We make holes in teeth!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Race Manners

I mentioned it yesterday so let's talk more about it today. In any race you do you will pass, and get passed. It happens no matter how strong or weak you are. In my experience there are generally 3 kinds of passers when the passing gets difficult. It doesn't really matter on a doubletrack trail. The real fabric comes out when it's tight out there:

The Friendly Approach

This actually happened to me Sunday. A guy comes up behind me on a tight section and says, "Hey how's it going up there?"

"Good, how have you been?"


"I assume you want to pass."

"If it's not too much trouble."

"At the end of this little stretch is a good spot."


At the end he passed, added "have a good race," and went on his way. In my opinion everyone should have this approach, more or less. Now to be sure this guy was way more friendly than he needed to be and I hope he did well overall because people like this is one element that makes the race enjoyable.

The Direct Approach

"Come on guys let's get a move on."

This generally comes out of nowhere. You could also call this guy an asshole but at the same time there a lot of people who simply refuse to get out of the way even though they're just completely out of their league. So you come up on a guy wobbling his way up orange and you either announce you're going around in an unsafe area or you slog up with them. And sometimes when you ask to pass they ignore you. So then you're forced into hostile move territory which sucks more energy out of you and is dangerous as well.

So the guy with the direct approach is usually sick of the riffraff and that's understandable. I did this a little bit coming down yellow at the end of my first lap. We were a train of 4 or 5 guys and the lead guy was riding his brakes on the fast stuff. Finally I got sick of it and yelled, "Stop riding your brakes!" Of course that did nothing and I made the power move after that and left too much out there too soon.

Silent But Deadly

This guy is the real asshole, just blazing by you when there clearly is no room for 2 bikes. These are the people who you hope to see stacked (OK I'll take it easy on that word after today) 50 yards up the course. It's really not hard to say, "Hey can I get by?" There really is no reason to make it a savage affair.

So there are your 3 main types of race passing. Each has a subtle set of subclasses but that's beyond the scope of my experience and this blog.

Knowing the course Sunday was nice and it allowed me to make some passes that would be hard otherwise. On the stretch before the far lot I went left around a tree where the main path goes right. It was a move I announced with a quick, "On your left" and the guy even gave me a "nice move" when I was done. Feels good to hear that.

I think I'm more or less tapped on the race stories for now. I did ride today but it was for 30 minutes and then done because it was raining so hard. It's not the rain that gets me I just get nervous with the cars and visibility in the rain. So I packed it in early. I'll go back at it tomorrow and probably scale back the weekend ride which means likely bagging the Lebanon 52. I do have the ride link from yesterday here. The pattern is pretty all-over.

Today's installment of Beverley Hills, MTBNJ can be found here. That's just good stuff. Third Party, your sarcasm is being paged.

I do have more comments than I can shake a stick at so here goes.


"Great race report, Norm. It is interesting to read about your falling into your own pace as opposed to racing others. I think you should have smiled at the guy from Marty's one last time and said something to the effect of, "Nice day for a spin" before you opened up the gap."

Yeah I guess in a real Clint Eastwood way that would make for better copy but the reality is that I usually play it conservative because I just didn't feel that comfortable that I would beat him.

As far as riding my own race I think I did that well except for that screwup at the end of lap one and the start. You really have little control over the start unless you accept starting out in last place. I think our mutual friend Jake might have benefited from that but I wasn't racing just to finish so I didn't want to do that. If I want to do better than 15th in class or so I think I need to be able to come out faster. There are other races to try that out on, though not until September. I'm certainly not going to do something like that next weekend at the start.


"nice work norm! congrats. i was behind you for awhile then i started feeling funny...dehydration. not sure how as i had plenty of water. then my legs cramped up. completely blew up. i guess you could say...kaboom?"

I was a big Kaboom fan when I was a kid. I was really good at it, and many years later when I got to college I was sensational at Tetris. I mentioned in the comment to Steve that I don't like to do the Clint Eastwood thing but with Tetris I will. There was nobody who could hold a candle to my Tetris skills back in the day. People literally used to watch me play for hours. We didn't take turns, I just played and they watched. I was almost autistically good.

Anyway thanks for the congrats. I know what you went through having gone through it myself a few times. The DNF hurts to say the least and I wish you would have managed to bang it out but you didn't. By the time I finished you were gone otherwise I would have dragged your cramping ass out there for that 3rd lap with you.

Next time, my man. That Darkhorse race is just around the corner. Maybe you should trade PMs with Kirt since he did that race last year and cramped badly.


"Good stuff. To me, a significant element is the learning experience a race provides. No matter how many you do, there's always lots to be taken away."

To be sure I took a lot away from this race, it having been my first real XC race. The 50k doesn't count in my world because it was a middle-distance event for me. Like I said I wish there was another H2H race next weekend but the 48 miles of Rattling Creek are going to have to suffice. I'm actually pretty excited about that race right now.


"great read today norm, and congrats on a great effort and a great race"

Great great great!!! Well I'm glad you enjoyed it, it really was a great race even if my results were just OK. I'm trying to dig up another memory from the race but I can't right now, so this recollection from my past life will have to do:

This one time, at band camp...oh wait I better not go with that one. Sorry I'm tapped right now.


"Sounds like you had fun. I was waiting to see that. Great accomplishment, keep it up!"

Well thanks for the encouragement and the words of advice after Granogue. I think you were at least partly right when you said that most people don't train hard enough. I think that was the case for me and I've been slowly putting more into my training rides. I think it takes years, especially at my age, to really build a base to work off of. I did a good job ramping up but there's still plenty of room to improve and a lot of this high-end stuff just fatigues me a lot, as does waking up at 4:45 am.


"Just caught on to your blog courtesy of a link from Do you have a post anywhere that tells how you upload your racing and map data?"

Wow, there's a crossover between my biking and the Rutgers sports board? Amazing. I mean FatCat doesn't really count because he just reads to read, not because he's a biker. To answer your question, no I don't have a post. I use a Garmin 205 and download the stuff to my PC and upload it to the MotionBased website with their software, which is free. It's really pretty easy. This assumes you have a GPS of course.

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  • At 10:00 AM, Blogger Jason h said…

    Hey! i'm going to cali this sunday.. gonna be there for a week, this is the site i was talking about where i made the extra cash. later!

  • At 1:28 PM, Blogger shaggz said…

    *Today's installment of Beverley Hills, MTBNJ can be found here. That's just good stuff. Third Party, your sarcasm is being paged.*

    Huh. Nothing there.

  • At 8:42 PM, Blogger george said…

    Hey Norm,

    I have to echo most of the previous comments...great race report, really.
    Your posts are always insightful and quite humorous as well!
    A few things I would like to say; All your posts are underlined by a sense of modesty, I think you sometimes don't give yourself the credit when it's due. But that is also a good quality to have in my book, like you say..there are a lot of douche bags out!

    Let me be the first to say, that yea man, you do crush edges. "Edgecrusher" is a fictional concept from Fear Factorys 1998 release, Obsolete. Edgecrusher is one of the good guys, who stands up for what is just. The reason I chose the name is because for me, Edgecrusher is a state of mind, where you refuse to give in, put forth the effort, and always try your best. That is the racer mentality, that is you, as well as many other good guys and girls out there giving it everything they have. It doesn't really matter where you finish, it matters that you finish. So, you do crush edges Norm...and since the H2H races are class/age specific, 31st of 52 is a good solid result, and to finish 76th out of 155 riders was a well done effort and a real good accomplishment.

    I want to say that you are representing the team very well, and I sincerely thank you for that. Any team would surely do right by having you on their roster.


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