A Question of Ethics in 24 Hour Races- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    A Question of Ethics in 24 Hour Races

    Well, you had to see it to believe it. I have heard it happens once in a while, and I have heard other people recount their experiences, but this is the first time I have witnessed it front row centre. I was sitting next to the race trail at the last 24 Hours of Summer Solstice in Albion Hills, in the Caledon Cycling Club booth (the one with all the smiley, yellow Frisbees). Now, this section of trail is not really single-track nor double-track, but because of the mud holes and narrow lane tape, it would not be the most ideal place to pass. But someone decided to give it a try.

    A speed demon decided to go for a pass, after losing a little patience with someone going a little slower ahead of him. Little did he know that it would widen out just 100 feet further down. However, realizing that he doesn’t have enough room to pass, he cuts out in front of the shocked person being passed, rather than applying the brakes of any normal being. The poor soul being passed has no time to react, and his front wheel is stopped dead by the back wheel of the speed demon. A body suddenly flies through the air making a full somersault in the air, landing hard on the ground. Mr. Speed Demon quickly spouts the rehearsed “Are you O.K.” without looking too hard, and is quickly gone in a matter of seconds. The landed “body” is obviously in a lot of pain, and it becomes clear that his left arm has left its normal body position (sorry for the pun). Turns out his collar bone is smashed, and his shoulder is dislocated and separated, as he recovers in the hospital.

    His father appears a few hours later, looking for his son’s bike. We kept it safe near the Caledon Club roster. Like any father would, he wonders who caused his son’s grief, and would at least like to talk to the “hit and runner”. It was his son’s first (and probably last) 24 hour race event. Our club only saw the back of the riders, so he approaches the next club tent down.
    “We can’t really tell you….it’s part of the sport” he is told. It’s all part of the sport!!!!! Since when is a hit and run “part of the sport”!!! None of the glossy brochures show this. No one is taught to aggressively cut off other racers. I can see the pressure of fame, a big prize win, or qualifying for the national team or the Olympics being a cause for such aggression, but a fun 24 hour race!!!????

    There was a time when if you caused an accident, you became responsible for the assistance and recovery of that person until medical help arrived. And that has been the signature value of any fellow mountain biker for quite some time. Until now, I guess.

    Do you think it is all part of the sport….beware of those who cut you off, because it is part of the game? I just hope that those of you that think it is O.K., beware of my kicking foot and fisted hand if you get too close!

  2. #2
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    Some people take racing more seriously than others.

    A couple years ago I was preriding a course and came upon an accident where a racer left the course and found a nice big tree, which proceeded to break his collarbone. A racer from that race had stopped and was helping the guy, while most other racers just kept on racing. I stuck around and warned the folks still racing to slow down, until the officials could carry him out of the course.

    He ended up getting helicoptered out.

    I went on to drop out of my race, a little shook up by hanging out with casualty of the course. Oh well, my heart wasn't in it after watching all that...
    Take the long cut, we'll get there eventually.

  3. #3
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    That really sucks to hear things like that happening at an event like a 24hr race. The guys saying its part of racing musta been his friends or ride like that jackass does.

  4. #4
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    No good

    I wonder how many people "speed demon" cut off on the drive home? Sounds like the typical "It's all about me" type person.
    2008 Trek Fuel EX 8
    Apsley, Ontario, Canada

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ricksom
    Well, you had to see it to believe it. I have heard it happens once in a while, and I have heard other people recount their experiences, but this is the first time I have witnessed it front row centre. I was sitting next to the race trail at the last 24 Hours of Summer Solstice in Albion Hills, in the Caledon Cycling Club booth (the one with all the smiley, yellow Frisbees).
    Oh, I loved that section! Big air!


    Quote Originally Posted by Ricksom
    Do you think it is all part of the sportÂ….beware of those who cut you off, because it is part of the game? I just hope that those of you that think it is O.K., beware of my kicking foot and fisted hand if you get too close!
    Truely an unfortunate incident...made particularly worse by the fact that it didn't have to happen.

    Unfortunately, this is part of the problem with 24-hr racing: you get ALL types of riders and racers covering the full-spectrum of skill levels. Plus, factor in sleep deprevation, night riding, fatigue, etc. When you mix all of these into a race scenario (especially a 24-hr where skills, etc. start to get sloppy with each pedal stroke that passes as the clock ticks away), it's unfortunately the newbie who gets the short-end of the stick. Case in point here.

    Over the course of my 16 laps, I saw everything. A lot of BS, very risky passing, etc. Most of which was caused by the "Elite" among us (that is, the Pro and Expert level racers) who think they've got something to prove by setting the fastest lap times, show-boating, etc. These guys race and know the ins-and-outs of passing in O-Cups, etc. But, that's when you are racing against riders of similar skill-levels....that is, you each know how to pass, when to pass and how to be passed. At a 24-hr, this isn't always the case (and likely isn't).

    Again, a very unfortunate incident (can't really call it an accident) that didn't need to happen. Hopefully, this won't tarnish his view of 24-hr racing...because, it really is fun and rewarding.
    Ride Hard,
    Mike B. (MCM# 7.77)
    http://www.one-speed.com

  6. #6
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    Yes, O-Cup racing is another story

    Glad you liked our group! We have a reputation for being fast, and having fun at the same time. BIG AIR has become our 24 event signature.

    I agree that O-Cup races can be aggressive and have its own risk, but everyone seems to know how to pass, where to pass, and how to be passed. I, for one being not terribly fast, will look back and allow someone faster bearing on me to pass before entering a single-track section. Highly skilled racers also know the best place to do passing is also on the uphills, as downhills don't really gain you too much time and is much riskier.

    An experienced racer also knows the course fairly well, and already has planned locations to perform effective passing.

    This guy was definitely not using his brain.

    Nice story on your solo race! A good sleep can be your biggest energy booster.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ricksom
    Well, you had to see it to believe it. I have heard it happens once in a while, and I have heard other people recount their experiences, but this is the first time I have witnessed it front row centre. I was sitting next to the race trail at the last 24 Hours of Summer Solstice in Albion Hills, in the Caledon Cycling Club booth (the one with all the smiley, yellow Frisbees). Now, this section of trail is not really single-track nor double-track, but because of the mud holes and narrow lane tape, it would not be the most ideal place to pass. But someone decided to give it a try.

    ... I can see the pressure of fame, a big prize win, or qualifying for the national team or the Olympics being a cause for such aggression, but a fun 24 hour race!!!????

    There was a time when if you caused an accident, you became responsible for the assistance and recovery of that person until medical help arrived. And that has been the signature value of any fellow mountain biker for quite some time. Until now, I guess.
    Why not forward your post to Chico Racing? Maybe Adam can try and curtail these sh!t-heads or put some penalties in place for the next race...
    this space left intentionally blank

  8. #8
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    Just adding my $0.02

    Quote Originally Posted by SSteel
    Why not forward your post to Chico Racing? Maybe Adam can try and curtail these sh!t-heads or put some penalties in place for the next race...
    Agreed. I was happy to see some folks speaking up about some of these yahoos. Race etiquette is not rocket science. Just let them know you are coming...I race on Tuesday nights there and would say I am usually mid pack in my age category, now that it's mid season. There are 2-3 guys, and it's usually the same ones who pass me every week quite close, and often in a compromising spot. This would be okay if they actually said anything prior to passing. I have had some choice words for them on the way by a couple of times. It's going to be that one time I go off line or am slightly off balance that I slam into one of them. If I knew me or my equipment would be safe, I would consider doing it purposefully just to wake them up. It's a simple courtesy to keep things safe all of the time.

    That being said, I also found at the race this weekend that there was an abundance of inexperienced, nervous riders out there. Not to discourage anyone from coming to these events and striving to improve themselves on the trails, but there is also a way to be cognisent of the oncoming rider. I did make 5-6 passes in spots where I might not consider otherwise if it wasn't a race. Unfortunately, I am not prepared to sit behind a much slower rider for 1-2kms of singletrack. These are my fastest areas and it's one of my few strengths to make up time. However, in passing, I always let the rider know well ahead of time that I am coming and which side I wish to pass on. While it was a great course layout on the weekend (maybe not for all...), there were limited passing opportunities on the new section of trails across the road.

    Sorry for all of the blah, blah, but I am actually planning on mentioning to Sean tomorrow night about reminding both the skilled and not so skilled riders about etiquette and passing safety on the trails. Nobody wants to get banged up due to someone else's negligence, or ignorance. It's one thing to have a short flight over you bars due to your own eagerness, but due to another rider...I don't think so...

    Safe riding!!!

  9. #9

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    Rider Etiquette.

    Hey Guys.
    Thanks for the thoughts in regards to this most serious of matters. As the organizer it is hard to know really what is going on out in the field, and having taken part in my share of races I can see both sides of the coin.

    The problem truly manifests itself if someone is hurt due to someone's aggressive tendencies, as seems to have been the case in front of the Caledon group. I too hope this person hasn't been tainted by a bad first experience, but wouldn't blame him if he was.
    I hear all kinds of feedback in regards to racing etiquette, and actually heard a lot of good things that came out of the recent 24 Hours of Summer Solstice. Of course, with a field consisting of every level of rider you'll comments as varied as they are, and I wish it was easy to wave a magic wand and make everybody tone down their aggressive nature. Unfortunately, we're seeing it more and more in day to day life, in line-ups, certainly on the roads as any road rider can attest, and anywhere else where inconvenienced people are forced to show their true colours.

    On the flip side, slower riders should realize their positions and try not to hold up the faster riders for significant amounts of time. I've heard of slower riders who steadfastly hold their positions until doubletrack, which can be a long time coming. I do try to make the singletrack sections short, and have to accommodate an ever-growing desire for more singletrack in my courses, so the problem isn't likely to get any better. So, I do think some riders could be more courteous in letting the faster riders by. Unfortunately, they could sour the feelings of faster riders towards the rest of the slower groups.

    Having agreed that this kind of behaviour is a problem, I'd like to hear some suggestions. I've ranted many a time about being courteous, but really is a guy standing in front of you moments before a race with a microphone in his hand really going to change your etiquette on the trail. Unfortunately if they're that way, and they're probably in their mid 30's, the largest segment of the racing demographic, they're not likely to change. I wish I could go ride with them and monitor it that way (which I threatened to do at the Tuesday Night Series once or twice), but I can't.
    So, beyond some harsh words at the start line, perhaps I'll make a couple of signs, along the lines of "rules of the trail", and hope they get read.
    As for immediate action, I love nothing more than talking to particular riders so if you have any specific problems, whether it be at a weekly series or 24 hour, let Adam or I know and we'll be sure to have a quick chat.

    NIce to hear your thoughts, and feel free to contact me anytime at Chico Racing.

    Thanks.
    Sean Ruppel

  10. #10
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    What about going back to the idea of putting bib numbers on the back of rider jerseys/packs (or a rear facing mini # plate)?
    This way offending teams could be identified.
    Then institute a rule where if any team gets, say 2 complaints they suffer a time penalty. Three instances = a greater penalty, and so on.

    Maybe make it so that the top 5 or 10 teams in each division cannot lodge a complaint - to prevent false accusations aimed at undermining another team's lead.

    This is just an off-the-top-of-the-head idea. I welcome constuctive feedback.
    Last edited by SSteel; 06-28-2005 at 08:53 AM.
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  11. #11
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    Hmmm...

    What about going back to the idea of putting bib numbers on the back of rider jerseys/packs (or a rear facing mini # plate)?
    This way offending teams could be identified.
    Then institute a rule where if any team gets, say 2 complaints they suffer a time penalty. Three instances = a greater penalty, and so on.

    Maybe make it so that the top 5 or 10 teams in each division cannot lodge a complaint - to prevent false accusations aimed at undermining another team's lead.

    This is just an off-the-top-of-the-head idea. I welcome constuctive feedback. [/QUOTE]

    Not a bad idea, but it's too subjective unfortunately. I think some of the weaker riders that are too scared to get out of the way even with proper notice would still take exception and complain. I am as courteous as ever out there to let folks know what side and when. Yet I could tell a couple of folks in the 24hr didn't necessarily appreciate me passing them...I passed a female rider right before the finish section of stones and logs at the Solstice, with lots of room and notice. She went down. Don't know if I scared her or what, but I wasn't going to sit tentatively behind and go slow. Last time I did that...well you take a look @ www.specimage.com 2004 Solstice team # 270, pic 5157...Being tentative is a dangerous game too, but that doesn't excuse poor etiquette.

  12. #12
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    Improved Etiquette

    Quote Originally Posted by SSteel
    Why not forward your post to Chico Racing? Maybe Adam can try and curtail these sh!t-heads or put some penalties in place for the next race...
    Just thought I would post the improvements of many of the riders last night at the Tues night series at Albion. I had forwarded this link to Sean a couple of days back via email, hence his post. Also, last night prior to the race I mentioned that a couple of culprits were continually making dangerous passes without any notification of what side, etc...Needless to say, he made light of it at the start line last night in letting people know that there has been some suspect manouvres going on and that some folks had expressed concern. Well, in three years doing this series, this was clearly the best night for riders communicating on the trails.

    Some riders just seem to need to be reminded. It's easy for all of us to get caught up on the ride and forget about the simple courtesy of others on the trail. Hopefully, these reminders will continue from time to time, if only it saves a couple riders from a dangerous cirmcumstance...

  13. #13
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    keep your rubber down man...

    :-)

    unfortunately, i think the only thing that can be done is to emphasize, time and again and in bold letters some rules for these events, in the handout materials and on the website. Slower riders must realize that if they dont let faster riders pass them, they will get passed anyway, and in that case, faster rider may not excercise enough caution as if he/she was let pass...

    other than that, one can only plea with faster riders to protect slower riders as much as they can... i witnessed few slower riders lose their mind almost in some situations when they were passed by faster riders just like that... there is nothing we can do about it... and i DO NOT WANT TO SEE MORE DOUBLE TRACK... if anything, i want to see less double track...



    Quote Originally Posted by mtbmeister
    What about going back to the idea of putting bib numbers on the back of rider jerseys/packs (or a rear facing mini # plate)?
    This way offending teams could be identified.
    Then institute a rule where if any team gets, say 2 complaints they suffer a time penalty. Three instances = a greater penalty, and so on.

    Maybe make it so that the top 5 or 10 teams in each division cannot lodge a complaint - to prevent false accusations aimed at undermining another team's lead.

    This is just an off-the-top-of-the-head idea. I welcome constuctive feedback.
    Not a bad idea, but it's too subjective unfortunately. I think some of the weaker riders that are too scared to get out of the way even with proper notice would still take exception and complain. I am as courteous as ever out there to let folks know what side and when. Yet I could tell a couple of folks in the 24hr didn't necessarily appreciate me passing them...I passed a female rider right before the finish section of stones and logs at the Solstice, with lots of room and notice. She went down. Don't know if I scared her or what, but I wasn't going to sit tentatively behind and go slow. Last time I did that...well you take a look @ www.specimage.com 2004 Solstice team # 270, pic 5157...Being tentative is a dangerous game too, but that doesn't excuse poor etiquette.[/QUOTE]

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