Thursday, June 30, 2011

Conduct during cycling events

I can't tell you the number of times I've seen/heard competitors finger pointing, jawing, trash talking, etc. during a race..only for it to continue into the parking lot AFTER the race.  (If not with the competitor with their friends regarding a competitor.)  Heck, it doesn't even have to be in a race..I've seen/heard it happening on group training rides.  To be honest with you, I think we've all been guilty of it (jawing, trash talking, cursing, etc.) at one time or another.  I've even heard of guys swinging at each other..not only during a race but in the parking lot after the race.  For those of you that don't race, you might be wondering/thinking..that's ridiculous, how can anyone get that "fired-up" about a bike race..especially if you're only an amateur and race for fun on the weekends?  I'll tell you why, because when you're riding at 30+ mph and somebody cuts you off in a turn, or tries to run you off the road, the last thing you want to do is crash which could result in an ambulance ride to the hospital.  So, rider safety is paramount in cycling racing.  BTW, not all of these actions (cutting-off riders) are "intentional" they are "accidental".  Regardless, if you're not sure of your riding ability to hold lines in tight turns..then maybe you should be working/practicing on your riding skills a little bit more on the weekends rather than racing.  And, just because you're a Cat 3 racer doesn't mean your riding skills are up to par.  I've seen Cat 4/5 racers with better riding/racing skills than some Cat 3 racers..since the Cat 3 racers upgraded quickly (because their power got em their points), and haven't been racing as long.

Anyway, lets get back to rider conduct during a race.  The USA Cycling rule(s) I see broken most often during races, regarding conduct, are:

1Q6. Abuse.
(a) No rider or licensee may be disrespectful toward organizers, officials, riders or spectators [warning for minor offense; possible relegation of rider; and/or up to a $50 fine].
(b) No rider or licensee may use foul or abusive language or conduct during a race event [disqualification and 15 days suspension].
(c) No licensee may assault (an unlawful attempt, coupled with the present ability, to commit a violent injury on the person of another) or do battery (any willful and unlawful use of force or violence upon the person of another) to anyone connected with any event (including but not limited to riders, officials, spectators, public officials, etc...) held under a USA Cycling permit. [disqualified from the event, prohibited from participating in another event for 72 hours & suspended for up to one (1) year after due process]

1Q7. No rider may make an abrupt motion so as to interfere with the forward progress of another rider, either intentionally or by accident [relegation or disqualification; possible 20 days suspension if a crash results].

1Q8. Dangerous Rider. Any rider who appears to present a danger to the other competitors may be disqualified by the Chief Referee, either before, during, or after a race.
So, how do you make sure you don't break any of these rules?  Just hold your line, pedal hard and keep your mouth shut and race.  If a rider posed a danger to you or others during the race..get his/her bib number and report them to an official after the race.  I know if you come up to me and say something, I WILL have a word with the rider in question.  As you know, there are ALWAYS two sides of the story.  If a rider keeps "jawing" or "trash talking" during a race..just tell them to "shut-up and race."  Don't tell him/her to "shut the F$#k up and race" or you're going to hear it from me- if I hear it.  If there is a "squirrely rider" get away from them during the race and report them afterwards.  If you do say something to the rider after the polite.  Call the rider to the side.  You don't want to embarrass them in front of their friends.  Remember, we are all guilty of it (cutting people off by accident) at one time or another.  Hell, I reached in my back pocket one time for a Gu and almost took two guys out.  I, however, apologized profusely during and after the race.
One last thing, and I see/hear this all the time.  Don't be yelling at other riders during the race that they're NOT working hard enough or pulling through.  There could be a reason for it..other than saving themselves for the final sprint.  There have been times that I've bridged a gap to get up to the lead group and all but completely burned-out in the process.  So, the last thing I was going to do was take my turn pulling.  I just sat in the back, not taking my turn, and waiting until I got my legs back.  THEN, I would take my turn.  Now, if you DON'T take your turn (in time) ready to take an earful.  In which case- you deserve it.  Just make sure you don't throw any F-bombs in earshot of an official. ha
Be safe, shut-up and race!  Power ON!  Coach Rob

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