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Etiquette and Safety

Old 04-18-11, 04:08 PM
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Etiquette and Safety

So what should I have done, or should do in the future?

Bought my first road bike, and rode a bike on the road for the first time, about 1.5 years ago. Did a few races last season and am trying to do more now (hard to find the time with kids, grandchild, full time job, wife . . . . ). Did my 6th race, a crit, on Sunday. It was a small, all cat5, field of about 20 starters. We split into two groups relatively early on and I was in the second group with eight in front of us, seven in the group I was in, and the rest I guess were behind or dropped off early.

We were near the end of the race with no chance of catching the leaders, so we were racing for 9th place in a cat5 race, no points other than the 1 point for racing, no money, and ďprizesĒ were limited to the top 5. Coming into the second half of the last lap the guy that was the strongest in the group, from what I could tell over the course of the race, started pulling away with me behind him and a gap starting to form behind me. Then he starts pulling away from me and going into a corner gets about three bike lengths in front of me, then he did something wrong, flipped up into the air right after the corner, and landed on his back, skidding over onto his side close to the curb. So far I havenít been in a crash, and all the other crashes in races I have been in were behind me so I didnít see them. This crash looked pretty bad to me, but I donít really have a frame of reference for comparison. The motorcycle ref was following behind our group.

So what should I do in a situation like this? I certainly had a line to safely go around him without slowing down. It isnít like I could, or even should, try to render aid. Is the answer just go, go, go, even though we are racing for 9th? Should you ever stop for a crash that you arenít in and can get around assuming you aren't a doctor or paramedic?

What I did was probably the worst of all possible choices. I slowed way down, (but didnít stop) rubber necked while I thought about what I was supposed to do, and then as the rest of the group whizzes by, decide to finish the race, only catching one guy that passed me.
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Old 04-18-11, 04:14 PM
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it's safer to just keep riding and finish the race, if you can do it smoothly. You never know who might be right behind you when you decide to look at someone.

I got pushed into the gutter at 34mph about 100m from the finish line of a race last year by a rubbernecker looking back at a bad crash that happened 2 seconds earlier. He got an earful from me about it. He also understood why.

The race should have people there to render assistance. It's not your job. If you were in a road race, alone with the guy out in the middle of nowhere, that would be a different story.
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Old 04-18-11, 04:32 PM
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Don't look back, keep riding smoothly, tell the appropriate people when you see them. In a crit you're never going to be that far away from a corner marshal or other organizer type person.
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Old 04-18-11, 04:51 PM
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Get away from the crash as quickly as possible. Unless you're in a very small group off the back in a road race in the middle of nowhere, you have no obligation to this guy.
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Old 04-18-11, 08:03 PM
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I've stopped a couple of times; I've got a fair bit of first responder training and there wasn't an official vehicle nearby. Rather than let the guy lay in a ditch I figured hey, it's a sheet small bike race and maybe I can help. If you race at all it's not a bad idea to get some training, we're out on the road enough that it's possible you might end up saving someone, I know of one case where this did happen.

I pretty much do the same thing in "real" life...if I'm the first one on the scene and there's no immediate help, I do what I can.
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Old 04-18-11, 09:30 PM
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Crit race - Dig and go. There are/should be resources to help the guy, and everyone around here who has a clean line attacks when someone hits the deck.
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Old 04-19-11, 06:21 AM
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Do not slow down. Hold your line and keep going.

As others have said there are people who are tasked to deal with these situations. They are trained and are there for just this reason.
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Old 04-19-11, 06:26 AM
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Had two happen right in front of me this weekend....

Just keep going and do not look back!
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Old 04-19-11, 08:30 AM
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Thanks for the responses and the suggestion for first aid training. I did that a long, long, time ago when I as a teenager but have forgotten probably everything I learned. It is definitely a good idea to do that again, and make my kids do it too, whether I race or not.

It's funny how much reading and thinking about things like tire pressure, how much water to carry, how to pin a number, how to corner, etc., etc., I had done but I never put any thought into what I would or should do if there was a crash around me other than "stay upright."
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Old 04-19-11, 08:45 AM
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As a rule...DON'T LOOK BACK! Only bad things happen. The only time I look "back" in a race is actually more looking to the side out of the corner of my eye when I'm about to change lines or going in to a corner. Okay, I'll also cop to it if I'm off the front and just screwing with the peleton, otherwise I never look back. Worst case you cause a crash, best case...you lose time/forward momentum.
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Old 04-19-11, 08:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Racer Ex
I pretty much do the same thing in "real" life...if I'm the first one on the scene and there's no immediate help, I do what I can.
IMHO A general life rule.

It may even apply to bike racing.
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Old 04-19-11, 10:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Bob Dopolina
IMHO A general life rule.

It may even apply to bike racing.
I was speaking to road races BTW, not crits. At some road races you can sit for 20-30 minutes before a follow vehicle comes by. And don't presume that they'll get it right, at Sea Otter one year I bled into my shoes for a half an hour waiting for medical because the idiot race director thought he knew better, even though the CHP that was there made 4 radio calls during that time. I rode myself and my broken frame in to race central to have that tool look at me and say he thought the calls were bogus.

I'm still not over that one.
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Old 04-19-11, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Racer Ex
I was speaking to road races BTW, not crits. At some road races you can sit for 20-30 minutes before a follow vehicle comes by. And don't presume that they'll get it right, at Sea Otter one year I bled into my shoes for a half an hour waiting for medical because the idiot race director thought he knew better, even though the CHP that was there made 4 radio calls during that time. I rode myself and my broken frame in to race central to have that tool look at me and say he thought the calls were bogus.
I'm still not over that one.
Yep even the "big races" are prone to ... gaps... in management / emergency response. At the typical races most of us do, I always assume I am totally on my own in every respect.

I always wear my road ID, even when racing a 4 corner crit with 20 people who know me.


Also... did anyone mention "don't look back" yet?
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