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Pack skills and testicle size.

Old 04-25-10, 10:13 PM
  #1  
DrWJODonnell
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Pack skills and testicle size.

Ok, not sure why I called it that, and mods can alter as necessary, but in reading some of your responses to the "hip touch" I wanted to find out what kind of people you are.

Let me explain.

I am comfortable in the pack. I don't mind riding shoulder to shoulder. I don't mind bumping thighs, and I will put my elbows out to protect my bars occasionally. I usually follow 6 to 18 inches behind the wheel of the rider in front of me. I look up the road, and I chat with other riders. if someone wants to get in in front of me, I almost always let them, and certainly if they ask kindly. I occasionally give a push to someone on a climb. I do not often fight for a space. If someone wants it that badly, I am fine with giving it to them. This is a hobby for me.

I don't mind it when someone tells me "on your right" when they are trying to scoot up the right side. I am not bothered when someone places a hand on my back or my butt.

Having said this, I do not move up THROUGH the pack well. I have witnessed Jelly Belly pro Jacob Rathe do this time and time again. Just sliding up through the pack like it was not there. He shoots for a spot, flares his elbows to create the space, leans, whatever it takes. My guess is this is like a lot of pros do it. It is not how I work.

I also find that in descending, I don't mind letting a gap open in front of me, and I was seriously uncomfortable descending at nearly 50mph in the pack this weekend and while I descend quickly, people were still willing to come around me to fill the gap that I left. In other words, I am a poo-see.

To those of you who don't like contact in the pack, I can understand it, and while it doesn't bother me, I can see how it could bother others. What I want to know is, what kind of pack rider are you? Is there some relationship between aggressive or ballsy pack riders and the no touch/get your own wheel/I will descend at life threatening speeds without the slightest worry type of rider, or are the no touch/get your own wheel riders actually less comfortable in the pack and so less likely to want to be bothered by anyone or to help anyone?
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Old 04-25-10, 10:16 PM
  #2  
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Do you mean you have to have big balls to be good in bed, I mean the pack? Just think to yourself, Get the F outta my way or I'll pull a United-Health Care move on you!*

I noticed I move up on the sides a lot. I am just like you.
If you want respect, you have to demand it, so do that in the pack.

Originally Posted by DrWJODonnell View Post
I am not bothered when someone places a hand on my butt.
lol










*See the thread where a UHC rider intentionally crashes world renown racer Rahsaan Bahati.

Last edited by Caad 8; 05-01-10 at 06:34 PM.
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Old 04-25-10, 11:13 PM
  #3  
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can you push me up the hill?


seriously though, if someone is hurting and they're not on your team you give 'em a little push? Can I make a sign on my back asking for this help?


also, I move up through the pack reasonably well, but I'm a 4, and wouldn't say I'm experienced enough to know really wtf i'm talking about
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Old 04-25-10, 11:22 PM
  #4  
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Not sure how you're asking what you're asking....

I am comfortable touching and being touched in the pack. We have no descents here. Others in the pack scare the begesus out of me when we do start gaining speed in some of the small descents we've been in (around 40 mph) - not because I mind being in close proximity, but because they visibly become tense and a little more squirrely.

I don't aggressively open spots in the pack, but I can move up through the middle. I have hand checked riders and pushed them left or right depending on where I want to open a gap. Never at the risk of putting them into anyone else just more in the spirit of "hey you have room over there...go fill it and I'm going to sit right here."

I tried to stop doing that stuff by making myself turn my hand checks into "hey I'm here" touches. I turned my hand around to do this so I am touching the other rider's hip bone with the back of my hand. Then I found I still push them a bit at the end of the tap.

I don't know...guess this is what you do when you have poor fitness, are pack fodder, and it's always flat 4 corner crits. If it weren't for position I don't have anything.

FWIW - I'm told I have huge testicles. Just to stick with the theme of the thread....
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Old 04-26-10, 12:08 AM
  #5  
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Originally Posted by DrWJODonnell View Post
I am comfortable in the pack. I don't mind riding shoulder to shoulder. I don't mind bumping thighs, and I will put my elbows out to protect my bars occasionally.
I am pretty comfortable in the pack, but I don't particularly like bumping and rubbing. I tend to back way off when something happens or is about to happen. Today I was at the front of the pack coming around the s/f and they rang the bell for a prime, a bunch of guys attacked and one cut right across my front wheel, brushed it and knocked it sidewise. It wobbled a bit, my elbows banged me knees a few times, but I recovered. I had my helmet cam on and watching the video you can't even see the movement (you can't see the bike in the video), but it sketched me out a bit and I kind of just sat in the next lap to regain my nerves, losing all of my position.

Originally Posted by DrWJODonnell View Post
I usually follow 6 to 18 inches behind the wheel of the rider in front of me. I look up the road, and I chat with other riders. if someone wants to get in in front of me, I almost always let them, and certainly if they ask kindly.
Me too.

Originally Posted by DrWJODonnell View Post
I occasionally give a push to someone on a climb.
I don't have power to spare on a climb. You're on your own if you are stuggling buddy.

Originally Posted by DrWJODonnell View Post
I do not often fight for a space. If someone wants it that badly, I am fine with giving it to them. This is a hobby for me.
Likewise.

Originally Posted by DrWJODonnell View Post
I don't mind it when someone tells me "on your right" when they are trying to scoot up the right side. I am not bothered when someone places a hand on my back or my butt.
Same.

Originally Posted by DrWJODonnell View Post
Having said this, I do not move up THROUGH the pack well. I have witnessed Jelly Belly pro Jacob Rathe do this time and time again. Just sliding up through the pack like it was not there. He shoots for a spot, flares his elbows to create the space, leans, whatever it takes. My guess is this is like a lot of pros do it. It is not how I work.
I can move up through the middle if I make an effort but generally I prefer to just scoot up the side. Today though I watched my teammate just fish his way right to the front.

Originally Posted by DrWJODonnell View Post
I also find that in descending, I don't mind letting a gap open in front of me, and I was seriously uncomfortable descending at nearly 50mph in the pack this weekend and while I descend quickly, people were still willing to come around me to fill the gap that I left. In other words, I am a poo-see.
You and me both.

Originally Posted by DrWJODonnell View Post
To those of you who don't like contact in the pack, I can understand it, and while it doesn't bother me, I can see how it could bother others. What I want to know is, what kind of pack rider are you? Is there some relationship between aggressive or ballsy pack riders and the no touch/get your own wheel/I will descend at life threatening speeds without the slightest worry type of rider, or are the no touch/get your own wheel riders actually less comfortable in the pack and so less likely to want to be bothered by anyone or to help anyone?
I am definitely not an agressive crit rider. I almost always come out of a crit thinking I could have worked harder if I just was a little more agressive and could hold my position better, especially in the corners. But I don't mind a little contact, touching to signal or assist. I think you and I think similarly on this issue.

Originally Posted by kudude View Post
seriously though, if someone is hurting and they're not on your team you give 'em a little push? Can I make a sign on my back asking for this help?
Not supposed to but people do it. Saw that today also.
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Old 04-26-10, 04:14 AM
  #6  
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Originally Posted by DrWJODonnell View Post
Ok, not sure why I called it that
you're not alone.
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Old 04-26-10, 04:45 AM
  #7  
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If I see a hole, I fill it.
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Old 04-26-10, 05:18 AM
  #8  
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Originally Posted by DrWJODonnell View Post
This is a hobby for me.
I don't know, my friend. I think that's a veiled slight at those who ride different. It is not just a hobby for you. That's a BS line you feed yourself. I could say the same about owning multiple TT wheels or spending tunnel time. "No way, man, it's a hobby for me." That isn't to say you should fight for the space. I can say much fighting goes for my wheel setting up for a sprint, and yesterday in the 1,2 race I was looking to stay connected to a particular wheel as was everyone else. In the end I lost the wheel. Was it because it's just a hobby? No. I pussied out and convinced myself I didn't need it. Nothing bad happened to the guy who held the wheel. The truth is rarely does someone not back off. In fact, more often than not I get the wheel simply because I tell the other guy I'm keeping the wheel. I, of course, don't always get or keep the wheel. Usually though I decide to give it up because the mental and physical energy being exerted to fight over it is detrimental to the goal of being fresh, in position, and winning. We all have our skillsets. Your's is being aero and hammering hard. Mine is being strong enough and astute enough to hold position at the end of the race. Perhaps if you ride my race you lose, and if I ride your's I lose. Gotta work your weaknesses and race to your strengths.
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Old 04-26-10, 07:00 AM
  #9  
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I discovered last season how I just don't have that sprinter's killer instinct. At the end of a couple races, in the final 200m, I didn't fill a hole that I probably should have, just as someone else filled it. There's something about having all the power down, out of the saddle, where I just don't feel comfortable adding the complexity of fighting for position. I pretty much whimp out, and I think that's one reason I can have a 1600W+ 5" power and get a bunch of 3rd places in bunch sprints.

Two notes on that:
-My Ritchey and my Madone were both pretty flexy between the head and seat tubes (about the same for each). I liked the feel of that, like playing basketball on a wood floor, but I'm now pretty sure that it killed my full-power bike handling. All the power was there (as shown by the PowerTap), but the confidence was not. It took me about a full month to get used to how torsionally stiff my Fuji SST is. It didn't feel right out of the saddle. Like I was riding a spin bike or something. Just weird. I've since learned how to launch out of the saddle on it with a good swing, and I've realized how the Madone and Ritchey were probably holding me back. 50 mph in a sweeping descent curve at over 600W and the bike tracks precisely where I'm aiming. This will help in sprints this season. I see the light.
-I also found that when I went from sprinter to kilo-guy, it relieved a lot of the pressure for me. The power profile lines up better with that type of racing. Since I have a better chance of winning from a kilo out anyway, why bother fighting for a sprint in the last 200m? Well I'll continue to improve there this season and see what I can make of it.
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Old 04-26-10, 07:14 AM
  #10  
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I don't mind contact in the pack, though it doesn't happen very often in the 4s. I DO mind someone putting their hand on my hip, because it's generally some bozo trying to show off, not actually an effective means of communicating anything.
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Old 04-26-10, 07:17 AM
  #11  
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being a new cat 2, i feel like i'm starting racing all over again. i've done alot of 30+/35+ racing in the past and while those races are filled with 1s and 2s, and very fast, they are not nearly as aggressive as the big boy race. i've always counted pack navigation and positioning as a big strength. but, i've observed that moving around in the field at this level isnt a quick acceleration and filling a void, it requires alot more horsepower. then there's the maintaining position aspect, which requires keeping pressure on the chain as opposed to just occupying space. a moments inattention and i'm 20 spots back needing to move up again. i'm learning, adapting, and loving it, but the curve is kind of steep.

last race i did, i decided the last 2 laps i was getting on a sprinters wheel and not giving it up. i was successfully executing this, when i spotted my own sprinter and jumped the field to get in front of him to provide leadout strength.

i definitely wimp out at the end of races, if i'm not top 5 in the sprint windup, i find myself looking for escape routes moreso than driving to the line. this has always been an internal struggle for me. my profile, which is all arounder but an uptick on the 5s, dictates that i should play the sprint card more, but my fear profile says attack. fear profile usually prevails.

this is why i look at myself in the mirror and know that my role in races is to slip onto the back of a good move (only way i'm really going to find a result), be a break chaser, or be a leadout man. i'm ok with that.
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Old 04-26-10, 07:18 AM
  #12  
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I don't like being in the middle of the pack. I don't like bumping and rubbing. I am a little better on descents, but I will open a gap just for the sake of more drag at higher speeds when there isn't enough room to go around people. However, for me, it's really a matter of trust.

Example 1: I was sitting in the middle of the pack a few weeks ago, trying to get more comfortable with it. A couple wheels in front of me was a very squirrely rider being very squirrely. I was uncomfortable with her being in the middle of the pack. Then I saw the woman next to me rub her front wheel on someone's chainstay and nearly get a derailleur in her spokes. Soon thereafter, I exited the center and moved to the outside.

Example 2: My team was hosting a race skills clinic. They put the new racers in those colored singlets so they could identify each other. On this 3.5 mi loop often used for sprints, the goal was to learn to move up and hold position. New racers were to follow more experienced ones. I was somewhere in between. I'd had a good bit of racing under my belt, but the field sizes were so small and my pack comfort level so low, I played the cat 5 role. I started at the back, found a buddy of mine, and followed him up through the center of the pack of around 50 people, where he dropped me off about 3rd wheel. I spent more time watching his feet than I did the pack. He's tall, and he rides smoothly--hardly ever coasting and telling me all I needed to know to prevent a gap from opening by his pressure on the pedals. A few times, I wasn't sure how we both fit through some gaps, but I figured I was narrower, so it would be ok. I got some dirty looks from guys who wanted to steal that wheel from me but couldn't.

There are very few wheels I trust that much in my races. With the number of crashes I've narrowly avoided already this season, I am even more wary of my fellow racers than usual.
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Old 04-26-10, 07:23 AM
  #13  
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DrWJ, you could be describing me. I'm confident on descents but leave slightly too much room when descending in a pack. On saturdays race I'd move up on the climb and gradually get filtered back on the descents. It may have something to do with my last crash, which was in a pack on a descent and had me waking up on the road with lots of people standing around wearing my blood, and a mouth full of pushed-in teeth.


And to be honest, I think that this attitude we share is to some extent a cop-out for not improving our skills/working out our issues. I kept making excuses for being on the back during my race. While I had a good time and was glad I did it, I wasn't riding to my potential- last time I did this race (also post crash) I managed to get to the front and drill it when I wanted to. If I hadn't been making excuses saturday, I probably could have done that again.
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Old 04-26-10, 07:24 AM
  #14  
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I used to be the same way as you WJOD, but since I came here I've been changing.

Descents are much faster and scarier and much closer than what I'm used to. Thanks to my style of riding and the style of racing here, I always try to get on the side of the peloton on the descents and make some passes, pushing 600w downhill in a tuck.

Ascents are easier here (for me), so riding them is all about conserving energy and keeping your spot in the field.

Moving up the field is crazy. At Wednesday's race, the Kazakh's were all over the place, riding in the grass and pebbles to move up. I saw one smack his shoulder against a road sign and keep on moving up.

My first few races here I wasn't comfortable in the pack, and found myself moving backwards, and once on the back, it's only a matter of time before you're popped. Getting comfortable with doing everything I briefed on makes you a much better racer and more capable of winning.
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Old 04-26-10, 07:36 AM
  #15  
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i need to be agressive when the road profile suits my strengths so that I can conserve energy on the longer climbs by doing the gentlemans slide.

that said, if I'm not feeling safe on a wet, potholed descent, I'll back off a bit so that I can actually have an icicles chance in hell of reacting to a potential obstacle. Id rather lose a race than flip off my bike @ 50mph.

In crits I'm learning to be more agressive and take wheels when I want them, but in a smooth, safe way.

Having reliable brakes (ie, DA brakes, and aluminum brake surface) has made me feel much safer.
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Old 04-26-10, 08:17 AM
  #16  
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Originally Posted by grolby View Post
I don't mind contact in the pack, though it doesn't happen very often in the 4s. I DO mind someone putting their hand on my hip, because it's generally some bozo trying to show off, not actually an effective means of communicating anything.
???
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Old 04-26-10, 08:21 AM
  #17  
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it wasn't some bozo yesterday, it was someone letting me know he was on the outside shoulder and needed a few inches.
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Old 04-26-10, 08:40 AM
  #18  
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Like you Doc I'm comfortable with the hip touch and don't pay much attention to guys yelling on your right or left or whatever..I'm not moving out of your way just because you are yelling a side. I move the pack pretty comfortably, I don't believe it's because I've got bigger attachments but after 20 years of racing cars and motorcycles I've developed a feel for when and where I can put my vehicle.
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Old 04-26-10, 10:00 AM
  #19  
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Originally Posted by ridethecliche View Post
???
Is that really so confusing? I get annoyed by self-styled Cat 4 Patróns du Peloton who seek any opportunity to put a hand on the gently drifting rider that they are half-wheeling. If their safety is actually in danger, fine - but so far, I've never seen this done when it was. So it's filed away in my mental drawer of gestures by people who feel the need to express to you just how big their egos are. It's just gross, like being touched inappropriately. I would much rather be bumped by someone moving up in the pack. The hip touch feels sleazy to me. Apparently this makes me unusual; whatever, I don't care. I still think it's obnoxious. It might not be a problem in Masters or higher Cats, where I presume it would be more likely to be used to communicate something useful, rather than just showing what a Boss Bike Handler the tapper is.
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Old 04-26-10, 10:02 AM
  #20  
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Of course that very attitude has caused more than one guy to go inappropriately postal when it happens to him after his upgrade.
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Old 04-26-10, 10:09 AM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by ldesfor1@ithaca View Post
i need to be agressive when the road profile suits my strengths so that I can conserve energy on the longer climbs by doing the gentlemans slide.

that said, if I'm not feeling safe on a wet, potholed descent, I'll back off a bit so that I can actually have an icicles chance in hell of reacting to a potential obstacle. Id rather lose a race than flip off my bike @ 50mph.

In crits I'm learning to be more agressive and take wheels when I want them, but in a smooth, safe way.

Having reliable brakes (ie, DA brakes, and aluminum brake surface) has made me feel much safer.
I'm generally very willing to take wheels in crits. I will fight to the extent of trying to gain position and then drift someone off a wheel, but only if it's important. If I don't have position, I will surrender, and I will back off if the other guy is unwilling to back down. Really fighting hard for wheels seems like a bad idea in Cat 4, and I'm not willing to go there. At my weight, I'm likely to be the loser, anyway. When I'm on the wheel, the same trick generally works pretty well on me.

My real weakness is getting gapped in fast corners. I'm just too nervous about getting chopped or something by riders I don't know, so I'll brake a bit too much. I think it'll get better as the season goes on, but I don't like being really tight on someone's wheel through a turn, it just freaks me out a bit. It's frustrating, since I corner okay, otherwise.
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Old 04-26-10, 10:15 AM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
Of course that very attitude has caused more than one guy to go inappropriately postal when it happens to him after his upgrade.
Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
Of course that very attitude has caused more than one guy to go inappropriately postal when it happens to him after his upgrade.
Eh. If I went postal, or in fact reacted at all, when guys touched me, you would have a point. All I said is that it annoys me, not that I react to it. I don't see how flipping out on the guy does any good. I usually observe it happening to other riders; I've only been touched once or twice. But when you see the same few guys doing it over and over again... it kind of makes you wonder why they feel it to be necessary when no one else does.
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Old 04-26-10, 10:19 AM
  #23  
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It isn't all about you. I said 'that' attitude, not 'your' attitude. So yes, whether you admit it or not I have a point as I've seen what I'm talking about numerous times.
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Old 04-26-10, 10:24 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by grolby View Post
Is that really so confusing? I get annoyed by self-styled Cat 4 Patróns du Peloton who seek any opportunity to put a hand on the gently drifting rider that they are half-wheeling. If their safety is actually in danger, fine - but so far, I've never seen this done when it was. So it's filed away in my mental drawer of gestures by people who feel the need to express to you just how big their egos are. It's just gross, like being touched inappropriately. I would much rather be bumped by someone moving up in the pack. The hip touch feels sleazy to me. Apparently this makes me unusual; whatever, I don't care. I still think it's obnoxious. It might not be a problem in Masters or higher Cats, where I presume it would be more likely to be used to communicate something useful, rather than just showing what a Boss Bike Handler the tapper is.
What do you do when someone touches you on the hip in a race? Yell?

I don't totally understand why it bothers you so much - at least it's a soft touch, and not some idiot's hip going into your bars hard (happened to me yesterday)..

I guess you could do time trials though, you're pretty safe not having to deal with anyone in those. =]
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Old 04-26-10, 10:32 AM
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grolby
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Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
It isn't all about you. I said 'that' attitude, not 'your' attitude. So yes, whether you admit it or not I have a point as I've seen what I'm talking about numerous times.
It seems like their problem is not being annoyed at being touched, but reacting badly to it. That's a different sort of attitude problem, IMO. If I find it irritating but don't react to it, how the hell am I part of a problem?

Originally Posted by mattm View Post
What do you do when someone touches you on the hip in a race? Yell?

I don't totally understand why it bothers you so much - at least it's a soft touch, and not some idiot's hip going into your bars hard (happened to me yesterday)..

I guess you could do time trials though, you're pretty safe not having to deal with anyone in those. =]
What I do is nothing - I keep doing what I'm doing. I might roll my eyes or something, but that's pretty much it.

Like I said, it's pretty rare, and it doesn't make me feel unsafe. It's more of the attitude being expressed by those doing it. It comes across as a need to demonstrate how much more Experienced and Skilled they are than the other Cat 4s. Their egos have already upgraded.

It's like this - you know those guys in the 4s and 5s that are always moaning and groaning about how 'sketchy' 4s are, or how the pace was too slow (even though they never attack or pull), or are always saying "hold your line!"? It's the most self-important sub group of those guys, in the races where I have observed this happening, that are doing the hip touches. If other people have different experiences of it, fine, maybe I've only encountered the jackasses. But so far I've only seen it done by jackasses. That would tend to color one's perception of it.
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