Monday, March 2, 2009

Rules, Rules, Rules

I've recently been submitting monthly articles for Texas' top cylcing magazine, The Racing Post. Here is the article for this months issue. I am currently working on the Lago Vista race report where I succesfully finished both days...

Rules, Rules, Rules

A couple of weekends ago, at the Alsation Country Omnium, there was a fair amount of frustration and disillusionment when the results came out showing that a number of riders had been relegated in the P1/2 Road Race. I fully agree with the decisions that the officials made and also think all the racers that crossed the yellow line, myself included, during the race should have been relegated as well.
Before the start of the race when the officials were calling out the rules, they stated more than once that if anyone crossed over the yellow line and advanced positions that their day was over. They also forewarned of the heavy cross winds and if you were already in an echelon and straddling the yellow line then to start a second or a third echelon.
For the first two laps of the race everyone was doing a good job on staying on the right hand side of the road, but at the beginning of the third lap a few of the strong riders got to the front during the cross wind section and really ramped up the pace. This move shattered the field into numerous groups leaving the lead group with about 20 or so racers in it. Before long, a few guys started to venture on to the left hand side of the road, and the next thing you know about 95% of the field was on the wrong side of the road. In fear of being shelled off the back I too made the wrong decision to take shelter from the wind on the wrong side of the road. The blatant abuse of the yellow line rule caused the follow vehicle to stop the group, allowing all the dropped racers to catch back on. I’m not saying I was ecstatic when the officials stopped us, but looking back I agree 100% with what the officials did.
These kinds of rules are made for the safety of the racers. We are not Pros, at least most of us aren’t, and don’t have the privilege of having the entire highway shut down for us to race on. The officials should have relegated everyone that crossed the yellow line during the race, no matter who they are or what place they got.
As a junior racer in the P1/2’s there are a lot of people that I look up to as role models and guides, and when I see some of them crossing over to the “dark side” I automatically think that it’s OK to follow suit. After the race finished and I had talked to my dad about what happened, I realized how dangerous our actions were. What if as we were cresting the top of a hill a car was driving on the correct side of the road? Most of Texas’ top racers would have been immediately hospitalized or worse and then where would all the role models for the junior racers be? The officials had every right to disqualify us and send us home, but were very generous with only relegations. This was an excellent lesson for an early season race to remind us of what is at stake out there, why there are rules, and what we need to do in the future.


Michael Pincus said...

rules rules rules sigh. what are you going to do about it right? good right up lawson

Alan said...

As we matoour our relationship(with the yellow line) matoours with us.