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  1. #1
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    Cross etiquette??

    So Iím into my 2nd full season now and having a blast. Still surprised how much I learn each time out. Last Saturdays race was true cross conditions, snowing, wet, sloppy, two huge sand pits, the works. My group is usually one of the biggest, typically 35-40 riders, so in those conditions pretty much a mosh pit on wheels. Everyone was still fighting for position on the first lap and I went for an inside pass on some guy and we bumped forearms/shoulders a bit, typical cross racing I thought. However, this guy totally went off on me, curses up a storm, Am I missing something? I thought a bit of contact was all part of the game and the fun. Iíve certainly got bumped a few times and thought nothing of it.
    What is cross etiquette here?
    Iím I supposed to verbally announce my intended pass?

  2. #2
    The Brutally Handsome
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    I try to announce my passes, but sometime you don't have the breath to spare, especially if you're attacking. Regardless, making contact and bumping elbows is part of racing and sometimes unavoidable, so from your description it sounds like that guy overreacted a bit. Was it a safe pass?

  3. #3
    Cleavage Of The Tetons
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    You should have said he was early for the beginner girls category.
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  4. #4
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    Definitely no barging - I'm a CX commissaire and if I see some using the elbows too much/inconsiderate riding I'll stop and have a chat after the race. Cutting-up the inside on corners is a definite no-no if it results in heavy physical contact.

    I've had this a few times in races whilst lapping back-markers - make it clear you're passing, on what side. Rarely do you have a course that doesn't provide the chance to pass - take the chance to have a breather and really make it count on the next opportunity.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sizzler View Post
    Was it a safe pass?
    That's the key. If he came off his line you did nothing wrong and probably startled him. If on the other hand you're trying to squeeze into gaps that don't exist...

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    rubbins' racin'

  7. #7
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    I usually reserve passing only for the beginning of longer straightaways and say "on your left" (or right) if it's a high speed section. (No reason for us to hurt ourselves, none of us are making money from this.) During the straightaway, if I can get my elbow ahead of his, then I definitely own the corner. I typically do that on an "inside the corner" move.

    If we are elbow to elbow and we go into the corner at same time AND I'm on the inside, then I still own the corner. But I try to take it tight as possible that we he doesn't have to brake too much. Both riders should go through like flow lines; or like two deep in a crit corner if there's room.

    In general in cross racing, I try to do whatever it takes to not brake in the corner. So if some bozo dives into my inside and causes me to slam my brakes, then I get pretty irritated. But if I can still rail the corner on the outside without hitting brakes, then I'm okay.

    Like said above, that's racing.
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  8. #8
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    That guy shouldn't have gone off, everybody makes little errors in judgment all over the course, thinking there's an opening where there's not, etc. Everybody needs to play nice and give the other riders some slack (most do), I'm sure he goes off on other people at other races. It's him, not you. -Unless you REALLY pulled a bad pass and ran right into him Cx is going to frustrate him and he's going to quit.

  9. #9
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    Thanks for the replies guys. I would have to say it was a safe pass. There was some twisty stuff through the trees that I was following him through, which he was defending well. After that a straight away were I made my move. One guy went to his right and I went left, probably startled him more than anything.

    I guess I'm still not clear on announcing your pass.
    When I'm passing stragglers from groups that started in front of me I will announce, because a) we are in different categories and not racing for position, and b) if they are that far back they are not concerned about their finishing position either.
    But when I'm racing with the leading top 10 group, sometimes it takes a while to set up a pass because they are defending their position. If I announce "hey I'm trying to pass you on the right" doesn't that take your advantage away by letting them know where you are. They are just going to pedal harder.
    At the end of the day we are all just a bunch of 35+ C category hacks out for a good time and no one wants to get hurt, but it is a RACE and the competitive juices get flowing. It also seems like most courses are designed with tight twisty sections that purposely bunch riders up, so contact is often unavoidable. I mean every race I done starts out with a hole shot, setting up mass chaos from the start.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimPacNW View Post
    That guy shouldn't have gone off, everybody makes little errors in judgment all over the course, thinking there's an opening where there's not, etc. Everybody needs to play nice and give the other riders some slack (most do), I'm sure he goes off on other people at other races. It's him, not you. -Unless you REALLY pulled a bad pass and ran right into him Cx is going to frustrate him and he's going to quit.
    Probably just one guy having a bad day. Looking back on it, I've had at least a dozen folks say, nice pass, well done, or good move, so I must not be a complete hack.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by TBMD9er View Post
    If I announce "hey I'm trying to pass you on the right" doesn't that take your advantage away by letting them know where you are. They are just going to pedal harder.
    At the end of the day we are all just a bunch of 35+ C category hacks out for a good time and no one wants to get hurt, but it is a RACE and the competitive juices get flowing.
    I call out "on your left" or "on your right", based on relative speed. If I'm coming by super fast then I don't want a clipping incident. 99% of the time, this would be with a a slower rider from a previous class (45+ or Open Cs). If it's from someone in my class, I typically say nothing because relative speeds are typically very low. With the 35+C mass start, speed ability gets sorted out pretty quick. I'd say by halfway through the first lap you are with guys your exact speed if they are 35+Cs (especially with a call up).

    But when your evenly match with another rider, then it's all about elbow position. Whoever has their elbow more ahead is in charge (especially if your on the inside of corner). In the straightaway, if you can accelerate harder and get a little ahead, then you can slowly float into the best line and they can't really do anything about it. This is better done unannounced as a suprise attack.

    I remember in one race there were two guys in my class ahead of me and they were really battling it out. Diving into corners, elbowing, etc. I wanted none of that. So I just sat in for several corners until they wrecked each other out, and I rode right through. haha.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Poncharelli View Post
    I call out "on your left" or "on your right", based on relative speed. If I'm coming by super fast then I don't want a clipping incident. 99% of the time, this would be with a a slower rider from a previous class (45+ or Open Cs). If it's from someone in my class, I typically say nothing because relative speeds are typically very low. With the 35+C mass start, speed ability gets sorted out pretty quick. I'd say by halfway through the first lap you are with guys your exact speed if they are 35+Cs (especially with a call up).

    But when your evenly match with another rider, then it's all about elbow position. Whoever has their elbow more ahead is in charge (especially if your on the inside of corner). In the straightaway, if you can accelerate harder and get a little ahead, then you can slowly float into the best line and they can't really do anything about it. This is better done unannounced as a suprise attack.

    I remember in one race there were two guys in my class ahead of me and they were really battling it out. Diving into corners, elbowing, etc. I wanted none of that. So I just sat in for several corners until they wrecked each other out, and I rode right through. haha.
    Hey, sounds like a fellow UTCX racer. Thanks for the advice, it sounds like I'm on the right track. My problem is that even though I'm a top 10 finisher, my race season doesn't even start to mid November. Because let's face it, even though CX racing is a blast, it's not fun enough to miss a weekend of desert MTBing in Moab/Fruita/Gooseberry/the swell/Guacamole/little creek.... well anyway you get the idea.
    So by the time I start racing I'm not getting a call-up and I get stuck in the mid-pack muddle. If I wait to long to start working my way up than the top six guys are long gone.

  13. #13
    The Brutally Handsome
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    Quote Originally Posted by TBMD9er View Post
    But when I'm racing with the leading top 10 group, sometimes it takes a while to set up a pass because they are defending their position. If I announce "hey I'm trying to pass you on the right" doesn't that take your advantage away by letting them know where you are. They are just going to pedal harder.
    Making contact and bumping elbows typically happens early in the race when everybody is jockeying for position, whereas the situation you're describing typically happens later in the race, when riders are more spread out and places are more clearly defined. In that case, you can typically wait for the right opportunity to attack and pass safely without having to announce your intentions. And chances are by that point everyone will be keenly aware who is behind them.

  14. #14
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    I almost never announce a pass in cx, there's usually lots of places to by cleanly, if you feel you are faster but it's a tight spot, maybe just wait for the next turn or two until it opens up. Don't feel bad about putting on some pressure in the corners, but nobody should be 'stuffing' other riders in the corners, or 'closing the door' (that they had left open) when your front wheel is even with their crank.
    Mtb racing I almost always ask/announce passes, there's usually not much room in the singletrack.

    A few weeks ago I was passing between two guys on a wide straight, and they both closed in as I was going by, -both had lots of room on either side, but I got elbows on both sides!, we all almost went down, but it was ok.
    20+ years ago, we had a 30+ field start in an open area, 'open class', which was the faster guys with mountain bikes, all Expert mtb racers, and C1/2 road and track guys. After 100' or so the course went through a single file gate in a fence, -no kidding, a dead-stop-bottleneck. I thought it was hilarious, we all just kind of shuffled through, then got back to racing. Half a lap later on a LONG steep runup (so long they haven't done that one in years), halfway up the runup while shoulding the bike this guy is passing on my left and shoves me off the course into the bushes, and says something about me getting in his way at the bottleneck. The guy was huge, some massive c1 track guy, my height or taller (6'3") but 30 pounds of muscle on me. I told him I couldn't believe he blamed me for the bottleneck, then my response was to beat him no matter how hard I had to push, and I did. I never saw that guy racing again.

  15. #15
    Outlaw
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    Look, this is racing and none of us are obligated to let someone pass unless you are getting lapped, and then you get the hell out of the way. If someone leaves a door open and you go for it on the inside or outside and they try to close the door it is on them, you get by. We regularly have 100 to 150 deep cat 3 and 4/5 fields on the big weekends, and there is a shitload of passing. If anyone one announces they are passing, the door never opens.

    That being said, I have been pushed into the tape by a dude who ****ed up and was pissed that I was passing him. I beat him by eight places. I had a guy in my first cat 3 race push me off course with his bike cause I did the same thing. I have a wife, a full time job and a mortgage to deal with. I ain't got time for that ********. Being fed up with getting physical for 60 somethingth place I have been racing the P/1/2/3 and getting my ass kicked but having fun. It's better to be 40th out of 50 than fight for 70th out of 120 and get caught up in crashes and all that stupid ****.

    Some folks need to get over the fact that they are destined for the middle to rear of the field and just have fun racing. I don't believe I am, but I plan on training to get better placing, not throwing chicken wings.

    Joe.

  16. #16
    Don't be a sheep
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    The biggest problem with passing in a corner or tight area is you are slowing both of you down, this is especially key at the start of a race. Wait until you can pass cleanly to avoid creating gaps. The only time I will make an aggressive pass at the start of a race is if someone is going too slow and the race is going up the road.
    "Do not touch the trim"

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by TBMD9er View Post
    Hey, sounds like a fellow UTCX racer. Thanks for the advice, it sounds like I'm on the right track. My problem is that even though I'm a top 10 finisher, my race season doesn't even start to mid November. So by the time I start racing I'm not getting a call-up and I get stuck in the mid-pack muddle. If I wait to long to start working my way up than the top six guys are long gone.
    Yes, UTCX, awesome race series!! Last season I got 3 fourth places and a 2nd place all without callups, so it can be done. But I have a Cat 3 road license and have raced Expert class MTB for a long time so i thought I could kill it in the 35+Cs but no, this is a tough group. I also started in November last year since I was coaching the HS kids for the first time.

    This season I coordinated the coaching and CX racing to get some points in. Overall I thought this year's group was a little faster. I got 13th at the Fort, and 4th in the next race and that gave me enough points for a call up. Next race I got the hole shot and ran out of gas for 8th. And at Cottonwood all the stars aligned and finally got the win!!

    Three of us have upgraded to the Bs so far so that should make things a bit better for ya. Good luck!!

    The Bs are tough though. Not much difference between the first place guy and last place guy. Everyone's fast.
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