|question for deaf racers or LFR||JohnG|
May 19, 2002 7:04 PM
|No, I don't mean to imply that Beth can't hear. ;)
Anyway, I've got a deaf rider friend who will be doing her first crit this coming weekend. Can anyone give me a heads-up on any issues that might be applicable? ???? We'll also inform the race officials at the registration.
We've started doing some "close quarter" four-corner type turns and will have a few more goes at that before the race. Oh, her power and speed are pretty good so if she can stay out of trouble in the turns I think she'll do OK. Womens cat 3/4 in SoCal.
Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
May 20, 2002 11:14 AM
|Most deaf cyclists I've known compensate really well because they are generally far more alert and aware than the rest of us. She needs to know to watch the lap counter particularly close, and *look* for the official waving the bell on primes (if any). The prime thing (and related accelerations) could really catch her off guard if she doesn't see the bell. Make sure she knows all the free lap rules and that everyone finishes on the same lap as the leaders. It might also be a good idea to get a family member or friend who's an ASL speaker to stand at the start line and translate the "official's lecture", as this will help her feel less confused and left out. You guys and the official starter also need to agree on a visible signal (not just the whistle or gun). I know it's a mandatory rule for swimming that they use a strobe signal to start deaf swimmers; I'd imagine there's something similar that applies to cycling but I can't recall off the top of my head.
The good news is she won't hear when crashes are about to happen. The bad news is... she won't hear when crashes are about to happen; she'll just need to be aware of sketchy situations and how to avoid them (but then the rest of us do too).
Pack skills work is crucial at this point. She'll be better off than a guy in this situation because there's typically very little contact that goes on in women's races. But it also shouldn't startle her if it does happen. The other gals might get frustrated because she won't respond to getting screamed at (but then, neither do I and I hear just fine :))
Maybe bring along a whiteboard / chalkboard to communicate time gaps, encouragement, advice, and all the other stuff the sideline quarterbacks typically bellow at us as we go around. If you do something like this, write big and clearly and keep it monosyllabic; you can't process much data at 25mph when your brains are steeped in lactic acid.
As she and the other gals get more used to each other (women racers in any given region tend to get to know the others pretty well), they'll get used to giving her a tap on the hip rather than screaming at her if she needs to move over or something...
May 20, 2002 1:16 PM
Thanks for the informative response!
Can you email me, I've got a couple of questions re this subject and would prefer to take it off the board.