consequences are (we all have lives outside of racing) and can hold your ground if need be.

If you have to let the gap go and then are pushed out only to try to latch back on to the back of the group....well....that's better than being out of the race. Experience will teach you how to move up/in.
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Old 11-30-08, 04:27 PM
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Yup. I'm leaning towards it being either entirely my fault, or entirely within my control to have avoided (if I wasn't such a newb). When I saw I felt someone pushing on my left though, I think I was more like somebody's shoulder, not any actual hand pushing me aside.

+1 on "either way it was an aggressive maneuver", it was exactly the thing I was supposed to avoid (last thing I told my wife was that I'd "ride safe") being a newb; just got sucked in with the big push and by the fact that my legs felt good.

Oh well, hopefully my next race report will be a bit more productive
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Old 12-02-08, 04:45 AM
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Hope you didn't get beat up too much and you can learn something for the next race. Obviously, if the guy that's supposed to be behind you as you pull back into the pack can touch your hip, he's really not behind you and you can possibly take out his front-wheel.

A better strategy to blending back in is to match speeds. Rather than dive in from behind at a faster speed, practice "backing in" to the spot you want. Overshoot it slightly and gently slow down. Then stick your rear-wheel into the gap and back up. This effectively puts you out of reach of the guy behind you. And do it slowly enough so the guy behind you and all the ones behind him, time to back off a bit.

You get the spot you want, and stay untouchable at the same time.
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Old 12-02-08, 08:37 AM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by EventServices View Post
Not necessarily. If your shoulders and arms (and hips) are in front of the other guy's bars, you "have position on him". It's dicey and will get you yelled at, but depending on relative speeds, the guy behind you can't call dibs on the empty space in front of him. He doesn't own it. If you get there first, it's yours.

It also depends on how abruptly you move into the hole. If you slam into it, that's called a "chop". Not cool.

But if you slid over into it at about the same speed that everyone else was going, it's just one of those things. "That's bike racing."
Agreed, however, the fact that the OP went down indicates to me that he may not have actually been in front of the guy. If you've gotten your hips past the other guys bars, it usually the guy behind who goes down, and therefore, as a practical matter, its the guy behind who is obliged to back off.
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Old 12-02-08, 08:39 AM
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One other point, work on dealing with contact without going down. If you ride with a loose upper body, elbows flexed, and don't panic when you get bumped, its much easier to stay upright.

Practicing bumping with friends, teammates in a grass field helps with this.
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Old 12-02-08, 09:34 AM
  #24  
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Fault is a strong word. I don't think you did anything necessarily wrong; even in my first race, there was a little bumping going on. It shouldn't be habitual, but some contact is always a possibility and you need to know how to deal with it.

If anything, you can say that you are "at fault" for falling due to a bump that shouldn't have made you fall. You should get used to some contact in the pack without falling. It was a guy like you (in that a little bump led him to yardsale the bike) that caused my second big crash of the year last season on the track (I was about a bike length or two back and we were going a good 25-30mph on track bikes). You went for a gap and the guy behind you should have seen your move; by attempting to close you out, he invited the bump. But feeling the bump you should have backed off the pressure, held position, and allowed the guy time to back out. Generally the guy in front has control and nobody will tell you to give up your ground. All you have to do is stop moving laterally and hold your position. Everything has to move slowly and deliberately.

Don't be afraid to get back out there and race. All racers will crash eventually, and fault is usually left unassigned. We all make mistakes and especially given that your mistake merely took yourself out of the race (it appears anyway), nobody's going to make you a pariah.
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Old 12-02-08, 11:32 AM
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Great drill to work on:
lean against your riding partner while riding. Like the scene in American Flyers. Put your shoulder into him and try to push him off the road. He should push back. The tricky part is disengaging. Practice it. It's a skill you'll need someday.

Then, try it in a race. It's a great prank to pull on the field. Helps if one of you screams like a girl. Great fun!
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