Ghost Riders or Start times?-
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  1. #1
    Team Trail Head
    Join Date
    Jun 2008

    Ghost Riders or Start times?

    I love enduro racing. It brings together the two things like best, riding and talking about riding. Like a 24 hour team event, you can finish your run, and then regroup with your buds and casually talk about your run (or lie) as you climb up to the next start. So much fun.

    Sometimes races are run where there is a start time and a start interval, like a minute or 30 seconds. But more often there is a more casual approach, like at CESs, where you spin to the top and get in line and go. And usually with this casual approach, if it turns out that, say Jeff Kendall-Weed gets in line behind you, the gate-keeper will put a ghost-rider in line behind you so that JKW won't have to deal with your dust and a possible pass. Passing in enduro racing should never happen.

    But last year, I had to deal with slower riders in front of me on two of my segments. Sure, they always try to get out of the way, but it's still hard to have a clean race run dealing with dust and finding a passing lane when you should be just dealing with the gnar.

    In particular, this happened to me at the China Peak enduro, where the starting gate keepers would not allow a ghost-rider because "if I let in ghost riders we'll be out here all day." ('we' being the race organisers) Yeah, I kinda crashed when passing and lost the day. It's an unforgiving format.

    I think the other solution would be to have preset start times, or at least start times for categories, and then things can self sort. But I think that this would ruin some of the casual, group goodness.

    How should Enduros be formatted to minimize passing?
    aka Uncle Bri

  2. #2
    Professional Slacker
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    They should allow ghost riders when it's apparent that the next rider may be faster. A few extra minutes won't hurt the race organizers.

    I know that last year at the local Super-D series, the top three, THREE, riders in the 40-49 Cat 2 class passed the last guy to go from the 30-39 class. Seeding people according to their standing in the series makes sense, until you're the fastest guy in one class going 30 seconds after the slowest guy in the other. I'll be sure to ask for, or suggest to whoever goes first, that they add in some time for padding next time.

    I also did the Fears, Tears and Beers enduro with ~100 riders and they had absolutely no problem with delayed starts...and that's a long course, and a long day for everyone.

    If race organizers can't and won't run a good quality race, don't pay them for it.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    It's part of racing. If you're consistently passing people, and it bothers you, go into a higher category. Passing even happens in DH races. It's part of racing. The only way to guaranty no passing would occur would be to not allow a rider to start a stage until the previous rider had finished. Then you're looking at much more standing around and fewer stages for everyone.

    Sure, adding a few extra minutes here or there doesn't seem like a big deal, but over the course of 4 or 5 stages and 100 riders, it adds up quick. Seriously, it's a pain in the butt to finish event and run out of beer before the awards start 2 hours late because riders were asking for ghost riders.

    I'm a big fan of what our local series has settled into. Instead of mass starts, they send out the categories in waves: pro, then cat I (by ages -- fastest age groups first), then cat 2, etc. Our series doesn't shuttle, so the first to the top is the first to the bottom. It's been my experience that there might be some passing in the first stages, but not much in the last few stages. Our organizers instruct everyone that if they're caught just get out of the way, you've already lost 30 seconds, you're not going to win.

    Our local series arrived at that format after a lot of different things, including assigned start times. Taking out all shuttles helped a lot, too. That said, sometimes a pro gets mixed into a lower category during the course of the day. Usually, we're all OK letting them take a gap before they drop in to minimize the amount of passing. Usually, we're not OK with a Cat 2 racer trying to do the same thing; if they think they're that fast, they need to Cat up.

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