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Crit racing etiquette

explosifpeteexplosifpete Posts: 1,327
edited May 2012 in Amateur race
Rode my second crit race yesterday and was pushed out of the side and off the back a lot!
I'm used to pack riding but not used to people trying to force your off your line, i'm happy to join in the rough housing but would like to know the "rules" first as i don't want to over step the mark.

Main things I learned way that once someone has there front wheel past yours they should swing in to you, if you help someone who has also got dropped they will do no work but still nip passed you at the line and when cornering you should take a really bad line and then cut everyone up :x


  • Kona21Kona21 Posts: 107
    Try to keep it single file around tight bends, faster and safer for everyone. I dont like it when people nip up the inside on bends but.. if you want to make it to the front of the group you will have to do this now and again as on the straights its normally to strung out to make up places.
    Lose a wheel and expect someone else to take it from you and push you out of the line, but also make sure you do this to other people.
    Their forcing you to the back of the group, do the same to them. (without contact)
    Dont switch anyone is the main rule, other than that, get stuck in.
    Opera Super Leonardo
    Campag Super Record 11
    Corima Aero + wheels ... t=12777242
  • racingcondorracingcondor Posts: 1,434

    Welcome to racing!

    Sounds like there are a couple of things at work. It may be that you are less comfortable riding very close to others and as a result you are backing off (clearly not true if you're making contact), it may also be that you're not used to reading the pack yet (very likely in your first races). Even in 3/4 crits you can ride smoothly with little braking if you know how.

    That said it is incredible how poor a lot of people are at cornering. In your first races you should aim just to learn how the pack moves, how to brake early enough that you're not responding to the rider in front or braking in corners and I would advise getting used to riding close to others without making contact (contact is very much optional and shouldn't be necessary if both riders are riding well).

    Where are you racing?
  • acidstratoacidstrato Posts: 945
    Ride at the front - problem solved

    my rule of thumb is don't half wheel anyone and don't allow anyone half wheeling me to push me off my line
    Crafted in Italy apparantly
  • Monty DogMonty Dog Posts: 20,614
    If you're a big guy and you're prepared to mix-it then you can use your physical presence to simply 'boss' the others - e.g. leaning-on to others, touching elbows anything that doesn't involve forcing others off the road or removing your hands from the bars is generally fair game. As a small rider, I've had some 'fun' racing in Belgium - I once had a 6ft6 guy trying to lean-on to me in a pace line to get out the wind - I just kept putting my shoulder into his thigh, he gave up after a while and my buddy was laughing his head off. I generally just try to stay tucked into the pack, making sure I have a minimal gap in front of my front wheel.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • explosifpeteexplosifpete Posts: 1,327
    thanks for the tips guys,
    So pretty much anything goes then!
    One question, what does "Dont switch anyone is the main rule" that mean?
    Oh and the race was at north weald and has everything from juniors to pro riders in it
  • Kona21Kona21 Posts: 107
    My understanding of 'switching' is moving from the left to the right, or vice versa suddenly. Perfect example is the bad crash if this years giro when Cav came off in the sprint.
    Chances are people will overlap wheels and if you move over suddenly you will touch wheels.
    Pretty much stand your ground without doing anything stupid
    Opera Super Leonardo
    Campag Super Record 11
    Corima Aero + wheels ... t=12777242
  • GiantMikeGiantMike Posts: 3,139
    At my last race somebody kept touching my @rse. It's a good way to get some space; act like a lycra pervert.
  • DavidJBDavidJB Posts: 2,019
    If I want a line and I sense the other rider is weak I will force my way in...this is normally a case of moving in slowly. If someone tries to take my line I just sit there and they realise it's not going to happen. The main thing is to be clear about what you're doing. Some people will moan at you but that's because they don't like being forced out...

    That being said...there is a fine line between controlled aggression and acting like an idiot that's going to cause a crash make sure you know what that line is...because if you cause a crash from acting like a reckless moron you won't win any friends and could find yourself banned.
  • ProssPross Posts: 25,004
    If you have the position you want then be prepared to aggressively defend it. In most cases people are pushing as far as they are prepared to go in order to intimidate you into giving up your position. Make it clear you're not moving by keeping tight on the wheel in front and if necessary shout at them to **** off so they get the message that you aren't giving in. They'll find a weaker rider to bully - it's like those wildlife documentaries where a lion is trying to detach a weak antelope from the pack :lol:

    Fortunately, I'm usually dropped coming out of the first corner on a crit so don't have to worry :oops:
  • DavidJBDavidJB Posts: 2,019
    Pross wrote:
    Fortunately, I'm usually dropped coming out of the first corner on a crit so don't have to worry :oops:

    Dropped or just conserving energy for when they come round again ;)?
  • racingcondorracingcondor Posts: 1,434
    Not switching is the flip side to holding your line.

    If you assume the bunch is riding 4 abreast and you are second from the left the fastest way through a tight left turn would probably be to go wide right and turn in to hit the apex. The problem is that to do that you've just run two people to your right off the road and then cut across someone to your left. If you ride with the flow of the bunch you'll find you move to the right a bit (but leaving room for the two riders outside you) and then cut in so that the person to your left can hit the apex. Your line wasn't the best through the corner but was the best that you could safely ride.

    Cutting in or switching is moving from one line to another e.g. moving from 2nd from the left into the line that the 3rd from left rider should be in and then cutting back in to hit the apex. The danger is fairly obvious, sooner or later you'll cut across someones wheel and cause them (and probably whoever is behind them) to crash.

    It's also why diving up the inside annoys people, that's where a rider (in this example) overtakes up the left of the bunch into the corner and forces the person who was on the left to make room effecting the 'line' of all 4 people hitting the corner with them (not all of whom necessarily even know they're there).
  • okgookgo Posts: 4,368
    I personally don't like contact, because most people applying it don't know what they're doing! I had some guy more than lean on me, almost rode into me from the left hand side on a 40 mph downhill. I lent back, called him a fing cnut and told him he'd be in the weeds if he did that again. You don't need to start pushing people around, and its very unsafe to do so.

    Don't be afraid to say on your left, on your right or whatever to stop people switching right in front of you, and if someone is edging into you, a hand on the back to push them gently back will work well.
    Blog on my first and now second season of proper riding/racing -
  • Tom DeanTom Dean Posts: 1,723
    tut tut okgo. DQ for swearing :)
  • okgookgo Posts: 4,368

    There's plenty of swearing in every race I've done. If someone does something stupid they'll hear about it with a peppering of 4 letter words :D
    Blog on my first and now second season of proper riding/racing -
  • Its good to train within a group leaning against each other with shoulders or go 3 abreast right hand on guy on rights left shoulder etc - it helped me get used to a bit of contact...first time it happened to me (before the practice) i paniced, swerved and took out the guy on my left :oops:
  • racingcondorracingcondor Posts: 1,434
    Good points about contact. Like okgo I avoid it where I can but it's not always something you have much choice in so getting used to it is a good idea (not necessarily for your first race though). I've only had one solid contact in 50+ races (luckily with a very good rider, I bounced off, he barely moved!).

    I would say though that knowing you can do it safely is a benefit though, it's great fun stealing the wheel someone is following just by riding inside their personal space, no contact needed...
  • protoproto Posts: 1,477
    Love it when someone in a 4th cat race at Hillingdon, trying to squeeze up the inside, virtually on the grass, will announce to the bloke in front of him, "coming through on your left". "Er, .......... no your not, f*ck off!!"
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