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Is it okay to give a little elbow nudge in a crit or road race?

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Is it okay to give a little elbow nudge in a crit or road race?

Old 02-09-15, 10:15 AM
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SpankZEbadger
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Is it okay to give a little elbow nudge in a crit or road race?

Hey all, first post here..

Yesterday was my first bike race Cat 5 at the Roger Millikin Crit in brea.
Just wondering if it's alright to give a little contact in these races, in the last lap I was stuck in the middle of the group and without thinking I nudged the guy next to me with my elbow to get a better position for the finish.
I think he was a little pissed and startled.

Is this sort of minor contact okay? It seemed like the only way to get out of the group for the last stretch.
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Old 02-09-15, 10:20 AM
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how hard was the nudge? did he have a hard time staying upright?
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Old 02-09-15, 10:28 AM
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In my experience, as long as the intent isn't to do harm, then it's fine. You'll find others may NOT be comfortable with it as they're at the max of their comfort level.
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Old 02-09-15, 10:28 AM
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Originally Posted by himespau View Post
how hard was the nudge? did he have a hard time staying upright?
Not hard at all and no weight into it, just put my elbow out and made contact with his arm/elbow.
He yelled and moved enough to let me out from the center of the group.
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Old 02-09-15, 10:30 AM
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You have to nudge someone pretty hard for them to go down. Races like Roger Millikan there is a lot of contact, especially out of corner 2 where people are coming out of a descent and half the people go in braking, and the other half smooth.
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Old 02-09-15, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by hack View Post
In my experience, as long as the intent isn't to do harm, then it's fine. You'll find others may NOT be comfortable with it as they're at the max of their comfort level.
Thanks for the replies.

Yeah I purely wanted to get into a better position, definitely never want to see anyone crash or get hurt. And for sure don't want to exercise any foul play which is why I'm asking.

Last edited by SpankZEbadger; 02-09-15 at 10:35 AM.
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Old 02-09-15, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by SpankZEbadger View Post
Thanks for the replies.

Yeah I purely wanted to get into a better position, definitely never want to see anyone crash or get hurt. And for sure don't want to exercise any foul play which is why I'm asking.
My comfort level is definately not the highest. Check out some of the videos in the "Race Video" thread and you'll see contact is very common and pretty forceful at times.
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Old 02-09-15, 10:40 AM
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i'm of two minds about this:

from one perspective, it's absolutely normal for nudging and bumping to occur in a race and it happens all the time.

but from another, doing it in a cat-5 race may not be the wisest thing to do given that the guy next to you may not know how to respond. In the mid and upper cats, people expect it, and almost no one overreacts. But in a field where quite a few people ride with their elbows locked, a slight sideward input could send people careening. I personally won't fault you, but then again the action is far from consequent less.

That you are doing it in the last lap of a race is perhaps more telling as the question you should be asking is why am I here in the first place as opposed to being in the first few wheels? It's one thing when everyone is single file in front of you, and you are trying to nudge the guy next to you off of the wheel of the person in front. It's completely different when you are in the middle of the pack without much space to move and trying to force your way.
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Old 02-09-15, 10:41 AM
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I'm sort of surprised at these responses. "It happens" is not a complete response to "should I intentionally make physical contact with other racers in a Cat 5 race?"

Here's my contrary opinion:

If someone is moving towards you or you otherwise need to make light contact to let them know you're there, protect your position, and avoid additional, more-dangerous contact, of course that's okay.

If you're boxed in or otherwise want to physically make someone move so you can occupy his space, that's not okay. Not even a little bit, in fact.
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Old 02-09-15, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Hls2k6 View Post
]

If you're boxed in or otherwise want to physically make someone move so you can occupy his space, that's not okay. Not even a little bit, in fact.
are you saying that in relation to it being a cat 5 race?
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Old 02-09-15, 10:51 AM
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As a cat5 it was hard enough for me to wrap my mind around being a foot away from a bunch of other dudes on bikes, forget about being even remotely comfortable with contact. If anyone threw 'bows I would've endoed and exploded in a Michael Bay fireball, taking as many people with me as possible.
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Old 02-09-15, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
are you saying that in relation to it being a cat 5 race?
I'm saying it's especially true, but no, not uniquely.
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Old 02-09-15, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Hls2k6 View Post
I'm sort of surprised at these responses. "It happens" is not a complete response to "should I intentionally make physical contact with other racers in a Cat 5 race?"

Here's my contrary opinion:

If someone is moving towards you or you otherwise need to make light contact to let them know you're there, protect your position, and avoid additional, more-dangerous contact, of course that's okay.

If you're boxed in or otherwise want to physically make someone move so you can occupy his space, that's not okay. Not even a little bit, in fact.
I see, although I didn't exactly take his space I did nudge elbows to get his attention then take off in front of him and to the outside edge of the group thus putting me in a better finishing position.

And echappist I agree with you too, I should have been in a better position by that time.
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Old 02-09-15, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by TheKillerPenguin View Post
As a cat5 it was hard enough for me to wrap my mind around being a foot away from a bunch of other dudes on bikes, forget about being even remotely comfortable with contact. If anyone threw 'bows I would've endoed and exploded in a Michael Bay fireball, taking as many people with me as possible.
haha I'll taking that into consideration, I'm pretty used to close contact riding from group rides and being an idiot with one of my friends.

No need for any michael bay esque crashing on the course.
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Old 02-09-15, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Hls2k6 View Post
I'm saying it's especially true, but no, not uniquely.
shrug. while contact should certainly be discouraged and avoided on the beginner levels, ultimately rubbing is racing.
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Old 02-09-15, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
contact should certainly be discouraged and avoided on the beginner levels
What he said. The purpose of cat 5 is that if you get boxed in you learn not to get boxed in in the first place, not to learn to muscle your way out of it. That comes later.
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Old 02-09-15, 11:12 AM
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rubbing is racing, but I hate it when guys touch my arms. hips/thighs, whatever, arms weird me out and I feel like I move into the bump anyway.
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Old 02-09-15, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Ygduf View Post
rubbing is racing, but I hate it when guys touch my arms. hips/thighs, whatever, arms weird me out and I feel like I move into the bump anyway.
yeah no need to take you hand off the bars, ever. at least not to touch someone.

and when someone yells "inside" I think "that's your problem" and don't give them any room.

anyway, as chappy said, the real problem is that you're boxed in. if it's the last last and you're not up front, you've already lost.
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Old 02-09-15, 11:29 AM
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It looks like the majority of you would say to refrain from contact if at all possible. Thanks for the advice everyone I'll take that into account at my next race which will hopefully be the ice sports wear crit this coming up weekend if I can afford it!
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Old 02-09-15, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
shrug. while contact should certainly be discouraged and avoided on the beginner levels, ultimately rubbing is racing.
We can agree to disagree on this one. There is no question that there is some threshold of physical contact that is not okay. What reaches that level is likely both at least somewhat a matter of opinion and something that varies on a case-by-case basis.
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Old 02-09-15, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by SpankZEbadger View Post
It looks like the majority of you would say to refrain from contact if at all possible. Thanks for the advice everyone I'll take that into account at my next race which will hopefully be the ice sports wear crit this coming up weekend if I can afford it!
I'm another one that thinks "offensive" contact is an indication of weak tactical position. I can't remember pushing someone to get them out of the day; I'm pretty sure I've never done it.

(I have given helpful shoves to close gaps etc, but these are pretty steady/gentle contacts.)

I have taken wheels from people, meaning get on a wheel they were on. Done right the only way to defend is to initiate pretty aggressive contact with the wheel taker. Usually taking a wheel isn't a huge deal, even toward the end of a race, because being one wheel further back is rarely a huge problem. Plus an experienced racer can take the wheel back quickly. It's always hard to defend a position, it's really easy to take a wheel.

I didn't realize how significantly I felt about this until a guy moved up and slammed into me in a race. I checked down/back, moved to the side and up, and a few seconds later he slammed into me from behind/side. He claimed that he thought I wasn't moving since I looked, but he clearly moved up after I was already in the spot. I don't know how he justified the move when I was already in the spot (I even checked my helmet cam to make sure I wasn't off base - I wasn't). When he came up to me after the race I laid into him. After my tirade he said meekly, "I was only coming up to you to apologize." Oops.

One particularly dirty rider would do a lot of stuff to intimidate me - brake checks at high speeds (most memorable while we were attacking on a downhill at close to 50 mph, but normally in high speed bits of a race like 30-35-40 mph), kicking his rear wheel sideways into my front wheel, pushing me, slapping my helmet, all while swearing obscenities at me. In one race this went on for a solid 15-20 minutes, so much so that all the other racers gave us room in case something happened. He literally scares me, even now, so I just took it. I rode dirty back whenever he was on my wheel, for maybe the next year or so. Not proud of it now but I did it. No contact - I never initiated contact with him - but it involved riding in such a way that he couldn't stay on my wheel. I learned all the tricks I did from him because that's how he rode. He screamed at me at one race where I was doing that. I pointed out that I was just doing stuff he did to everyone else. He didn't like that. I still end up in races with this guy but he's mellowed out over the years, I haven't seen any dirty racing from him in maybe 7 or 8 years.
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Old 02-09-15, 12:50 PM
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My junior (and the others juniors in the car) say juniors is pretty physical. Esp. Euro kids races. The sprinters more so - much more so.
They may be a little hesitant to knock it out with adults, but the kids often have hands, elbows, helmets grabbing, pushing and hitting each other.
At the Santa Barba P12 crit (SOTO) we had caught on camera helmet into shoulder and various grabbing's, and a story of leg/knee on back. There were no crashes.
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Old 02-09-15, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Doge View Post
My junior (and the others juniors in the car) say juniors is pretty physical. Esp. Euro kids races. The sprinters more so - much more so.
They may be a little hesitant to knock it out with adults, but the kids often have hands, elbows, helmets grabbing, pushing and hitting each other.
At the Santa Barba P12 crit (SOTO) we had caught on camera helmet into shoulder and various grabbing's, and a story of leg/knee on back. There were no crashes.
Yeah I think in Europe it's a whole different story.

Similarly it sounds like US racing was a whole different story 20 years ago.
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Old 02-09-15, 01:00 PM
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Yesterday, in the 3/4 race about 2k from the finish, I took off after an attack, then eased up a bit to slot in behind whoever was chasing me. Turned out to be a string of guys and I tried to take the wheel of a junior following his teammate. Junior bumped me, no big deal, but I guess he lost his focus because he rubbed wheels with his teammate a few seconds later. Stayed up and came up after the race to apologize. I guess he felt bad for bumping out of his comfort zone. I felt bad for trying to take the wheel of a junior who wasn't comfortable with it. Sure, its racing, but I don't want to cause any accidents even with a legit move.
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Old 02-09-15, 01:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Ygduf View Post
rubbing is racing, but I hate it when guys touch my arms. hips/thighs, whatever, arms weird me out and I feel like I move into the bump anyway.
if they're connected to your bars it's a good way to go down, so justifiably weirded out. some guy grabbed my shifter once in a break because he didn't like that I rode at a higher cadence than me. that weirded me out.
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