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Race radios for amatuer racing?(11 posts)

Race radios for amatuer racing?speedisgood
Apr 30, 2002 6:43 PM
Just read the race radio article in cyclingnews.com and it made me think about how they may or may not change the way a race goes. It's a big controversy in the pro ranks for sure, since it's an issue of getting big-time results vs. "the purity and spontaneity" of the sport. A lot of the controversy revolves around the concept of the directeur sportif just sittting in a car and moving his riders like chess pawns vs. the riders acting and reacting on their own, in real time.

My question is: does anybody in the amatuer ranks here use them? If you do, how do you feel about them? My team of Cat. 3's has a few, though we haven't broken them out this year. When we got them last year, a few guys bitched about how wrong it was to use them in "only" Cat. 3 races (like we shouldn't need them in our level of racing.) I think they were mostly jealous of our initiative. Whatever.

I feel that info on the race course is power. And if my having knowledge that you don't have helps my team win, then so be it. But then, that's just my opinion :)
I agree with you 100%climbo
May 1, 2002 4:39 AM
If you want to use them go ahead, let the other teams complain. Our team started to use them this year also, cat 3. I find they are only very good if you have a non-racer on the sidelines with one also. It is hard to hear properly because when riders talk in to the microphone there is a lot of wind etc. making it distorted. It does help sometimes though.

Your "soigneur" (sp?) if you can drag one along to races can talk to the whole team, give updates, time splits, break information, water etc. Of course, this is good in crits, in road races they would need to have a vehicle and drive around the course.

Hey, if you can make a decision that helps you win and the radios benefit that, I say go for it. One thing is, the radios are only helpful if you have a solid/strong team. If you can't sprint or you can't bridge gaps when someone tells you to, not much point having the radio in the first place. Try them out and see, it takes a while to get used to them.
re: Race radios for amatuer racing?brider
May 1, 2002 5:22 AM
I agree that they're not necessary, and I can only think of 1 or 2 times when they would have even been useful. That would be in a stage race situation where you need to control the gap to a break away. Personally, I never saw a need for them myself. As a team, we always communicated very well, and knew our roles well before the start of the race.
re: Race radios for amatuer racing?speedisgood
May 1, 2002 6:05 AM
Two of my teammates are especially good solo/breakaway artists, while three of us are the better sprinters. So a lot of our races involve one or more of us in a break and a few back in the pack playing border collie. In theory at least, it would be nice to give our guys away updates on splits, how the field is reacting (chasing or not), if anyone is bridging, etc. Also, let's say I'm in a break (keep in mind, I'm not the best TT'er.) If I know I'm going back to the field, I can let my teammates know and maybe someone can attack and bridge up before the field actually sees me. Not an everyday thing but it happened last weekend and I wished we had our radios then.

Otherwise, I agree that most other in-the-pack communication should be fairly easy to do without a radio. Unless there's 100 guys in the field. That may be a bit tougher.
I've seen them used both well and poorlylonefrontranger
May 1, 2002 8:55 AM
I agree that the best way to use them in most cases is with a coach or soigneur controlling from the sidelines.

Race radio is more of a tool than the ultimate answer. If your team goes into an event with a reasonable plan in mind and are fairly cohesive, then race radio can only help. In these instances, I've seen that race radio can help Cat 3 and 4 type squads even more than their Pro/1/2 counterparts because it can help keep dumb mistakes from happening and also keeps you in the loop with who's there, who's taking a flyer, and who's dropped.

Race radio made a reasonably good Cat 3/4 women's squad I used to compete against in the Midwest into an unstoppable force. Granted they were a cohesive team before and had a plan in mind for each event, but the radios helped assign key moves to the right rider at the right time, and (for instance) was able to help mitigate situations like the impulsive member of the squad taking dumb flyers or chasing down her teammates.

I have also seen race radio create laughable havoc with a collegiate team who didn't practice much together, didn't know who their squad was going to be on race day, and weren't even sure how to use the units when they got them. Not to mention the fact they turned the volume up so loud to compensate for wind noise that everyone else in the pack could hear every word that came over the system.
I've seen them used both well and poorlyweiwentg
May 1, 2002 10:40 AM
you really need earpieces to make full use of the radios. my friend had one (he was on the sidelines) on my last crit - and I couldn't hear him clearly. after I crashed, when I was lying sprawled in a heap on the middle of the road, he apparently called me (they counted riders, asked 'uh ... where's Weiwen??' after about 15 riders, and then called me on the radio), and I didn't hear a thing (of course, I was slightly stunned from the impact). they came running when they saw the flashing lights of a cop car.
pragmatics and philosphyDougSloan
May 1, 2002 1:20 PM
I can see where they could be a great benefit. Nonetheless, for the racing I've been involved with, low level 4/5 races, they'd seem pretty useless. Not only are the racers not very knowledgeable about what to do, but they very well may not be able to execute any plan or instruction even if they knew. If someone said to close a gap, and the rider is pegged, it's not going to happen.

I've seen idiots dressed in team uniforms using them on century type club and charity rides. Now that just looks foolish.

I've used them in events with support, mainly so I could let them know when I needed something.
oh, the philosophy partDougSloan
May 1, 2002 1:23 PM
If it were up to me, I'd ban them. The NFL banned radio communications with players long ago (I don't think that changed?). I think it changes the essence of the sport, as someone noted, from being primarily rider based to director based. Heck, with televisions in the cars, helicoptors over head transmitting, and all, the sport turns into a techno fest.

And, this is allowed in a sport that dictates the double diamond frame and how far a saddle must be behind the bottom bracket. What's up with that?
Not sure butspeedisgood
May 1, 2002 3:14 PM
I think the NFL allows coaches to radio in plays to the QB until like 15 seconds left on the play clock. One of the officials in the press box flips a switch to cut off comm. after that. Do they mike the QB to allow receivers to hear audibles in loud stadiums?

Anyway, you're absolutely right about the double standards of the UCI. It's almost laughable how random some of the rulings are.
pragmatics and philosphyDuane Gran
May 2, 2002 6:26 AM
I've seen idiots dressed in team uniforms using them on century type club and charity rides. Now that just looks foolish.

Possibly they were testing and practicing with the units? I know I've done this with my teammates on some group rides in order to become more comfortable using them.

I've used radios in races and they have the potential to be useful.
sorryDougSloan
May 2, 2002 6:33 AM
I know, I shouldn't judge. Nonetheless, they got so strung out when they hit the first hill that the radios were probably useless from then on. They also had a "team car" in the event that banned private sags.

I retract my opinion.