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What is a "marked man" (or woman) in a race?

burnthesheepburnthesheep Posts: 675
edited February 2018 in Amateur race
I'm starting racing this year, and I've seen this term thrown around. I kind of get it......people have an eye out for you. I don't get how they know that. Other than if you have a past reputation.

I'm not too concerned about that because I'm new! Nobody is going to say "that guy did such and such, let's get him!"

At the same time, I've heard that the group may "mark" you based on things they observe. Like what you wear, or what you physically look like or if they notice you having too easy a time making it over the small hills. I've seen someone get talked about at a distance because they were seen warming up on a turbo. God forbid you warm-up.

Other than not being a knob and trying to not stand out, anyway of avoiding this gang-up?

Posts

  • webboowebboo Posts: 2,892
    Get dropped on the first corner or hill :D
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,001
    The 'group' is not some kind of hive mind. Just don't worry about it and concentrate on racing instead.
  • timothywtimothyw Posts: 2,482
    Term comes from football...

    Broadly, when defending you can either mark zonally (so a player will defend a particular area of the pitch, and whatever opposition player happens to be in it) or you can man mark, where you always mark a particular player.

    You can google zonal vs man marking and find out lots about that and the arguments around it.... often a hybrid system might be played where you ensure that the opposition's star player is always marked, hence the 'marked man'.

    The way it translates to cycling is that if a rider is known to be strong, then you will want to keep an eye on him - or 'mark' him - so that if he moves you are ready to jump onto his wheel - as if he gets up the road, he is likely to stay away and win.

    Riders who are thought to be weak are usually allowed to breakaway, because the expectation is that they won't be able to maintain their effort and so will be caught as the race progresses.

    Similarly if you had a strong sprinter in a race you might deliberately position yourself to obstruct them coming into the final lap, in order to enhance your own chance in the sprint (or your teammates), so marking them.

    Realistically, for a cat 3/4 race most of the talk about 'marked men' is likely to be banter rather than anything that the riders actually implement in the course of the race. Certainly you are unlikely to be marked yourself unless you are visibly stronger than everyone else, or have won a few things.

    This is of course where the art of bluff comes in.... affecting a cough, talk of 'just trying to get some miles in', wearing knee warmers etc. Anything to make people think you aren't a threat to their performance, in short.
  • marykamaryka Posts: 745
    Whatever gets you noticed, good or bad. You could be a liability in the bunch and that would make you a marked rider in my eyes because I don't want to be anywhere near you. Or you could be a solid person to be in a break with, so I would mark you as someone who if they got away, I'd make an effort to join, knowing you'd work hard in a break.

    With teams, it's basically just the best rider or two, so when discussing other teams with your own team, you might point out which of the guys in the orange jerseys are the ones to watch and either close down their attacks or go with them, and which ones aren't that great and don't worry about them.

    Tbh at beginner level, only my first example applies. Everyone is marked otherwise, in the sense that racing at that level tends to be quite negative, nobody gets away, everyone is "marked" and brought back. Once you get a few races under your belt, you will understand exactly all the various subtleties of being marked, or marking people, for better or worse.

    I don't recall any ganging up on a specific rider at my races, apart from not letting obvious sprinters sit on in a break, or not letting people get away who can solo to victory. If anything, rather than ganging up on strong riders from other teams, you want to be friendly with them because these are the people you're going to be in a break with (if you're good enough). Amateur teams who think they can have all their riders in the break and bully everyone else from being in it don't really last long over here -- maybe in the USA it's different.
  • timothyw wrote:
    This is of course where the art of bluff comes in.... affecting a cough, talk of 'just trying to get some miles in', wearing knee warmers etc. Anything to make people think you aren't a threat to their performance, in short.

    Got it.
  • I think once the season gets under way you'll begin to see which riders are at the sharp end come the finish, last year in my first season of racing I became aware of one guy who I knew would be good to follow. This actually played out in one race as there was a few riders in a break with 1 lap to go. Having ridden close to him most of the race I ended up doing a lot of work with this guy as we pulled them back, he ended up about 4th or 5th in the final sprint, I think I pulled a muscle.
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,001
    timothyw wrote:
    This is of course where the art of bluff comes in.... affecting a cough, talk of 'just trying to get some miles in', wearing knee warmers etc. Anything to make people think you aren't a threat to their performance, in short.

    So you're saying 'people in knee warmers' aren't a threat?
  • timothywtimothyw Posts: 2,482
    Imposter wrote:
    timothyw wrote:
    This is of course where the art of bluff comes in.... affecting a cough, talk of 'just trying to get some miles in', wearing knee warmers etc. Anything to make people think you aren't a threat to their performance, in short.

    So you're saying 'people in knee warmers' aren't a threat?

    Well, it's one of those things that says that a rider might not be taking the race quite so seriously as some others.

    As in "I'm not here to win, I'm just here to train".

    I wouldn't base your race tactics around my insights, they've never brought me much success....
  • webboowebboo Posts: 2,892
    timothyw wrote:
    Imposter wrote:
    timothyw wrote:
    This is of course where the art of bluff comes in.... affecting a cough, talk of 'just trying to get some miles in', wearing knee warmers etc. Anything to make people think you aren't a threat to their performance, in short.

    So you're saying 'people in knee warmers' aren't a threat?

    Well, it's one of those things that says that a rider might not be taking the race quite so seriously as some others.

    As in "I'm not here to win, I'm just here to train".

    I wouldn't base your race tactics around my insights, they've never brought me much success....
    Good job you weren’t racing in Belgium at the weekend then.
  • MatthewfalleMatthewfalle Posts: 17,571
    timothyw wrote:
    Imposter wrote:
    timothyw wrote:
    This is of course where the art of bluff comes in.... affecting a cough, talk of 'just trying to get some miles in', wearing knee warmers etc. Anything to make people think you aren't a threat to their performance, in short.

    So you're saying 'people in knee warmers' aren't a threat?

    Well, it's one of those things that says that a rider might not be taking the race quite so seriously as some others.

    As in "I'm not here to win, I'm just here to train".

    I wouldn't base your race tactics around my insights, they've never brought me much success....

    Seriously?

    What bollox.

    I nearly always wear knee warmers because I have pins a go-go in there and I only turn up to win.
    Postby team47b » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:53 am

    De Sisti wrote:
    This is one of the silliest threads I've come across. :lol:

    Recognition at last Matthew, well done!, a justified honour :D
    smithy21 wrote:

    He's right you know.
  • timothywtimothyw Posts: 2,482
    I have pins a go-go in there

    Que?

    You should be glad I'm spreading misinformation on your behalf Matthew, you wouldn't want to end up a marked man. :lol:

    Obviously if everyone else is in full tights or leg warmers then the wearing of knee warmers might indicate a double hard censored who is out to ruin everyone else's day....

    But on a balmy spring evening when most others are just in shorts..... would you identify that person as a threat?
  • MatthewfalleMatthewfalle Posts: 17,571
    timothyw wrote:
    I have pins a go-go in there

    Que?

    You should be glad I'm spreading misinformation on your behalf Matthew, you wouldn't want to end up a marked man. :lol:

    Obviously if everyone else is in full tights or leg warmers then the wearing of knee warmers might indicate a double hard censored who is out to ruin everyone else's day....

    But on a balmy spring evening when most others are just in shorts..... would you identify that person as a threat?

    if they look like they know what they are doing, then yup. Sorted bike, looking fit, sorted kit, Yup - ticks all the boxes.

    Why wouldn't you?
    Postby team47b » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:53 am

    De Sisti wrote:
    This is one of the silliest threads I've come across. :lol:

    Recognition at last Matthew, well done!, a justified honour :D
    smithy21 wrote:

    He's right you know.
  • timothywtimothyw Posts: 2,482
    timothyw wrote:
    I have pins a go-go in there

    Que?

    You should be glad I'm spreading misinformation on your behalf Matthew, you wouldn't want to end up a marked man. :lol:

    Obviously if everyone else is in full tights or leg warmers then the wearing of knee warmers might indicate a double hard censored who is out to ruin everyone else's day....

    But on a balmy spring evening when most others are just in shorts..... would you identify that person as a threat?

    if they look like they know what they are doing, then yup. Sorted bike, looking fit, sorted kit, Yup - ticks all the boxes.
    Right. So how would that person avoid being seen as a threat then, because this is what the OP wanted to know?

    By not wearing knee warmers? By riding an old clunker? By unflipping their stem?
  • MatthewfalleMatthewfalle Posts: 17,571
    timothyw wrote:
    timothyw wrote:
    I have pins a go-go in there

    Que?

    You should be glad I'm spreading misinformation on your behalf Matthew, you wouldn't want to end up a marked man. :lol:

    Obviously if everyone else is in full tights or leg warmers then the wearing of knee warmers might indicate a double hard censored who is out to ruin everyone else's day....

    But on a balmy spring evening when most others are just in shorts..... would you identify that person as a threat?

    if they look like they know what they are doing, then yup. Sorted bike, looking fit, sorted kit, Yup - ticks all the boxes.
    Right. So how would that person avoid being seen as a threat then, because this is what the OP wanted to know?

    By not wearing knee warmers? By riding an old clunker? By unflipping their stem?

    By dressing in Club kit, Rapha or anything by Yanto Barker. Generally if they are anything like that you know that they are not really that great (although they think they are).
    Postby team47b » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:53 am

    De Sisti wrote:
    This is one of the silliest threads I've come across. :lol:

    Recognition at last Matthew, well done!, a justified honour :D
    smithy21 wrote:

    He's right you know.
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,001
    timothyw wrote:
    Right. So how would that person avoid being seen as a threat then, because this is what the OP wanted to know?

    By not wearing knee warmers? By riding an old clunker? By unflipping their stem?

    Best way of not being seen as a threat is by not attacking off the front every two minutes and then not disappearing out of sight and soloing to a win.
  • timothyw wrote:
    timothyw wrote:
    I have pins a go-go in there

    Que?

    You should be glad I'm spreading misinformation on your behalf Matthew, you wouldn't want to end up a marked man. :lol:

    Obviously if everyone else is in full tights or leg warmers then the wearing of knee warmers might indicate a double hard censored who is out to ruin everyone else's day....

    But on a balmy spring evening when most others are just in shorts..... would you identify that person as a threat?

    if they look like they know what they are doing, then yup. Sorted bike, looking fit, sorted kit, Yup - ticks all the boxes.
    Right. So how would that person avoid being seen as a threat then, because this is what the OP wanted to know?

    By not wearing knee warmers? By riding an old clunker? By unflipping their stem?

    By dressing in Club kit, Rapha or anything by Yanto Barker. Generally if they are anything like that you know that they are not really that great (although they think they are).
    Tounge firmly in cheek there
  • MatthewfalleMatthewfalle Posts: 17,571
    Imposter wrote:
    timothyw wrote:
    Right. So how would that person avoid being seen as a threat then, because this is what the OP wanted to know?

    By not wearing knee warmers? By riding an old clunker? By unflipping their stem?

    Best way of not being seen as a threat is by not attacking off the front every two minutes and then not disappearing out of sight and soloing to a win.

    Just imagine if they did that but were wearing knee warmers - young Timothy would be agog with veritable confusion.

    But he won
    But it’s a balmy evening
    But he won
    But he’s wearing knee warmers
    But he won
    And he isn’t even in a Club!
    Postby team47b » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:53 am

    De Sisti wrote:
    This is one of the silliest threads I've come across. :lol:

    Recognition at last Matthew, well done!, a justified honour :D
    smithy21 wrote:

    He's right you know.
  • MatthewfalleMatthewfalle Posts: 17,571
    edited February 2018
    timothyw wrote:
    timothyw wrote:
    I have pins a go-go in there

    Que?

    You should be glad I'm spreading misinformation on your behalf Matthew, you wouldn't want to end up a marked man. :lol:

    Obviously if everyone else is in full tights or leg warmers then the wearing of knee warmers might indicate a double hard censored who is out to ruin everyone else's day....

    But on a balmy spring evening when most others are just in shorts..... would you identify that person as a threat?

    if they look like they know what they are doing, then yup. Sorted bike, looking fit, sorted kit, Yup - ticks all the boxes.
    Right. So how would that person avoid being seen as a threat then, because this is what the OP wanted to know?

    By not wearing knee warmers? By riding an old clunker? By unflipping their stem?

    By dressing in Club kit, Rapha or anything by Yanto Barker. Generally if they are anything like that you know that they are not really that great (although they think they are).
    Tounge firmly in cheek there

    No - gen up.

    Anyone who looks like that - especially with pulled up trendy socks or looking like someone from the pages of Cyclist magazine or is an ardent member of a club and wears their full kit - generally really isn’t that good.
    Postby team47b » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:53 am

    De Sisti wrote:
    This is one of the silliest threads I've come across. :lol:

    Recognition at last Matthew, well done!, a justified honour :D
    smithy21 wrote:

    He's right you know.
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,001
    No - gen up.

    Anyone who looks like that - especially with pulled up trendy socks or looking like Stu Bowers - generally really isn’t that good.

    Except for the fella who won the Clayton Velo handicap at the weekend. With 'pulled-up' socks. A military man, too...
  • ShutupJensShutupJens Posts: 1,373
    Don't get too worked up about the terms people use, or what you think their perception of you is pre race. And don't try to guess who's going to be good based on their kit, that never works! Just turn up and give it a go, concentrate on the race and after two or three things will start to make sense - whether that is why everyone works hard to chase someone down or why someone is allowed to ride up the road with no one wanting to chase etc

    There's a load of things in amateur racing that don't make a lot of sense until you've experienced them
  • MatthewfalleMatthewfalle Posts: 17,571
    Imposter wrote:
    No - gen up.

    Anyone who looks like that - especially with pulled up trendy socks or looking like Stu Bowers - generally really isn’t that good.

    Except for the fella who won the Clayton Velo handicap at the weekend. With 'pulled-up' socks. A military man, too...

    Clayton Velo handicap.

    Sounds wonderful.
    Postby team47b » Sun Jun 28, 2015 11:53 am

    De Sisti wrote:
    This is one of the silliest threads I've come across. :lol:

    Recognition at last Matthew, well done!, a justified honour :D
    smithy21 wrote:

    He's right you know.
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,001
    Imposter wrote:
    No - gen up.

    Anyone who looks like that - especially with pulled up trendy socks or looking like Stu Bowers - generally really isn’t that good.

    Except for the fella who won the Clayton Velo handicap at the weekend. With 'pulled-up' socks. A military man, too...

    Clayton Velo handicap.

    Sounds wonderful.

    Sorry, I just assumed you followed the UK racing scene..
  • w00dsterw00dster Posts: 879
    We have to wear team kit when we race. Lots of races I do only allow a max of 4 riders per club, if we didn’t wear team kit it would look very sus.
    I don’t know why you wouldn’t wear it? Vast majority of the winners in my series are all team riders in full team kit. I’m trying to remember when I saw a privateer last win anything other than a 4/3 race. May be different in other parts of the country I guess.

    Quick caveat, I don’t always wear team kit for Crits, but that’s because they are early on in the season and I wear 3/4 knicks and a gabba because I’m a wuss who doesn’t like the cold.
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,001
    w00dster wrote:
    We have to wear team kit when we race. Lots of races I do only allow a max of 4 riders per club, if we didn’t wear team kit it would look very sus.
    I don’t know why you wouldn’t wear it? Vast majority of the winners in my series are all team riders in full team kit. I’m trying to remember when I saw a privateer last win anything other than a 4/3 race. May be different in other parts of the country I guess.

    Quick caveat, I don’t always wear team kit for Crits, but that’s because they are early on in the season and I wear 3/4 knicks and a gabba because I’m a wuss who doesn’t like the cold.

    quick heads up - the 'team kit' discussion is on another thread ;)
  • w00dsterw00dster Posts: 879
    My post was in relation to Matthews point about a rider in team kit probably not that useful although they think they are.
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