Unfortunately I must take back everything I said in the previous Snelling post, it's now a wash.
Sounds like an unwinnable scenario no matter which way you turn it.
We had already been neutralized for the pro men, pro men caravan, Cat 2 solo breakaway, and finally the Cat 2 field. Yet another neutralization of our field, although certainly understandable for safety's sake, is not the answer either.
The answer seems to be in either creative staging or field limits. I hate saying that as its probably our field that would get the axe. When I first raced this event we were combined with the Men 4/5 so I feel bad even noting that maybe there are too many fields.
And tell Peter I sure as hell did not feel like I was going slow across the line.
And I have to repeat, less the negativity be overwhelming, that my teammates and I had a blast in this race (even the one that crashed)
With all the drama last weekend I can't help but wonder if the fact that this is one of the few races where some of the top pros are also racing meant that the lesser cat's felt obliged to showboat and take some unneccesary risks- just to get their names in the results next to the big boys.It seems strange that there were so many crashes and so many errors of judgement. With all the race wheels that I saw mashed up, not to mention the potential accidents due to the jaccuzzi sized pot holes at the R.R, would it not be to much to ask for some one to at least mark them with a can of spray paint if they can't fill them in.Don't get me wrong I don't mind potholes (Copperopolis is my favorite race) but with such large fields and no climbs to break up the fields you had no time to see them before you were already in one.Just a thought.
If the masters field had arrived one minute earlier or later there likely would have been no problem. Peter Allen was in the 35+ 123 field and he intitiated the sprint at the bottom of the hill. From there he could not see a pack in front of him. He came over the top of the hill (400m to go) and stopped a bit later. The sprint was well under way before anyone looked up and saw the pack directly in front of them. The women were going slow across the line and the great difference between their speed and the 35's was a factor in how quickly they caught the women.
Peter suggests that if the moto refs for each group had been in contact with each other miles earlier it would have been reasonable to neutralize the women for a minute or so 5+ miles before the finish, let the 35's go by and then everyone gets a good finish.
OK heard some new Info from one of the motor officials involved. This is the Info I was given.
There was a motor at the back of the women's 3/4 group. The Moto official for the masters was just coming up to the Moto with the women to neutralize the the women when there was an accident at the back of the women's field that involved about 6 riders and pretty much blocked the road. Both Motors got off their bikes to help clear the road before the masters go to the accident site. By the time the road was cleared the masters were already coming through. By the time the masters Moto could get back on his bike the masters field was already past. He tried to work his way back up to the front of the masters field but saw he wasn't going to be able to get back to the front of the masters group before the finish so he backed off.
It sounds like if that late crash in the women's 3/4 field did not happen the women's race would have been neutralized one more time just before their finish and the masters would of had a clear shot at the finish. While this certainly would not have been a good finish for the women but it would have been safer for all involved.
It sounds like the motors had a tough decision. Stop to help at the accident site ( and possibly prevent further injury to someone already on the ground just ahead of a hard charging masters field) or hope that all the accident people are out of the way by the time the masters got there and keep going to neutralize the women to clear the way for the masters sprint. Sounds like either way someone was going to be unhappy. I probably would have opted to make sure the riders already on the ground due to an accident were moved or protected from further injury myself.
From Peter Allen, last year at Madera in the 35+ 123 road race a group of 8 riders jumped into the passing p12 field. Peter started chasing after them and the motoref for the 35's caught up to him and said he should go back to the field and he (the ref) would get those eight riders out of the p12 field and send them back to the 35's field. When Peter returned to the field he relayed this information to the field so they all waited for the group to come back. They never did come back and they ended up winning the race, and totally screwing up the overall scoring. It was not corrected.
So, what will be done this year to ensure this doesn't happen again?
I strongly agree with the pre-race message on the line to remind everyone what is expected of them. Even if some riders aren't listening the ones who are listening will know they can (possibly) rely on enforcement of the rules and may try to enforce the rules themselves.
To simply throw up our hands and say we shouldn't bother with the pre-race instructions about this is completely ineffective, as opposed to an approach that will be at least partly effective. For the offenders Peter suggests a 30-day suspension for such blatant cheating.
casey wrote:Unfortunately trying to provide this education while everyone is standing on the start line isn't going to work. Officials know that riders will pay attention ( those who actually will stop talking to their friends at least) for about a minute.
Back in the day the meeting was held out in the open with all the participating riders standing around, while not on the pre grid, pretty similar to what we do now.
Yep, some people won't listen 50% of the time. But if you catch them the other 50% (or even 25%) they will listen. Plus it's that rote learning thing. Going over this stuff would really take 60-90 seconds, it would be time well spent if just one person knows what to do and yells at the rest of the group.
That being said, both the 35+ 4/5 and 45+ 1/2/3/4 motors did an excellent job moving the 4/5 field over when the break I was in went past.
I agree there is a better need for rider education. Unfortunately trying to provide this education while everyone is standing on the start line isn't going to work. Officials know that riders will pay attention ( those who actually will stop talking to their friends at least) for about a minute. After that many riders stop focusing on what the official is saying and start getting into race mode. I bet when you were racing motorcycles your safety briefings were done in an enclosed room and not when you were on the starting grid. This makes a world of difference.
For a long time I have felt that part of the upgrade process should be the requirement that riders pass a written test covering basic rules and concepts. If you don't pass the test you don;t get to upgrade. Hopefully this would force more riders to at least download the rule book and browse through it.
As far as what to do if an ambulance is trying to pass you in a race treat the situation exactly like you would when you are in your car. Pull over to the right, and slow down and if necessary stop.
When being passed by a faster group again treat it like you would if you were driving a car. When driving the rule is slower traffic stays to the right. The group that is being passed should move over to the right and either maintain their current pace or if the pass is taking to long slow down a little. Of course don;t start racing again until a good gap has opened up between the two groups.
To clarify what I was saying. I agree that the officials should and can do a better job of handling this kind of scenario. What I was meant was, that just because an official or other person made a mistake that put the masters field into a dangerous situation is no excuse for the riders to then continue in the dangerous situation. It is not the end of the world that they aren't allowed to finish their race when there are more important priorities at that moment.
Sabine, it's little consolation for your friend who got run over, but if none of the women had crashed because of the masters' stupidity maybe this call for some improvements would not be as strong.
I agree with the person who suggested that the masters give her the prizes they gained through their own stupidity and careless disregard for other people's safety. ...Along with their public apologies.
casey wrote:I have seen to many race courses lost because riders have refused to pull over an let an emergency vehicle past 9 when it has had it's lights and siren on).
Casey, I watched the same thing happen at Sea Otter on the circuit race last year. It was crazy watching that ambulance go 5 MPH up the hill behind riders. But you know what? I've never had any race official brief the field what they should do if there's an ambulance or emergency vehicle on course. Ever.
While it may seem like a no brainer it's not. Pull left or right? Stop or keep riding? I think/believe I know the answer but what if I'm wrong? One guy slams on his brakes and goes left and you might just park the ambulance there to take care of the carnage.
In 20 or so road races I did last year only once did the official tell the field what to do if they were passing or getting passed by another group. I believe I know the answer but what if I'm wrong?
I road raced motorcycles for many years, to the point where I held an FIM professional license. At EVERY race, pro and amateur, it was repeated exactly what the protocol was if there was an ambulance or emergency vehicle on the track. What each flag meant. What the hot pit speed was. You mean you're going to tell a 10 year professional racing at a world championship event what to do if a yellow flag is out? You betcha.
Expecting 50 or 70 riders in the middle of a race, especially near or at the finish to manage themselves in perfect unison and harmony in this kind of situation without prior direction is like wishing for peace in the Middle East.
We've all seen the massive pileups in crits when one guy makes an unexpected move. Last year at Mc Lane there was a horrific crash right in front of me when somebody "just sat up" because of another crash and the guy behind him, who was head down and attacking, slammed into him.
The M 1/2/3 thing was a breakdown with several participants. Saying x should have sat up or the motor should have done this or that is productive in a postmortem sense, but only if there's a systemic improvement that results from it. Otherwise it's just blaming, and there's enough of that to go around in this case.
I think NCNCA does a pretty darn good job with the races. I think they/we can do better. Some examples: Last year I was left on course bleeding for 40 minutes because someone thought the crash report was bogus, despite multiple radio calls from the sherrif's deputy who was there. I've watched corner marshall volunteers stand gawking with the flag wrapped up in their hands while one rider after another piles into each other. I've seen haybales stacked around poles at angles that left the pole itself open to the impact zone. And very large oak tree sitting in the line of fire with no impact protection which nearly killed one young man.
During my prior incarnation turning a throttle instead of pedals, I sat through the same safety/riders briefing a hundred times, till I knew it by heart. I was bored to tears at the last 75 meetings. But you know what? I did know it by heart at that point. That's not a bad thing. I taught at the new rider's school and gave the same speeches 40 times, twice per class.
My suggestion: 8 x 12 laminated cards that get read at every race start until the riders can repeat the directions like 1st graders reciting the alphabet. Because when my HRM is at 180, that's about my reasoning ability.
Turn marshals, motors, Etc. get the same treatment. Course inspection for impact zones and some guidelines.
Another issue that really needs addressing IMO:
A one day clinic/school ought to be mandatory before granting a license. We shuddered at the thought of putting people out on a race track in full leathers and a helmet at 100 MPH without some basic instruction AND A SKILLS CHECK, we ought to do the same at sticking someone in a pack of 100 riders wearing ladies underwear and a Styrofoam cup on their head doing 30 MPH.
Stuff is still going to happen, and the world ain't perfect. But none of this stuff is expensive or will overwhelm staff. Some of it might be in place already, if it is it isn't being utilized.
And here's the rub: I'll help. I know others will too.
I have to say from the stage it looked like everyone was going to die! I watched two riders (masters) weave in and out of the women and finally hit each other and then a couple of women. None went down but it was sketchy at best. It was others that were involved in the actual crash and there was far more than just one bike on the ground but none really hurt.
It was a bad enough sight to send people (officials, spectators, racers) running up the road into the race to help which made scoring crazy!
I will keep my opinions on what should/shouldnt have been done here in UT but it was a VERY scary finish and one that was discussed at length post race by the officials.
For those of you in the womens 3/4 and the Masters 35+ 1/2/3 I will post the rest of the results shortly I am working with the officals to get the rest of the post race/crash straglers, lapped riders (who were in the finish sprinting) and a few protests (who pushed who first) worked out and then the balance of the riders I have will be published.
Sorry for the delay
SBO camera guy
I have to agree with Casey...This is a race in Central California.
A small part of the country in the big picture of Bicycle racing.
You would think that you were racing with guys who were
racing for a stage in the Tour De France. Lots of close calls
for the sake of a couple of positions in the results. I have
to admit, I have been guilty of the same thing at times.
It was suggested in previous posts, that results only go to 10
places. This MIGHT stop some of the mayhem that occurs at
the end of a Bike Race just to see your name in 15th.
WarrenG wrote:So an official, ref, moto ref, spectator, other field, etc. screwed up at some local race. It's not the end of the world.
Warren, i take issue with this statement. It very well could have been the end of someone's world. Quite literally.
I was at the finish line and saw the m1/2/3 field sprinting through the back end of the W3/4 field. It was absolutely ridiculous and I know that you agree with calling it as such.
Race day incident's like what happened at Merco are something that we HAVE to fix. I go to pretty much every frickin' race in this district. I race close to, or over 100 times a year here. I see the same things happening over and over again.
For me, personally, i work very hard to keep the fields I'm racing in safe and respectful when we overtake other riders' fields. I am a firm believer in self-policing in a race because i know how hard it is on motos to cover all contingencies. A number of riders do this, some much better than I.
But, we NEED to be better in all aspects of race promotion and participation. I know i'm being a complete safety-mom on this ... but, I'm tired of good people dying in this sport ... this hobby.
So, I really hope we'll consider taking up educational exercises for all involved, such as:
1. Has the promoter given thought to ambulance routes for leaving/entering a closed course? Have they communicated this to the ambulances (the Merco ambulance guys were very appreciated, but ... lord, they were a bit unprepared from what i saw).
2. Have the moto officials been prepped on how to conduct field neutralizations under a variety of circumstances? (yes, yes ... thank you all officials ... but, it's a heavy responsibility and we all need to learn best practices and continue to improve).
3. How in the WORLD do we educate riders to stop being jerkwads and obey laws, race safely, and make good choices that sometimes (gasp) may mean disregarding a frickin' result to ensure the safety of riders/spectators/volunteers/ and officials?
4. Who is going to slap my ass off this soapbox?
ok, enough from this yahoo.
Which finishline incident, the masters sprinting into the back of the women's race or the 3s not letting the ambulance by/drafting it. In either case as I said before for most people bicycle racing is a form a recreation ( even though a lot of riders act like the world championships are at stake ) and the health and welfare of other riders/people should be of a higher consideration than placing in a race.
Thankfully in some other postings here and in some blogs I read there are some riders who agree that risking someone's health for a race placing is not he smartest thing in the world. Guess that is why I wasn't a great racer since I would always choose safety over a race placing and never think twice about it.
So an official, ref, moto ref, spectator, other field, etc. screwed up at some local race. It's not the end of the world. I wonder how many riders can say they made no mistakes that day either.
If you are in a masters race and sprinting into the back of another field THAT is a no-brainer.
That is not the issue I am talking about. I agree with you on that, JEEZ come on, that is a no brainer.
I referring to the finish line.
State Rep and Chief Officials need to work with and enforce max size of fields and max number of fields for safe racing.
If that means that next year there is only 5 groups on the course instead of 10, then so be it.
If that means that there needs to be field limits of 75 or 100, then so be it.
If only X number of Moto Refs are usually available for this race, then only X number of categories. No more.
If Yellowline(Centerline) rule then no more then 90 or 100 riders for any group...
Promoter can probably charge an extra $5 or $10 to make up the difference in lost revenue. Worth the extra entry to have a safe and fun race, instead of a cluster @%@%...
If packs usually have to pass other packs then a plan needs to be stated to the riders at registration in writting... Don't just rely on announcements staging, as most can't hear it...
I have seen to many race courses lost because riders have refused to pull over an let an emergency vehicle past 9 when it has had it's lights and siren on). This very item was an issue two years in a row at Pescadero. Last year at Pescadero a special marshal and officials position were set up so that if word came that an emergency vehicle had to get up Haskins Hill all riders would have been stopped.
What about the respect for the promoters who spend hours trying to secure a good road race course only to have a group of riders not pull over for an emergency vehicle and the local officials decide never to allow a race on those roads again. Or have a field fully across the center line to such an extent that an oncoming car ( driven by one of the county supervisors who had to approve the race permit) has to go off the road in order to prevent from running riders down.
I don't care how early a rider gets up, or how much they spend on entry fees or how long they trained etc. if the rider in question is going to endanger themselves, other riders, the race in question or the sport in general then by doing something stupid at a race then I don;t have any respect for that person. Believe me I had these same feelings when I was a rider. Especially since some races I loved doing got killed by stupid rider actions.
CPhipps wrote:That was awful yesterday, I was happy to finish upright.
Man, I believe it. I watched it from the other side of the finish line (that was me nailing the 303-Killing Chuckhole 00:00:43 into the race). One second I'm cheering one of our grrrls across the line, next it's 150 bikes of mayhem. I didn't see the posted results but to my eye there wasn't a true winner of that race, it was just whoever was able to thread through the W3/4 field without getting boxed in. Give the prize money to the poor gal who went down! Or me so I can buy another wimpy overpriced wheel.
Co-director, Golden Gate Velo
Most did sit up and that made for a lot of room even to get around the women laying in the middle of the road. She seemed to do the right thing and stay small.
Casey, I think you need to be careful about how you put things. Your comment is questionable and lacks a substantial amount of consideration/respect for the riders and everything they go through in training, preparation, financial expense, and getting up at O-Dark 30 to come out to race. Expecting people to just sit up and through the race is unreasonable.
I honestly think it's time you put yourself back on a bike and get a view from the other side of the fence.
It may have been only one rider, but that one rider was my friend and teammate. An amazingly safe and experienced rider who still has no idea what hit her.
Its a shame indeed. We had no moto and so we had no idea at all how close the masters field was to us. I just saw pics a few hours ago and I couldn't believe it. I can see masters sitting up and I can see some weaving through, still sprinting.
Its a shame to have the end of your race spoiled, but thank you to those who did sit up. Some of them had wives and girlfriends in that field, and some just had common sense and consdieration. Maybe they all need to remember to behave as if someone they care about could be in that field ahead (or in the ambulance trying to get past)
Why is it that some many bicycle racers act like they are racing for the World freaking Championship every time they pin on a number? I have seen way to many time when a riders put themselves and others in danger in a meaningless race with a minimal prize list. I'm talking about things like blasting through a blind corner on the wrong side of the centerline on an open road or riding in the left hand lane, due to a cross wind, and force an oncoming car off the road. For 99.5% of us bicycle racing is a recreational activity. Ironically it is the people who tend to make their living from racing a bike who tend to have better attitudes and don't do the really stupid things.
It's a hard position to be in, Chris.
The moto has to be able to think ahead to situations coming up, yet also have a sense of what's occuring within their field and behind. Touch call, indeed.
The real issue with the Merco/McLane road races is just having too many fields out on the course at the same time. I'm in favor of eliminating fields if they can't afford or get permission for a 2-wave race system out there (ala Snelling's morning and afternoon starts). I won't go again to the road race if they have the same program.
But, the most impactful decision made was to separate groups by more than 5 minutes for the later fields (10 minutes?). That set the W3/4 field starting waaay too late and, hence, the dangerous scenarios seen.
And lastly, I'm pretty disappointed with the Masters1/2/3 field for not realizing what a hazard was created by sprinting into the back of that women's field. I really hope those who did so will re-think whether a race result is worth the risk they put themselves and others at. Just frickin' sit up.
That there was only one woman who went down was an absolute miracle (and that she didn't get more seriously hurt). It could have been much, much worse.
Just frickin' sit up, guys. It's not worth it and those women had NO idea what was coming up behind them. Our field, on the other hand, saw it happening in front of them and should have sat up. Stupid and selfish.
Bad decisions. We have to be safer out there.
That was awful yesterday, I was happy to finish upright.
I don't know what moto refs typically do when a very large field is quickly approaching another in the last 5K of a race.
I was wondering what could have been done in that situation.
Should they have stopped us for 2-3 minutes with 5K to go? Or better yet, further out if they knew then that we were getting close? (I don't think there was another field within several minutes behind us)
I'm sure we would have all moaned and groaned about it at the time, but it would have made the finish much safer.
Dare I ask? I am guessing you must have been in the 1/2/3 field.