Elite U25 Cycling

Yankee Springs Mountain Bike Kid’s Race – Let’s Go!

April 4th, 2019 by JoAnn Cranson

By Amy Kimber

This year marks the 30th Anniversary of the Yankee Springs Time Trial on Saturday, April 27th. This is the longest running mountain bike race in the state of Michigan, beating Iceman by about 7 months.

This is an awesome event for all ages! Whatever your ability, we have something for you, and it’s free for our young racers to compete!  Make it a family event!

Athletic Mentors is proud to be running the Kids Race and Team Members will be there to support and motivate the young riders.   This event has been known to attract around 80-100 kids ages 2-12 years old (we will let older kids race too).   These races are  free, but make sure to sign up the day of the race.

Strider racers will have their own grass loop, it includes a small uphill and some big pine trees to navigate around.  There is plenty of viewing for family and friends.

Our youngest pedalers will have a challenging loop with a combination of single track and a grassy field, it’s about a ½ mile in length. The older kids will choose between one or two laps on the famous 2 mile Yankee loop known to the locals as the “warm-up loop.”  It’s 100% single track. The course offers rocks, roots, and some challenging sand pits for kids to navigate.

Come out and enjoy the day to expose your kids to the sport of mountain biking and trail riding at 8833 Twin Creek Dr, Middleville, MI.  We will have plenty of volunteers to monitor and supervise your kids during the race.  All the kid racers will receive an award!

Along with being a fun event, all proceeds go directly towards maintaining and building the many wonderful trails right here in Western Michigan.

The race schedule is listed below or visit http://yankeespringstt.org/race-day/ for more details.

Strider Race – 11:30
The Striders (bikes without pedals) will race multiple loops on a grass loop with plenty of opportunity for families and friends to cheer. This race will last roughly 15 minutes.

Beginner Race –  12:00
The beginner race will be 1/2 mile long and will consist of a mixture of single track and double track.  Beginner racers should feel comfortable riding on trail and uneven terrain.

Intermediate Race – 12:30 
The intermediate race will be 2 miles long and is mostly single track.  Intermediate racers should have the endurance to race 2 miles and the ability to handle single track on uneven terrain.  The single track is mostly hard packed dirt but does have some sandy spots with a few rocks and roots.

Expert Race – 12:30
The expert race will be 4 miles long and is mostly single track. Expert racers should have the endurance to race 4 miles and the ability to handle single track on uneven terrain. The single track is mostly hard packed dirt but does have some sandy spots with a few rocks and roots.


Traumatic Injury Life Saving Tips

March 8th, 2019 by Marie Dershem

Written by Dawn Hinz

Sadly it seems there are more car versus cyclist accidents. In 2006, 772 people were fatally injured in cycling accidents. Where as in 2016, that number was up to 840; including 5 local cyclists. (NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts)

We do everything we can as a cyclist to minimize the danger. We wear bright clothes, our bikes look like Christmas trees and most importantly, we follow the rules of the road. Unfortunately that doesn’t guarantee that we aren’t seriously injured. What should you do if tragedy strikes you or your group?

  • Everyone should carry a cell phone on their body. I do not agree with keeping your phone in a bag on your bike. If you are thrown from your bike you may not be able to reach your phone.
  • KNOW WHERE YOU ARE. You should know your route and where you are along that route. This way when you call 911, emergency personnel can find you as quickly as possible, when every minute counts. Go one step further and set up an activity tracker that relays your location to a reliable person who is not a part of the ride. This way they get a notification if you stop moving and can call for help.
  • Know how many people are in your group. 911 will need to know how many patients need an ambulance. Then, go help your friends. You should know any help you render will be covered under Michigan’s Good Samaritan Act (MCL 691.1501). This law basically states that a volunteer trying to help someone cannot be held liable if those actions cause further injury; excepting gross negligence.
  • Do not move someone unless the location causes further danger or harm. I.e. Perhaps you need to slide someone off the road if traffic is not slowing down or giving you space.
  • Do not unnecessarily adjust the patient’s head. If you hear snoring, gurgling or no breaths then gently place the head in a “sniffing” position.
  • If you see blood, control the bleeding with direct and continuous pressure. Put your hand or hands over the wound and keep pressure on the wound until help arrives. Every red blood cell counts.
  • If it is cold or even slightly chilly outside keep the patient warm if possible. Hypothermia causes shivering which wastes precious ATP. Even slight hypothermia will worsen a trauma patient’s outcome. Give them your jacket or get blankets from bystanders.

With these actions you have given your friends a fighting chance in the Emergency Room. If you would like to take it one step further then it is time to find a First Aid and CPR class. Stay safe out there.


The “Professional” Athlete

April 13th, 2018 by Marie Dershem

One definition offered by the Merriam Webster dictionary defines the word professional as “characterized by or conforming to the technical or ethical standards of a profession”. Further, it defines a profession as “a principal calling, vocation, or employment”, another way of saying a profession is a job. Seriousness of conduct is at a higher level then what one would approach with a hobby. Though we don’t race for a living, everyone on a team benefits from professionalism. Here are a few ways to be “professional” and how it positively impacts yourself and the team?

 

 

Sharp Dressed (Wo)man

Nothing says “conforming to the technical” like a group that looks the same. More than matching jerseys and bibs, a truly professional look includes socks, helmets, accessory equipment (glasses, gloves, shoe covers, bikes, etc.) and even cool weather wear. It’s imperative riders maintain a clean bike and kit. Team Athletic Mentors’ management puts a lot of attention and effort towards projecting a brand and we all have a role in that.

Take Pride in Your Team

A professionally run team establishes a vision and follows it. TAM has looked to develop riders. Some have gone on to higher ranks, like the ProTour, and even become nationa

l champions. As a member of the team, you are part of that legacy. When other riders see you, they see a team with high standards and a history of success. You have been chosen to continue an image, so take pride. This pride is not just racing or riding in your kit, but wearing the team casual wear during cycling and promotional events.

Team Mates and Sponsors First

Being professional means holding up your end of a bargain. Part of this is supporting the sponsors that provide resources to the team. Take every opportunity to promote sponsors’ products, keeping negative assessments within the team. Following through on your contractual agreements maintains the team’s ability to keep and hold sponsors. Think of your actions as reflecting those on your jersey and in your jersey.

Be an Ambassador

True professionals take responsibility to foster their livelihood. At our level, that means promoting the sport we love. Be approachable by strangers. Look to help more novice racers. Get in front of the camera. Most of us aren’t genetic freaks destine for greatness in cycling, but, rather, people passionate about a sport. Project that passion by supporting it any positive way so people see it means something to someone. People appreciate passion.

Make a Good First Impression

A professional conducts themselves at a high character level consistently. Sharp looking, organized teams get noticed, which makes the need to act your best even more important. Maintain an even keel during the heat of racing. Communicate with others through social media, in person, or other means, as if the spotlight was always on. This includes when giving our opinion with race officials and promoters. Don’t forget having your attire leave no doubt who you race for while on the podium.

Add Value to Your Team

A well run team has a lot of moving pieces. Those pieces working in concert are what make an organization better than the sum of its parts. Try to look for ways to help, even if it’s just to offer your assistance. Most athletes have an expertise in some area(s), even if it’s just time, that can benefit everyone. Few good things happen by chance, but through effort by someone that cared.

Support Your Team Mates

One quality of a good team is people want to be a part of it. This usually isn’t the clothes they get, bikes they ride or deals offered. It comes down to feeling part of something where they are supported. Giving assistance, passing on knowledge, watching a fellow team mate and cheering them on are part of this support. It’s always best to feel we can share our triumphs and tragedies.

It’s a privilege to be on any well run team, but especially ours. Show that appreciation by projecting a professional image and sportsmanship. Represent yourself, your team, and the sport of cycling well.


Tips for Braving (and Enjoying) a Rainy Ride

October 25th, 2017 by Kaitlyn Patterson

–By Charlie Seymour

Riding in the rain can be a very intimidating or tough task. Many people would rather just ride the trainer when the weather is less than ideal because of convenience. However if it is done the right way, riding in the rain can be a very enjoyable experience. I have compiled a list of important tips and tricks to make riding in the rain fun.

The first topic is clothing choice. No matter what you wear, you will get wet so keep that in mind when choosing a kit to wear. I went for a road ride in 60 degrees and my choice consisted of regular mountain bike shoes, cycling socks, Giordana arm warmers and knee warmers, Giordana bibs and a short sleeve jersey, a wind vest and a Giordana rain jacket. I chose not to wear gloves as I like to keep a natural grip on the bars. Glasses are a must, and a cycling cap helps with rain getting behind the glasses. If your ride is in the evening then go for a clear lens rather than a shaded one.

Riding late in the day while raining brings me to my next point, which is visibility. Front and rear lights are an essential piece to have, as many drivers sight is affected by the rain and they are less likely to look for cyclists. A flashing front and rear light will help dramatically. I chose to use a 900 lumen front light and a 60 lumen rear light. The front light is very important because there is no sun to light up the roads and the rain makes things look even darker.  

My next tip is about bike setup. I chose to ride my mountain bike on bike paths and a few roads. Make sure to plan your route before, and try to leave out tight and fast corners because grip is very limited in the rain. An added tip is to lower tire pressure to provide a larger contact patch with the road. I also applied rock n’ roll extreme lube to my chain before my ride. The rain will make your drivetrain very gritty, which will wear your components out faster than dry conditions. Using a wet lube displaces water from the chain compared to a dry lube.

For many people riding in the rain has a big mental block. The biggest way to get over this is to accept the fact that you will get soaked. You can only get covered in so much water, so enjoy riding through puddles! Another tip is to keep your phone and other things in a plastic bag so it does not ruin them. Once you have returned from your ride, try your best to get most of the water off of your bike with a towel, especially the chain and cassette. This will prevent your drivetrain from rusting and avoid a large bill for new parts. Also, if possible, wash your kit immediately after your ride because if it is left wet and folded on top of itself, it will create a lot of bacteria. If a washer is not available, hang you kit to let it air dry and then wash when it is available.

Many people find riding in the rain to be a lot of fun, so try it out to change things up a bit!


Catching the Cyclocross Bug

October 6th, 2017 by Kaitlyn Patterson

-By Charlie Seymour

Last week, I lined up for my first cyclocross race of the year. Primarily, I am a mountain biker, but with mountain bike season winding down, I decided to change my focus from the MiSCA race series, to the Michigan cyclocross series. The race this week was at Glengary park in Wixom Michigan, so it was considered to be my “home course”, meaning I was able to go out and do some course preview the day before. The course featured a lot of fast, grassy sections with a few tight corners, a set of barriers, and a run up with a set of barriers at the top and bottom of the hill. The lack of rain in the days leading up to the race made for a very dry and dusty race. My race was at 2 p.m, with the sun beating down on the course, causing temperatures to reach the mid 90’s, very unusual for a September cyclocross race. I got to the venue about an hour and a half before the start to the junior race. I did my usual warm up and then heard the call for the juniors to report to the staging area. I made my way over, had a last few words with my coach, and then the juniors had their call ups.

It was zone 4 fun right from the whistle. The first lap went as expected, I kept a strong pace and had perfect skills, as I had practiced. I led the race for laps 2-5 with Hayden Fox, from Andrie Machine Star, right on my rear wheel. Being on my mountain bike, I had a pretty big disadvantage in the fast parts of the course, particularly on the flat sections. I kept a hard pace going the whole race, despite the very hot weather. On the run up on the second to last lap, I stumbled and had to jump off my bike, where I would usually go over the barriers and shoot up the hill, and had to run up it. Hayden saw this and capitalized on it, slowly gaining time on me, until he was beyond reach. We both had our fastest laps on the last lap, and he ended up coming away with the win, with me shortly behind. It was one of my favorite races of the year, and made me super excited for the next race.


Legacy of a Cycling Family

September 25th, 2017 by Kaitlyn Patterson

By Ross Williams 

Cycling/bike racing is a sport that provides a diverse variety of opportunity and experiences. Travel, the unique local attractions, sights and culinary experiences of the bike race scene and comradery with like -minded people are just a few of those offered. I’ve done plenty and experienced much on my way through the circuit. However, cycling is not something I just stumbled on and decided to pursue on my own. You see, I come from a cycling family.

Imagine this, you are a middle-class family from Mid Michigan, planning a weekend get -away. You team up with your neighborhood friends and decide on a trip of camping and biking in Northern Michigan. Would you pedal your 1960, 3-speed Schwinn through the hills of Leelanau County, or out and back Old Mission Peninsula? My grandparents did and they lived and laughed to tell us about it. I have the legacy of biking in my family.

That same 1960 3-Speed Schwinn Traveler that rode through the hills of Leelanau, rode my mom to kindergarten. That bike was well cared for and preserved by my grandpa and my mom rides it to this day. Legacy.

It was during a recent return trip from St. Louis, MO, and the Gateway Cup that memories of great times biking as a family came to me. You see, there is a lot of car travel involved in bike racing, a LOT. It affords ample time for reflection and goal setting. Often, driving through certain landscapes or viewing landmarks will jog the memory of similar sights. This trip, it was a long drive through the corn fields of Southern Illinois that reminded me of another trip along roads lined with corn fields.

My brother had been able to travel from Tennessee to St. Louis to watch me race and catch up. It was a good time. This probably caused me to reminisce about other things we have done together, especially as kids. I remembered, with a chuckle, our very first road bike ride together. I was eleven years old, my brother thirteen and my Grandpa was still in his prime. I was able to use Grandpa’s road bike, a 1990’s, ten speed Univega. We had done plenty of riding about town with Grandpa, but this was a much bigger deal.

Our plan was to get up and out early in the morning, head out from Grandpa’s home and ride north 40 miles to the family cabin. Our preparation for this long ride? Well, this was prior to my knowledge of riding nutrition and hydration. We weren’t up on the latest sport drinks or gu packets needed for a 40 mile ride. We did however, set out with plenty of water and planned feed stops along the way. The first stop was 10 miles up the road at a local, rural diner. We carbed up with a large stack of pancakes, enough to fuel us through a long, windy stretch of farm land. Twenty miles to go until our next feed stop. This one happened to be at Grandpa’s buddy Bob’s place. Bob was an avid weekend triathlete. He knew a bit about the best fuel for our bodies, so this stop we filled up on Gatorade and bananas. After we caught our breath and visited with Bob, we saddled up and headed off for the last leg of our ride. Ten more miles to go until our destination. The mood was a bid more subdued those last ten miles. My brother and I were wondering what we had gotten ourselves into and Grandpa was good-heartedly goading us along the way. “Ya doin’ okay back there sweet peas?” Or, his famous reverse psychology routine, “if we stop at that house up ahead, I’ll bet they will let us use their phone and you could call Grandma to come get you.” Seriously! This guy never let up! All in love though, he would have never pushed us harder than he knew we could go. He also knew how those remarks would cause us to be even more determined to push on. And push on we did. We arrived at the cabin with plenty of day light left. Our recovery drink? The same that I use today: an ice cold Coke.

Cycling families tend to stay connected. I got another chance to catching with more of mine at the Detroit Cycling Championships. Which was another, not quite as long as the previous weekend’s, car ride away.


The Most Important Upgrade

September 22nd, 2017 by Kaitlyn Patterson

–By Charlie Seymour

If​ ​you​ ​ask​ ​most​ ​cyclist​ ​which​ ​upgrade​ ​is​ ​most​ ​important,​ ​a​ ​good​ ​percentage​ ​won’t mention​ ​bike​ ​fit.​ ​They’ll​ ​comment​ ​about​ ​a​ ​carbon​ ​frame​ ​or​ ​some​ ​fancy​ ​wheels they read about​.​ ​But,​ ​I​ ​would​ ​argue​ ​the​ ​value​ ​of​ ​a​ ​bike​ ​fit,​ ​for​ ​the​ ​racer​ ​or the​ ​recreational​ ​cyclist.​ ​Recently,​ ​my​ ​past​ ​few​ ​races​ ​have​ ​not​ ​gone​ ​as​ ​planned,​ ​most​ ​of which​ ​have​ ​come​ ​down​ ​to​ ​lower​ ​back​ ​pain​ ​due​ ​to​ ​bad​ ​fit.​ ​I​ ​contacted by local bike fitter and used the ​Retül​ ​bike​ ​fit​ ​machine.​ ​This​ ​system projects​ ​a​ ​2D​ ​image​ ​of​ ​the​ ​rider​ ​on​ ​a​ ​computer​ ​and​ ​gives​ ​exact​ ​measurements​ ​of​ ​your current​ ​fit.​ ​It​ ​does​ ​this​ ​through​ ​small​ ​sensors​ ​that​ ​are​ ​put​ ​on​ ​your​ ​shoulders,​ ​elbows, wrists,​ ​hips,​ ​knees,​ ​ankles​ ​and​ ​the​ ​outside​ ​of​ ​the​ ​feet.​ ​It​ ​also​ ​uses​ ​front​ ​and​ ​side​ ​angle cameras​ ​to​ ​get​ ​before​ ​and​ ​after​ ​comparisons.​ ​The​ ​machine​ was set up ​to​ ​match​ ​my​ ​bike exactly,​ ​and​ ​I ​pedal​ed ​for​ ​a​ ​while​ ​so​ ​to ​get​ ​the​ ​measurements.​ ​My before​ ​measurements​ ​were​ ​72.5​ ​saddle​ ​height,​ ​negative​ ​6.5​ ​offset,​ ​60.5​ ​reach​ ​to​ ​grip, and​ ​a​ ​negative​ ​4​ ​drop.​ ​Next,​ ​I​ ​had​ ​my​ ​cleats​ ​fit.​ ​Due​ ​to​ ​my​ ​left​ ​leg​ ​being​ ​longer​ ​by​ ​about 1​ ​cm,​ ​we​ ​needed​ ​to​ ​find​ ​a​ ​solution​ ​to​ ​even​ ​out​ ​my​ ​pedaling.​ ​This​ ​was​ ​achieved​ ​by moving​ ​the​ ​cleat​ ​almost​ ​as​ ​far​ ​back​ ​on​ ​the​ ​shoe​ ​as​ ​possible.​ ​After​ ​getting​ ​my​ ​shoes adjusted,​ ​I​ ​went​ ​back​ ​on​ ​the​ ​bike.​ ​I​ ​ended​ ​up​ ​with​ ​a​ ​longer​ ​stem,​ ​90​ ​before,​ ​to​ ​110.​ ​This moved​ ​my​ ​reach​ ​to​ ​to​ ​62.​ ​We​ ​also​ ​moved​ ​my​ ​saddle​ ​up​ ​by​ ​.5​ ​mm.​ ​I​ ​was​ ​able​ ​to​ ​keep my​ ​drop​ ​at​ ​a​ ​negative​ ​4,​ ​and​ ​my​ ​offset​ ​ended​ ​at​ ​negative​ ​7.This​ ​made​ ​me​ ​feel​ ​much more​ ​relaxed,​ ​while​ ​also​ ​allowing​ ​an​ ​aggressive​ ​position​ ​on​ ​the​ ​bike.​ ​The​ ​fit​ ​made​ ​my riding​ ​much​ ​more​ ​comfortable,​ ​and​ ​overall​ ​helped​ ​my​ ​back​ ​issue.​ ​If​ ​you​ ​are uncomfortable​ ​on​ ​your​ ​bike,​ ​a​ ​professional​ ​bike​ ​fit​ ​is​ ​a​ ​must.

 


Detroit Cycling Championship Team Recap

September 16th, 2017 by Kaitlyn Patterson

–By Terry Ritter

September 9th saw big time bicycle racing return to the Detroit area. The Detroit Athletic Club put on the inaugural Detroit Cycling Championship. This event had a large purse ($45K!), and drew both amateur and pro teams from around the Midwest region and our friends to the east, Canada.

The course was interesting as well, though rather challenging. Three of the main roads used ran the perimeter of Comerica Park, where the Tigers play Major League baseball. Between corners #2 and #3 was a pretty good downhill that generated speeds in excess of 30 mph. From here there was a short section between turns #4 and #5, then #5 and #6, and back onto the long, slight uphill straight. And, being inner streets of a major city, the patched pavement and utility covers were plentiful, with the worst examples of the former on the course’s fast decent. Add a quality prize list and the accomplished riders that show for such a draw, and you’ve got a technical race that was fast and strung out from the gun. Having frequent primes only ramped things up more.  Moving up and maintaining position was a challenge, especially since the opportunity to transit through the field of riders was muted by the speed, and dive-bombing corners was a common occurrence.

The ample purse meant a lot of new riders, and opportunities to have different race classes combined compared to the normal Michigan scene. This meant not only grouped category 3s and 4s races, but category 2s and 3s as well. There was also a full masters class. Ultimately, this left the racers on Team Athletic Mentors the opportunity to not only get a couple of events in, but to race with each other when we normally don’t get that chance.

Toeing the line in the combined Cat. 2/3 race was Terry Ritter, Rich Landgraff, Luke Cavender, Collin Snyder, Ross Williams, and Bobby Munro. Like all the races, this one was fast. Collin won a prime early on, then took a flyer to try to get away with three laps to go. However, there was too much horsepower for anything but a sprint finish.

Ross and Bobby were active in their Cat. 3 only race, with Ross attacking for a prime and then Bobby countering the next lap to try to get away. Great to see some tactical racing from our up-and-coming racers.

The Masters race was all three categories (35+, 45+, 55+), and it made for a large field but interesting dynamic. It wasn’t slow by any means (the 35+ group assured that), and there was a national champion kit in the mix as well. Richard, Peter O’Brien, and Terry doubled up (Peter was in the Cat. 3 Masters race earlier), with Jonathan Morgan joining the crew.

Elaine was our sole female Team Athletic Mentor rider and competed in the Cat. 3/4 race, as well as the Cat. P/1/2/3 race. Like the other races, the group was rarely grouped together, and the later race was especially fast. There were a few teams that were recognizable from the National Criterium Championship race earlier in the summer.  With this being Elaine’s first year of serious road racing (not to mention criteriums), she did very well and represented the team impressively.

The final event of the day was the Pro/1/2, slated for 80 mins. A lot of big regional teams were there and it was super fast. Dan Yankus, Collin, Peter Ehmann and Jonathan started. Many riders didn’t finish due to the pace. Eventually, a group of 5 got away, including two Bissell Pro riders, that lapped the field. Then, with about 10 laps to go, there was a crash that left a few riders in need of medical attention and the race was halted, only to restart after the break with a fast conclusion. With a $200 prime on the second to last lap, the pace was high…until the group passed the first corner as the last lap bell was ringing. Bissell slowed a bit around corner #2, with Daniel taking advantage and shooting up near the front on the outside. Unfortunately, a number of riders dive bombed the inside corner, pushing Daniel and the Bissell train towards the outside and into the barriers, causing a crash. Fortunately, no one was hurt too badly and the race finished on that lap. Collin came home with 30th on the evening.

Not getting enough racing for the weekend, Bobby, Daniel, Collin, Terry and Ross headed to Uncle John’s 56 mile gravel race north of Lansing on Sunday. Glen Dik joined the mix. The team was active early, with Daniel finishing fourth out of the small break that got away from the rest of the field. Collin got 6th overall and Terry came in 13th, and 3rd in the 47-51 age group. Elaine and JoAnn Cranson competed in the women’s 24 mile race as well.

There are rumors that next season the Detroit Criterium Championship will be earlier in the season and hopefully on the national cycling calendar. With the positive support and great organization of this year’s inaugural event, there’s little doubt this can grow bigger and better, showcasing the renewal of our great city.


Four Tips to Safer Road Racing

August 11th, 2017 by Kaitlyn Patterson

–By Bobby Munro

Road bike racing is a dangerous activity. It is arguably the most dangerous type of bike racing—except for maybe our distant cousin, downhill mountain bike. Below is four things to do at your local race to make sure the pack stays safe. Admittedly, this list primarily helps to keep others safe. But, if everyone can abide by a code of conduct then we will all benefit.

  1. Practice contact

Coming in contact with other racers will happen. When it does, DO NOT PANIC! Hold your line, avoid the brakes, and counter the force if need be. Leaning into the other person is a skill and it must be practiced. Don’t wait until you are going 25mph to practice it. Find a friend and practice while going slow (I’m talking 5mph, granny gear slow). Just a little practice every few weeks or so can turn you into a pro.

2. Hold your line in corners

We have heard it a million times to “hold your line.” I trust that if you are reading this you know what that means. That being said, I think we could all use a reminder on what your line actually is in a corner. Your “straight line” in a race will seldom have you riding parallel to the curve. Try to follow the line that the rider in front of you took. When you deviate from that line then you cause others behind you to change course as well. This causes a snowball effect that can lead to someone being pinched on the outside or the inside. Also keep in mind the riders to your side. Try to keep them at the same distance they were going into the corner. The natural tendency is to fan out.

Dive bombing corners is not ok. Don’t be that guy. This tactic can be effective but it can be a dangerous one. If you are passing on the inside of a corner then it your responsibility to observe the pack first. In particular, try to predict the line that the person you are looking to pass will take. If there will be a gap, go for it! But if it is going to be tight then it is best to play it safe. The best way to predict what line someone will take is to look at the person who they are drafting (you may need to look a few riders up). If they are following the line of the person ahead of them, then it should be a good predictor of where they will go.

  1. You should (almost) never cross wheels

Another basic of group riding etiquette. The problem is, this is not a group ride, and this is a race. There are literally tens of dollars on the line! When the bunch slows down it can be easier to avoid the brakes a little and cross wheels. This is completely understandable. Just do so at your own peril (and the peril of those behind). If the rider ahead looks unstable or if he looks like he may dart outside to go for an attack, be weary. However, if you are crossing wheels of someone who has a rider on either shoulder, you are probably safe. At the end of the day, it’s your front wheel, so protect it.

  1. Sprint responsibly

The final sprint will be hectic. It your responsibility to be safe during the final meters of the race. The biggest thing to remember is to not make wild movements to the side. Be predictable! Once you have a clear sight at the line, hold your direction. This is not a professional race and we should not be blocking. End of story. If you can’t fend off an approaching rider then you need to improve your sprint, not put another person’s life in danger.

 


Race Hard but Be Nice- Race Etiquette Matters

July 21st, 2017 by Kaitlyn Patterson

–By Sawyer Shafer

Race etiquette is a tricky subject. We all know to be respectful to other riders, call out passes, and ask a fallen participant if he or she is okay. But during the heat of the battle, do we all do this? This past weekend I competed in the WORS Cup race in Elkhorn, Wisconsin. I was racing against some of the fastest riders in the Midwest, and in addition to the stiff competition, the course was very physically demanding and tight, allowing no room for error or passing. An additional challenger was the Category I men slated to start right after my elite junior class. They would be upon our field rather quickly once the race started. Pre-race, I had a number of them come up to me and say, “You better let me pass as soon as I catch you.” Safe passing in a race situation requires skill, and an understanding of the communication and timing needed. This is all amplified when you have riders riding at faster speeds, and taking risks to move up. This can lead to frustration, and more critically, injury.

saywerHalfway through  the first lap the field starting behind my group began to catch us. The first few announced that they needed a pass and that they would be passing on our left. This is the standard, and correct way to pass: you notify those that you will be passing when and where it will be happening to avoid frustration an injury. This is easily done on an open climb, a section of fire road or two track. However, in tight and twisty single-track this is complicated by trail features, and the speed needed to pass another rider. This is when some started to become frustrated, and let that frustration lead to hostility towards other riders which can become dangerous and paint a bad imaged for that rider’s respective club or team. This is when you need to calm down and remember that, yes, you are racing, but at the end of the day it is all about getting on your bike and just having fun with others in your community. This is why you started riding in the first place. Unfortunately, one of the Cat. I men did not demonstrate this attitude when catching me. His tire tapped mine, causing my handlebars to clip a tree and send me flying from my bike. This resulted in a trip to the E.R. where I was notified  I had fractured my wrist and be out for the rest of the summer. I hope this story will help remind everyone that at the end of the day we are all just racing because we like to ride our bikes and have fun.

Therefore, when put in a race situation where you may be contemplating forcing a pass, or doing something to endanger yourself or another, don’t. This is why I chose to share this story as I fear too many people have lost sight of why we started racing in the first place,  because we enjoyed hanging out with good people and riding bikes.

Here’s to a safe summer of racing!

 



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