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a little contact in Group rides, is it wrong?

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a little contact in Group rides, is it wrong?

Old 11-03-09, 05:06 PM
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rouleour
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a little contact in Group rides, is it wrong?

Here is the scenario:

"On the last 5 miles of a group ride, when the group starts to get string out, 5 or 6 riders are sharing the work, you just took a pull at the front! but the riders behind you are not letting you get back in close to the front!

do you go back to the very end and god forbid you lose a chance for the final sprint and bragging rights! or do you try to remain close to the front even if it takes a little contact?
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Old 11-03-09, 05:17 PM
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Courteously make your way in. If someone says, "Hey, what the ****, ***hole, then, you weren't courteous.
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Old 11-03-09, 05:21 PM
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Depends on the group. On my group ride, you may have to burn a few matches and move up the gutter. The only time someone will let you in is when you are so far back that there's no chance for the final sprint.
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Old 11-03-09, 06:04 PM
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Contact is something that you shouldn't do, however you should be prepared for it. It goes both ways - if someone moves over and they're in a better position, I yield. I don't push back - I've already lost by being in the weaker position.

Sometimes there are little bits of contact, so light that it wouldn't bother a sleeping dog, and that's reasonable if it's accidental. Also, in emergency maneuvers, like avoiding crashes, some contact may be inevitable.

Group rides where you know everyone, where the rules are set out in advance (i.e. "contact is okay and expected on this ride - this is where we practice how to deal with dirty riding"), that's where contact is okay.

Whatever the case, work it out before the ride. Ask some of the others, "Hey, theoretically speaking, say I was pulling about a mile before our sprint, and I wanted to get back in line, would you mind if there was some contact?"

This helps prepare what's okay or not. Generally speaking, when riding with folks that you don't know 100% (i.e. not really good friends or friendly teammates), I would say NO contact is the standard rule.

In fact, in races, I think there is virtually no need for contact. I've posted this before and I feel pretty strongly about it. Some people question my logic ("what do you think will happen if one guy moves over - everyone else does too?"). I initiate no contact with racers around me, even in the tightest of situations, unless it's a friend in need (I gave a few guys good long pushes to help them).

Tight race with no contact, not even a brush of a sleeve, and I move up in one lap to contest the sprint:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4S-lpiqb34

At the same time, I've had other riders initiate serious contact with me, 5 or 10 seconds of really hard leaning, trying to get me to move over. When this happens I absolutely refuse to move over, especially if the move will net the pusher something, and on principle I'll refuse to give up position.

In the sprint I got leaned on really, really hard:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lgRKWEdG18
It's hard to tell but when I become relatively still (compared to the others), someone is pushing.

If you make a tactical error and get into a bad situation, you need to use some tactical astuteness to get back in the game.

Contact means you failed as a tactician and as a racer. That goes at all levels. I can understand contact at the higher levels (2s and up, where racers are racing for more than just bragging rights), but I can't condone it for the 3s and below (guys who aren't that strong to begin with, and who should be using guile, not force, to make things happen, and this includes me).

Contact has no part in bike racing. I stand by that 100%.

cdr
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Old 11-03-09, 06:13 PM
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I agree with CDR. Do not initiate contact, but be prepared to deal with it if it happens.
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Old 11-03-09, 06:21 PM
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I thought the person off the pull always went to the back in a group ride.
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Old 11-03-09, 06:23 PM
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CDR

Thanks for those YouTubes - I am looking at trying racing and they really give a great view and understanding of what goes on - particularly with the comments over the top!

Thanks very muchly.

TMT
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Old 11-03-09, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by carpediemracing View Post
Contact is something that you shouldn't do, however you should be prepared for it. It goes both ways - if someone moves over and they're in a better position, I yield. I don't push back - I've already lost by being in the weaker position.

Sometimes there are little bits of contact, so light that it wouldn't bother a sleeping dog, and that's reasonable if it's accidental. Also, in emergency maneuvers, like avoiding crashes, some contact may be inevitable.

Group rides where you know everyone, where the rules are set out in advance (i.e. "contact is okay and expected on this ride - this is where we practice how to deal with dirty riding"), that's where contact is okay.

Whatever the case, work it out before the ride. Ask some of the others, "Hey, theoretically speaking, say I was pulling about a mile before our sprint, and I wanted to get back in line, would you mind if there was some contact?"

This helps prepare what's okay or not. Generally speaking, when riding with folks that you don't know 100% (i.e. not really good friends or friendly teammates), I would say NO contact is the standard rule.

In fact, in races, I think there is virtually no need for contact. I've posted this before and I feel pretty strongly about it. Some people question my logic ("what do you think will happen if one guy moves over - everyone else does too?"). I initiate no contact with racers around me, even in the tightest of situations, unless it's a friend in need (I gave a few guys good long pushes to help them).

Tight race with no contact, not even a brush of a sleeve, and I move up in one lap to contest the sprint:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4S-lpiqb34

At the same time, I've had other riders initiate serious contact with me, 5 or 10 seconds of really hard leaning, trying to get me to move over. When this happens I absolutely refuse to move over, especially if the move will net the pusher something, and on principle I'll refuse to give up position.

In the sprint I got leaned on really, really hard:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lgRKWEdG18
It's hard to tell but when I become relatively still (compared to the others), someone is pushing.

If you make a tactical error and get into a bad situation, you need to use some tactical astuteness to get back in the game.

Contact means you failed as a tactician and as a racer. That goes at all levels. I can understand contact at the higher levels (2s and up, where racers are racing for more than just bragging rights), but I can't condone it for the 3s and below (guys who aren't that strong to begin with, and who should be using guile, not force, to make things happen, and this includes me).

Contact has no part in bike racing. I stand by that 100%.

cdr
That was intense! and very instructive! I feel I learned a lot just by reading your post and watching your vids! Thank you CDR.
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Old 11-03-09, 07:09 PM
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Originally Posted by schnabler1 View Post
Courteously make your way in. If someone says, "Hey, what the ****, ***hole, then, you weren't courteous.
Ok!... fair enough!
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Old 11-03-09, 07:10 PM
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CDR was very thorough.

I'll add that if you are pulling off the front after a pull, in a race or a training ride, you should expect to either fall in at the back or creatively work your way back in somewhere. It's hard to do, and if you do it unsafely, you will be marked by other riders in the future.
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Old 11-03-09, 07:17 PM
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Point A: It is a freakin' group ride. Who really cares?

Point B: You were the b1tch of the wheel suckers for 5 miles. Why should they let you stop being their b1tch right before the sprint?
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Old 11-03-09, 07:46 PM
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Pulling off the front doesn't necessarily mean going to the back.

If you really want to get back in for the sprint, you can attempt to create gaps in the group before you pull off.

For example, if you move a bit to the left (keeping in mind public roads etc), then right, then pull off as you head back left, you may get a friendly group "snaking effect" which allows you to pop back into line. This is kind of "advanced" if you will.

A simpler method is to reduce pace to encourage others to attack. Then jump on wheels. Jumping on wheels takes some careful maneuvering since barging into a line of riders accelerating past you presents the same problems as when you're dropping past them.

You can also vary the pace. Not too much, else someone will end up locking up brakes at the back, but surge, ease, surge, ease. Pull off after a surge - you may have caught riders unawares, and a gap may open up in the line.

You can fake pull. Go easier than the group should be going. This works if it's a tailwind. If the group insists on following your 21 mph pull, then slowly start accelerating. Master 80% jumps, where you accelerate like you mean it but you really don't mean it. Back off a bit when the wheels start drawing even with you - either they'll get back onto your wheel or they'll pass you and you'll be on their wheel. Smart riders tend to do the latter, especially if it's really far to go (500 meters say) and there's a big group (10-20 riders willing to contest). With practice you can do a triple jump sprint, where you accelerate briskly twice then for real once. You may be able to pull off some good sprints doing that.

As pointed out in a post above, if you're doing all the work, you're just helping the others. Pull off relatively early, then ask someone a rider or two back if you can get back in. Mumble something like "I'll lead you out" or something. You may end up leading that rider out, but at least you'll have shelter for a bit.

Finally, you can just ask. Although not necessarily at the sprint (I did ask someone, very loudly, to sit up in a sprint so I could beat him, seriously), you can just ask someone, "Hey, will you let me in?" If they studiously ignore you don't push it. I've asked and been asked while racing, and usually the request is innocuous enough that I get in/out or I let someone get in/out.

If no one lets you in, either you're a social pariah OR you have some fundamental problem with riding in the group. Since road riders tend to expect one another to read minds, if you find yourself left out of all of the moves, you may have some glaring group riding fault that you don't know about. If you suspect this is the case, ask one of the elder more respected riders (like a natural leader of the group, not necessarily the official leader).

cdr

btw, thanks for the comments on the helmet cams. The veteran BFers know they're all reposted links (and they all must think "oh, boy, that link again"), but I made them to illustrate to non-racers what racing is about (specifically my former fiancee and now wife). Inevitably there are "new" or "about to be" racers reading or posting stuff in threads. So I still post them. I realized that the clips help new racers understand what it's all about. One of the first comments I got - "It looks really confusing". I never realized how chaotic it was until that comment. So it's a learning thing for me too.
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Old 11-03-09, 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by mollusk View Post
Point A: It is a freakin' group ride. Who really cares?

Point B: You were the b1tch of the wheel suckers for 5 miles. Why should they let you stop being their b1tch right before the sprint?
Point A: anyone who doesn't want to crash might care.

Point B: Good point.
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Old 11-03-09, 08:08 PM
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Absolutely wrong. Man up and race. Save the contact for that.
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Old 11-03-09, 09:26 PM
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CDR, Thanks for the vids. That crack in your lens reminds me why I don't race any more...one last note for you all thinking to apply these tactics.

CDR has excellent tactics, but he also has the beans to make 'em work.
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Old 11-03-09, 10:36 PM
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As far as moving another rider over:

Shoulder to shoulder and rubbing elbows is one thing. But if my bars are ahead of your bars, you are gonna move over or you are gonna crash.

The only question is: How much of a d!ck do you want to be in a training ride?

While there is no written rules and its obviously group to grop, contact on group rides seems to be a bad idea. Over many years, I have seen two instances of this come to fists. Not sure if that is a big or small number.

I don't count dropping your buddy into the small ring as "contact". That's all fun and games.

-Z
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