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Active/Agressive Blocking question(44 posts)

Active/Agressive Blocking questioncbass
Apr 6, 2003 6:03 PM
What's your take on the following situation?

-Road Race over a narrow road.
-Team X has 15 guys in the race. They all move to the front at staging.
-1 minute after the start Team X sends 5 guys off the front. Behind them are 3 rows of 3 guys from Team X blocking the road. These guys slow down and actively prohibit anyone else from passing. Other racers ask them to move aside, yell at them to move, and finally blast a gap between two of them by banging into them.
-After a handful of guys get through to chase the break (now well up the road) these guys resume blocking the progress of anyone else.

Is this cool?
Is this within the rules?
What would you do about it if you were racing against Team X?
"Take care of him your way." "Okay. What's my way?"bill
Apr 6, 2003 7:07 PM
"Your way is to pick up that big rock, go hide over there, and when he comes around the corner, smash him."
"My way is not very sportsmanlike."
Princess Bride. Great movie! [nm]speedisgood
Apr 6, 2003 8:18 PM
Shove your way through with you left arm...shirt
Apr 7, 2003 10:03 AM
Then on the other side call back, "...I'm not left-handed, either!"
so much wisdom in one little movie . . . This race, btw, wasn'tbill
Apr 7, 2003 10:09 AM
in Chesapeake, VA on Saturday, was it? I didn't do it, but I heard about it.
so much wisdom in one little movie . . . This race, btw, wasn'tcbass
Apr 7, 2003 11:17 AM
it was Chesapeake...Maryland, not Virginia. fun race if you made the break...frustrating otherwise.
. . . proving that I wasn't there. That's the one. Did youbill
Apr 7, 2003 11:59 AM
bridge? Are you on a team? One of our guys (Coppi) said that he tried unsuccessfully to bridge with some guys from Lanterne Rouge.
. . . proving that I wasn't there. That's the one. Did youcbass
Apr 7, 2003 12:19 PM
I bridged with a guy from Lanterne Rouge. Right on our heels were two of my teammates (Lateral Stress Velo), a couple more Lanterne Rouge guys, and a few guys from other teams. Everyone worked pretty well together to make the break stick, though sometimes it was tough to get people to maintain a pace line...this was the 4/5 race.

I had another strong teammate that didn't make it through the gap we opened and was stuck in the pack the rest of the race. He said the NCVC guys blocked and shut down any more attempts to chase, though if the race had gone a couple more laps I think the break would have been caught.

I might as well mention that Snow Valley put on a great race.
Um, they need full encosureJames Curry
Apr 8, 2003 6:13 AM
Then this would no longer be a discussion.
Um, they need full encosureNightengale
Apr 8, 2003 7:12 AM
The sholuders on much of that road are non-existent, so I think that that is impractical. BTW nice attempt to obfuscate. The race would have been more fun if NCVC had used its numbers to toughen the race, and create a split/break from the head of the field. That is positive racing, but it takes strength. It makes everyone stronger and creates a meritorious result.
Um, they need full encosureNightengale
Apr 8, 2003 8:10 AM
The sholuders on much of that road are non-existent, so I think that that is impractical. BTW nice attempt to obfuscate. The race would have been more fun if NCVC had used its numbers to toughen the race, and create a split/break from the head of the field. That is positive racing, but it takes strength. It makes everyone stronger and creates a meritorious result.
55 gallon drum of ass-whoopin'B123
Apr 6, 2003 11:45 PM
I'd be one of the guys throwing elbows to get through or better yet, pass in the gravel. Not much you can do once they've formed at the front. Post race I'd let the official hear about it, that's definitely not cool.
re: Active/Agressive Blocking questionScot Francis
Apr 7, 2003 10:45 AM
No rules on blocking, and I can't imagine there was no place to pass (I assume there were corners, where you can always pass). I guess there is strength in numbers.
re: Active/Agressive Blocking questioncbass
Apr 7, 2003 11:25 AM
the road was very narrow (3 abreast) & the officials were very strict on the yellow line rule. the break went very early in the race, a couple of miles before the first corner. the blockers were aggressively impeding the progress of other riders...plus they were slowing down to let the break get away. fortunately a handful of riders forced their way through in time to bridge. the break was large enough that it was pretty clear that it would stay away. in fact, by the first corner the lead was approx. 55 seconds.

strength in numbers is right! this team was very organized. the positive side of it was that for those that made the break there was a big group of riders in the pack blocking and disrupting any kind of chase.
Their gig is up now.No_sprint
Apr 7, 2003 12:26 PM
A little prevention when you see this team each and every time out now. Do a little talkin' with the other teams and get everyone together to do some hammerin' on those guys during the upcoming races.
re: Active/Agressive Blocking questionDougB
Apr 7, 2003 12:53 PM
I was in the race this weekend at Chesapeake. I was part of the chase group and a member of Lanterne Rouge.

I'm sure that, technically, the "blocking" was legal. The 18 women from NCVC decided to baracade the rest of the field at the actual staging ground before the race began. Knowing the double yellow was firmly in place and the roads were narrow, all they had to do was line up often and early--which they did. (something my 7 year old daughter and her friends could do)

There was, indeed, no way to break through them without endangering yourself or others. There was no shoulder and it was wet and slippery. Furthermore, the gutless antics endangered the rest of the field. When the women sat up on the descents and slowed around the corners to prevent other riders from passing, the rest of the field was in jeopardy of crashing many times.

I have no problem with legitimate blocking tactics. It is smart racing and part of competition. But this was a baracade that prohibited competition and endangered other riders.

The issue now revolves around what will race organizers do to prevent this in the future. Or, more importantly, what the other riders will do to prevent it?

Personally, I will take the matter into my own hands. The staging ground will become a mosh pit. NCVC will not want to race and the rest of us will battle fairly for the victory.

Although I was mildly frustrated with their antics, I mostly found it amusing. First of all, because we almost reeled in their breakaway group despite the huge lead that they stole at the start line. Secondly, because they have so little pride to even think about doing this. Who wants to be a part of NCVC? In a 4/5 race they are trying to stage a baracade for the win? It is laughable. "Hey, let's join NCVC...we can pay $25 for a leisurely weekend training ride, be verbally abused by our fellow competitors for being wussies, and then giggle in the parking lot that NCVC won the race." Congratulations girls, you "won" and looked foolish doing so. Furthermore, you all will now receive similar treatment--all within the rules, of course.

I want to follow up this little tirade to say that in the Tyson's crit the next day, NCVC won a clean race in the 4/5. They won fair and square--as it should be. Of course, the roads were wide open and they could not have possibly repeated their foolishness.

See you at the races...
re: Active/Agressive Blocking question - let's get it rightScot Francis
Apr 7, 2003 5:19 PM
Let's set the record straight:
1. We sat around for 20 plus minutes at the start of the race - plenty of time for you or anyone else to get yourself to the front at the staging area. There was room.
2. NCVC initiated the winning break - which included some 14 other riders from other teams.
3. The chasing group was blocking for 2-3 K and then everyone was free to chase. Good work in the lead group plus good "legit" tactics in the chase group kept you away.
4. NCVC did all the organization within the break to keep it going. They also did a lot of the work with long sustain pulls.
5. When the pace slowed, NCVC forced the pace by either going to the front, or breaking away to activate a chase and increase speed.
6. No one but NCVC tried to get away. Several other riders from other teams sat in the entire break and only came to the front in the last K. In fact, the winning NCVC rider went on a 6 minute solo break which his own teammates reeled in b/c the chase group behind them was catching up. That was for the good of the entire break, not just NCVC. Good team tactics.

The race was won by NCVC fairly.
Correct! That's how it went down fair and squareJames Curry
Apr 8, 2003 6:10 AM
Tuckahoe is a notoriously dangerous race due to narrow roads and 75+ field.

1. Yes, Fencing took place for about 1K, and you know what? At that point 2-3K it was open field day and Alessandro took full advantage of that. I marked him on his first and most powerful pursuit, and the field bridged up. THAT'S racing! Coppi's one rider and Java Shack/Lanterne Rouge installed a furious chase, led by the stout Italian, which , (BTW Mr.DougB), I didn't see you assisting! So let's think about how the race might have panned out without a little 'aggressive blocking'.

Everyone would have stayed together and no one would have organized a chase, the field sprint would have been utter chaos (let me remind everyone that 8, yes 8, 40+ riders went to the hospitol after a crash at their Sprint.)

2. I, as well as any fit cyclist had NO PROBLEM moving around the narrow road, dispite the large field. WHY? Because the speeds were higher, the pack was linear and THAT'S SAFER!

3. The club in question, yes, controlled the race, but made it safer, a better learning experience for novice riders about how to chase, block and let's face it, this 'dominating team' didn't dominate the top ten, check the results.

4. Category 4 is a learning group. You learn what to do in a 4 race. EVERY Cat 3+ field has similar tactics, teamwork and communication.

I think Someone (Fatty) needs to work on his/her bridging skills and apply this obvious analysis! :)
Correct! That's how it went down fair and squareDougB
Apr 8, 2003 6:28 AM
So, Ms. Curry, you blocked the entire race for the safety of the field? To save us all from the hospital? Because you were scared?

You spent too much time at the back of the chase group because Alessandro, Steve Gantz, Mark Kerlin, myself, Snow Valley, Coppi Stud, and a couple others did plenty of pulling.

Of course you had no trouble moving around in the pack. Are you riders stupid enough to block you too?

Curry, get a grip. Don't compare your women's squad to Cat 3. You say Cat 4 is a learning group. What did you learn? Are you a better rider? Or did you sand bag the entire race. You should've stayed in the parking lot and borrowed someone's trainer. Afterall, there are no wrecks on a trainer.

I learned something from this race: your team is pathetic.
Temper, Temper! Season just startedJames Curry
Apr 8, 2003 6:50 AM
Racing is the best training! No, No, you guys put in a great chase. Very impressive! Let's not get out of sorts. Plenty more races this season for you to demonstrate your communication skills. YOU, I ASSume are going to Seaford? :)
Hmmmmmjuanteal
Apr 8, 2003 8:55 AM
What was the average speed of the race? About 25mph? You really think NCVC sat at the front of the chase group blocking while maintaining 25mph for 36 miles? In reality, there were pleny of other jersey's at the front of the chase group, probably even you, DougB, because there's no way our 8 guys could have held that pace and simultaneously blocked 30 other pissed-off riders for 36 miles! They're only human!

Knowing that, here's an example of pathetic racing: Team X is not represented in the break, but has a bunch of fresh guys in the chase group. Yet Team X is unable throughout the course of 36 miles to put together a bridge.

Do you have teammates, DougB? Can you bridge a 20 second gap? (that's about how big it was the final 15k). Or were you one of the guys who couldn't handle the 25mph pace of the chase group and ended up back at your car with the other "women."

By the way, take on our real women's team. They'll teach you a lesson too.
Hmmmmmsbullet
Apr 8, 2003 9:37 AM
The average speed was around 25 mph, but that includes the first lap at 21-22, even downhill, during the blocking, and much faster speeds during the chase. No one is more frustrated than I, after taking the lead from 55, to 35, to 15 seconds, that the bridge was unsuccessful, but there's a certain advantage to being able to wait to step up the pace in the lead group, rather than hammering for an hour giving chase. I thought that was the point of the blocking. Honestly, on a course that flat, I was stunned the gap wasn't over a minute; even with 15 minutes of blocking, I would have expected a hard-charging breakaway to open up a mile lead...
HmmmmmDougB
Apr 8, 2003 12:31 PM
Again, you weren't there to witness any of this. Talk to some of your teammates who were in the chase group.

Once we got a group of riders in front of NCVC (I think somewhere midway through the second lap), there were about 8 guys who rode heroically to bring the gap from 55 down to 20 seconds. That was the fun part. Several of us tried to bridge and failed--including me. But the point is we tried.

I could barely walk after the race from contibuting what I could to the reel in effort. I do have teammates. They were all up front pushing the pace with the Coppi and Snow Valley guys (if you read the thread above, one of your teammates admits that Alessandro was an animal). Trust me when I say your team had nothing to do with the 25 mile per hour pace.

If you had entered your women's team in this race they would not have agreed to pull such gutless tactics.

We left it all on the course. NCVC left it all on the starting line.
HmmmmmMenger 18
Apr 8, 2003 7:09 PM
Doug - reference my post below please. It's worth stating here again, however, that the break was not planned and certainly was not intended to have anything to do w/ the fact that we SMARTLY, along w/ some others, staged up front and early. Easy to understand how the fact that our numbers are significant, and that our intelligent tactic, staging early so you don't get stuck in the back on narrow roads, resulted in a glut of NCVC at the head of the race. There were other teams there as well (ref post below). You're not doing anybody, including yourself, any good w/ the crap talk and insults.
A word about invectiveJimena
Apr 9, 2003 3:29 AM
I'm sorry I read any part of this thread, but have to say I find your endless use of "women" as a slur against male racers to be very offensive. Couldn't you find a more effective way to insult them than by feminizing them?

I have this feeling it would not take very long for you to shoot out the back of the women's 123 field.

Your sexism certainly wont get you very far around here.
A word about invectiveDougB
Apr 9, 2003 8:35 AM
Jimena,

I am sorry if I offended you. This was an all male race and the audience I was trying to offend was male (sort of).

I am not the slightest bit sexist, and I'm sure many of the lady 123's would kick my butt all over the course. I have been slaughtered by many women riders in triathlons. I am sorry you read this thread too. Please accept my personal apology.

BUT, I am not running for office. And I am not trying to "get very far around here." Just trying to ride my bike.
A word about invectiveMenger 18
Apr 9, 2003 8:15 PM
I think you're missing the point there doug. You are a sexist. "the audience I was trying to offend was male (sort of)." using "women" as the MEANS for insulting men is tremendously offensive towards women, and sexist. Based on your other posts, and the absolute absence of intelligence/logic in this one, I'd say your just not that swift. Perhaps if you'd put half the energy you've expended on these posts into your training, you'd have been in the break. Of course, I assume you are as smart as a 7 year old, or else took the advice of one, and were also staged up front of the race you're harping on, and that you just did not have the fitness to make the break or bridge such a small gap.

Stop crying and start training!
We are all still waiting...DougB
Apr 10, 2003 5:55 AM
...for one logical argument that what your team did was good for our sport. Try to keep your mental energy focused
on the issue at hand.

In fact, let's just do everyone a favor and end this here with a simple question:

Why are you proud of the way your chase group raced?

This is my last post. See you at the races...
A word about invectiveNightengale
Apr 10, 2003 7:06 AM
Check a book called "odd girl out" I think, it talks about how girls often ostracize other girls and refuse to talk to or play with them. I heard about it on the Diane Rheim show. That is kind of how that race felt. We were not allowed to play. Doug may not be pc but he does have a point.
Mark
re: Active/Agressive Blocking question - let's get it rightDougB
Apr 8, 2003 6:14 AM
Scott,

Correct me if I am wrong, but from the content of your two postings, you were in the front group. So, how can you attempt to speak for what went on in the chase group?

1. Noone cares what transpired in the lead group. It sounds as if you are feeling a little empty in the victory though. "NCVC did all the work in the front group." "Our 6 minute solo guy got reeled in because our lead group was about to get caught." Of course you did all the work in the lead group--did you expect the other riders to protect you there too? Are you a wittle bit angwy because your lead group had to work? There is no justification for the NCVC win because of what went on at the staging of the race.

2. It sounds as if you agree that you all sat around for 20 minutes at the start of the race positioning yourselves at the front. So clearly this was a planned "tactic." Which proves all of our points in that you all are a pathetic lot.

You say there was room at the front of the staging area. I'm sure nobody thought that it was necessary to bring their bikes to the front of the line and weasel their way in front of your "team." ...Except maybe the other riders that made the initial break. Perhaps they were aware of past performances by NCVC?

3. The chasing group was blocking for much longer than 2-3 K. They blocked for at least the entire first lap. And attempted to do so for the entire race.

The initial post to begin this thread questioned the legitimacy of these tactics. As I said before, I'm sure it was technically legal. And that is fine. I personally enjoyed the race and we all worked hard to reel in the lead group.

The other question was were the tactics "cool." This is where your team will suffer. Noone has any respect for NCVC. As a competitive athelete who enjoys the spirit of competition and pushing my body to its limits, I would never
consider riding with your team. You are not helping anyone on your team become a better rider. All you are doing is parading around a bunch of lackeys to try to gather BAR points in a 4/5 race.

It is quite clear to me and the others in the chase group that you all have no pride. The new team moto that should be posted to your web site is as follows:

NCVC. IF YOU CAN'T BEAT 'EM, BLOCK 'EM.

And perhaps a new team color should be pink? Yellow?
Minor point, doug: No bar points for this race (nm)juanteal
Apr 8, 2003 8:58 AM
re: Active/Agressive Blocking question - let's get it rightMenger 18
Apr 8, 2003 6:42 PM
Doug - you're obviously pretty upset over all of this. I'd suggest letting it go. It was one race. You should also note that you are pretty much the only one, in fact THE only one, throwing around a lot of slanderous stuff and attempting to fluff your case and gain credibility by speaking for ALL racers. That's really going out on a limb. NCVC has a long history of producing quality racers, ranging from National Champions to top regional and local racers. Believe it or not, half YOUR team came from NCVC and we are still best of friends. Just ask around your OWN TEAM and I think that you'll find all will attest to the integrity, professionalism and quality of the club and all riders. (Ask Chris about the AgCrit last year!!!)

That being said, Tuck is a one-off race, in that it has, as ALL know, super narrow roads. Everyone knows it. NCVC and all smart riders (esp if they've done the race before) know that unlike any other race, it's worth getting to the line early. Staging is always important, but here, it's super important. As you pointed out, even a 7 year old could figure that out. Question is, why didn't you?? When the lead break went, right out of the neutral roll out, it containd both NCVC riders, and a couple riders (smarter than your average 7 year old) from other teams. The break was not planned to be a function of the staging. It was a last minute idea, by ME. Primary motivation was just to lift the pace, as we'd been standing still for so long in the cold, string things out a bit, and just get folks moving along. A gap opened up, and that was that. Again, the break was, from the outset, a mix of teams. I will not rehash the rest, it's already been stated.

Take a chill pill and just roll it up to the line, like we all do. I think that you'll find yourself concluding, as the season rolls on, that this bunch of "women" will kick butt on any course, in all categories. There's a reason why we have such a large club: we are good, and we are good people. Again, just ask your OWN TEAM!!
Tuckahoe 95, a real rip roarin versionNightengale
Apr 9, 2003 7:00 AM
1/2/3 race, full field. A lap or two in, a solo attack, rider begins to go clear. Three riders bridge. They have a gap that is a bit to big to bridge and the speed is very, very high. There is a crosswind. After a few laps of chasing, the field splits, in the wind, and 10 riders bridge to the break. It fights out the sprint well in front of a shattered field. The strongest man in the race won, Skip Foley, who started it all with a solo break. This is my idea of Tuckahoe, not the farce we saw last Saturday.
re: Active/Agressive Blocking question - let's get it rightDougB
Apr 9, 2003 8:27 AM
Actually, I'm not the slightest bit upset over this. I had a blast Saturday and this discussion is quite entertaining as well. I will stand by my opinion--and the opinion of MANY others on this discussion and riders we spoke with after the race--that the NCVC riders in the chase group pulled a lame move. You can call it smart and legal and tactically genius all you want, but most Cat 4/5 riders don't typically scout courses before a race and decide to get there early to line up on the tape. In fact, if we repeated this race next week, I would do nothing differently.

I think it is great that you have a large team. And I agree that NCVC has some awesome riders and has done a lot for cycling around this area.

To set the record straight, no one on our team has come from NCVC (although, I bet we gain a few riders soon due to the classless antics you all displayed). And I have no clue who Chris is. Our team was founded for the very reason behind the gutless stupidity your chase group displayed. Our mission is to help promote cycling. We ride hard. We love cycling and competition. We aim to foster the growth of athletes new to and passionate about cycling. We have no desire to be a big team like NCVC. We are just a bunch of good guys who love to ride.

If you guys want to do this at every race and think it is good for the sport, so be it. That is your opinion. But, so far, no one has given any intelligent reason why this was good for the sport--or NCVC.

Someone posted a question and all I have done is chimed in on my opinion (I think we can still do that in the good old US of A). The slanderous remarks are not intended to fluff my case or gain credibility. They are intended to irritate people like you. Thanks for the reinforcement. It is also intended to provoke others who feel passionately about this issue to voice their opinion. We all need to really take a hard look at what happened at Chesapeake and decide if should be continued.

You said it all happened accidentally. Could be. It was cold and you were smart to pick up the pace. But, what your chase group did was not accidental. They baracaded the front of the race for well over an entire loop, thereby
bumming out a bunch of people that paid good money to compete.

The only thing you are right about in this email (besides NCVC producing a bunch of great riders) is that I would get spit off the back of a women's 123 race. No doubt. I am a mediocre rider at best. But I come to compete and get stronger and learn about this great sport. I still managed to compete and get stronger by busting tail with my teammates and others reeling in the break group. But I learned nothing--besides what I have aready stated about the members of your team that were in the chase group.

Ta Ta
re: Active/Agressive Blocking question - let's get it rightSTurner
Apr 9, 2003 8:56 AM
Issue 1: I think you are confused about Lanterne Rouge. Maybe you are thinking of the team Red Lantern also in the DC Metro Area. Not that it really matters, but for the record, nobody from Lanterne Rouge has ever ridden for NCVC. Check out our roster if you want at http://www.geocities.com/lanternerouge_2000/roster.htm.

Issue 2: As the guy who started and runs Lanterne Rouge, here's the club's perspective on this.

NCVC's large numbers have certainly changed the nature of local racing over the last few years, and its has a tradition of promoting local cycling and influencing races for the better. (E.G. Racing has gotten faster and more competitive, and Poolesville is a great road race.) NCVC can push the pace and set up its sprinters for amazingly fast sprints (good teamwork in the spirit of competition), like it did at Warsaw last year, or it can "legally" put a chokehold on a race before it even starts (good teamwork in the spirit of no competition), like it did at Tuckahoe.

True, technically, NCVC did nothing wrong... technically.

This is not about whether you CAN implement a strategy - you clearly can. It's not about whether it is LEGAL to implement a tactic - it clearly is. This is about whether you SHOULD implement a tactic - not so clear.

Food for thought: When Jan crashed in the 2001 Tour, Lance COULD have pushed the pace and it would have been LEGAL to do so. Instead, he sat up, waited for Jan, asked him if he was okay, then started racing again. When asked why he did it, Lance said, "I just didn't want to win that way." Personally, for me, it's moments like that, the political combined with tactical decisions that make cycling unique and special.

I have 3 basic questions that I would love to hear the official NCVC answer to:

First, was that tactic in keeping with NCVC's tradition of promoting cycling? Since this was a Cat 4/5 race, there's a good chance that some people were racing on Saturday for their first time ever, and they were so turned off by what they experienced that they will never race again.

Second, were your perfectly legal tactics in the spirit of competition or was this is a case of wanting to guarantee a win?

Third, is this going to become NCVC's Cat. 4 standard operating procedure? I saw somewhere someone advocating team limits for local races. Do we really want to go there? It seems like that would be bad for promoters who need to sign up participants, and bad for NCVC, who would have to choose who from its Cat. 4 squad can race. In such a scenario, wouldn't your membership shrink? Would you want that?

Perhaps you feel that "might makes right," and yes, NCVC won "fair and square." But I ask you to consider this. NCVC in the last couple of years has developed a very large membership of active racers to draw from and dominate races. We don't have a problem with that. Dominate -races all you want - launch attack after attack - push the pace - set up sprints from miles out - just don't suppress races before they even start (even if it is "legal").

I'm honestly very interested to hear the NCVC perspective on this.

All that said, a listserve isn't really the place to work this out, when local races are available. Us little teams are rising up and against "The Man."

Little teams UNITE to work collectively, yet fairly and legally, against the Big Red & White.

Power to the people!

Out
re: Active/Agressive Blocking question - let's get it rightNightengale
Apr 9, 2003 6:07 AM
There were no bar points in that race since it was a 4/5
Hmmm -- your opinion is clearly in the minority here.nm.crashjames
Apr 8, 2003 6:16 AM
re: Active/Agressive Blocking question - let's get it rightcbass
Apr 8, 2003 7:42 AM
NCVC did not do all of the organization. A couple of your guys were very vocal & did a very nice job to keep it organized for sure, but there were also few other guys that were vocal in getting the break organized & jumpstart the paceline when things slowed.

In more than a few cases it was an NCVC guy that stalled the paceline. In those instances, the NCVC leader was yelling at his teammate to move over to keep things going. That was pretty cool. In fact, once the break got going the NCVC guys in the break did a nice job and were fun to ride with.

There were a few guys that sat on most, if not all, of the break, but NCVC was not the only team that picked up the speed when the chase group got closer.

In my view the NCVC guy that rode off the front for a while was very strong, but he was never more than a few seconds ahead and it was clear that we were too far from the finish for it to stick.

Earlier there was a brief attack by 4 guys that got a few seconds on the break...one of my teammates and I chased to join them, but towed the rest of the break with us.

The best chance was for the group to work together and battle it out on the last lap.

Once we got in the break the race was fair, fun, and competitive. My only complaint was with the tactic of putting up a slow moving roadblock from the start of the race. While technically legal, it was simply unsportsmanlike and unsafe.

You guys had plenty of strong riders to do well without using that tactic. You had enough guys to start the break, sit on the chase, disrupt any paceline in the pack, launch multiple attacks if the field came together, and still have a few guys completely rested for a sprint. Instead you had a bunch of guys show up and basically do a group ride while a handful did a race in the break.

I'll give you credit for being very well organized, doing a nice job to keep the speed up in the break, & winning the race, but overall the impression of your team was pretty negative. A lot of riders were physically unable to get involved in the race due to NCVC riders blocking the road.
re: Active/Agressive Blocking question - let's get it rightsbullet
Apr 8, 2003 9:29 AM
I feel compelled to respond as someone trapped behind the NCVC rolling roadblock well past the S/F line on the first lap (much more than 2-3K). The only reason anyone was able to push through to the front was a chance encounter with a large panel truck parked in the right lane (the only legal lane), which gave the group a legit opportunity to cross the yellow line and get around.

I think those who have raised the issue of sportsmanship are right on target. USCF rules of racing include under general misconduct "Offering, conspiring, or attempting to cause any race to result otherwise than on its merits." I think the obstruction tactics, while technically legal, only go to show a fundamental approach to racing based on protecting weakness, rather than showing strength. This stumps me, because I know there's talent all over that team.

There's also a certain ridiculousness to plotting this sort of plan in a novice race, but NCVC isn't unique in taking themselves too seriously. Racing at this (low) level is supposed to be fun, and I think that's why people are so annoyed at the way it went off.
re: Active/Agressive Blocking question - let's get it rightGus8
Apr 8, 2003 11:08 AM
NCVC is doing a real disservice to 4/5 racing in the area with this. Their team really needs to get together and consider what effect this sort of racing is going to have on them and on area racing for the rest of the year. I was in the "chase" group and felt the tactic was not only unsportsmanlike, but also dangerous. There were points when they had riders over the yellow line to further obstruct those who were trying to squeeze up that lane. Racers who have spent considerable time training, paid an entry fee, and taken time out of their weekend will become increasingly frustrated with the goon tactics, as evidenced by this thread here.

If NCVC continues to do this here is what will happen:

1.) The staging area will become a "mosh pit".

2.) The first 2k of every race will be an elbow laden sprint.

3.) CRASHES. Frustrated riders will take bumps they normally wouldn't even consider. The anger towards what you did was high on Saturday and I imagine it will only be worse next time. I hope it doesn't happen but if you guys continue to hit the brakes four wide and pinch people off there will be some bad crashes.

4.) NCVC will continue to foster bad blood between other area clubs.

The real issue here guys is safety. I'm asking you to show this thread to someone on your team who is more experienced (1/2/3) and see what they think of the situation.

Consider that when Snow Valley or some other elite team goes out and dominates a race through strength and tactics there is always praise for the way they raced. That isn't the case with what you did.

Race well.
re: Active/Agressive Blocking questionNightengale
Apr 8, 2003 5:28 AM
The real issue is sportsmanship. Mirriam-Webster defines sportsmanship as: conduct (as fairness, respect for one's opponent, and graciousness in winning or losing) becoming to one participating in a sport. What do you value more, winning for the sake of victory, or sportsmanship. Sometimes sportsmanship is sacrificed on the altar of victory. When the progress of the field is completely obstructed, I think that that indicates a lack of respect for the other competitors. My point is that there is a difference between obstruction, and disrupting a chase. The latter is sportsmanlike and the former is not. It was an effective tactic, but I think it resulted in a pyrihhic victory. That is, what they gained in winning, was outweighed by what they lost, both for the sport, and for themselves.
The real issueJimena
Apr 9, 2003 3:48 AM
This race is problematic every year because one lane of the road cannot accomodate a 75 man pack. I tried to get a 'rolling enclosure' from the MD state highway patrol, but there are no moto cops who will agree to serve in that capacity. MD has a director of traffic who is opposed, having been involved in the Tour Du Pont, and having apparently had some bad experiences with locals who don't want to be impeded in their movement. He just kept telling me how complicated it was, even though it would seem to be really simple to get to use the whole road through a rolling closure.

Local traffic is relatively calm out there, and we still had problems with people not wanting to wait 5 minutes for the end of the race to come through on the last lap before they drove out onto the course. Luckily, our troopers did effectively block the few cars, and our road guards killed them with kindness.

There is a whole set of negative associations between transportation officials, community members and cyclists, and it starts with our attitude. I did not really appreciate all the littering that was done out there, and neither did the park people or the people who live on the route.

Obnoxious cyclists are where the problem starts, and if it were not for them, we might have had a totally different race. Some concerted effort and pressure needs to be brought to bear on MD transportation officials to allow rolling closures. Someone needs to organize a training seminar for the motos. Letters need to be written, requests made. It's not the law that's the problem it's the politics. MABRA needs to step up. We have had ONE rolling closure race in MD last year -- tour de PG County road race, and I could not get in contact with Keith Shuey to find out how he permitted that race, but someone needs to before racing in this area becomes a joke.

Me, I'm thinking of moving away.
TDW 2004James Curry
Apr 9, 2003 8:51 AM
Jimena,

On a related note, how much do you work with Keith? TDWarsaw is not looking good due to a USCF-officials-shortage among other factors! A similar problem occurs in the tourde warsaw with large fields and narrow roads-although, they are not nearly as narrow as Tuckahoe. I guess every race has its problems whether on the balance sheet or on the course.

One thing I like about working with him is we separate team issues. He rides and supports Chesapeake Wheelmen, and I NCVC, but we work smoothly, and communicate well [in the little communications I have done with him so far]-partially because I approach the TDW not as a club member but with professional interest, and respect Keith as a veteran race promoter. Regardless, our capacity for professionalism keeps us out of this smearing!
re: Active/Agressive Blocking questionSTurner
Apr 8, 2003 8:20 AM
Q: Is this cool? A: No.

Q: Is this within the rules? A: Yes

Q: What would you do...? A: This one is in the books, but it's a long season. Of course we will all be racing to win. However, all who disagree with NCVC's "tactics" should start racing with a secondary motive -- to keep NCVC from winning anything else this year. All teams should not only work and "communicate" to help their members succeed, but to keep NCVC out of the money.

As I see it. That's all we CAN do. Well, that and complain more on e-mail.