So I’ve been reading through race reports from Gruber and I keep running across a recurring theme – passing etiquette. As you all know, unlike other types of racing, we operate on a fairly narrow track and we’re also participating in a race with other folks of a wide range of skill and speed. Inevitably, you’re going to either catch up to a slower rider or be that slower rider that has been caught up to. If you’re the slow rider, we need you to do your best effort to move over and give the faster rider a little room to make a safe pass. We’re not saying crash out or endanger yourself. Here are a couple of tips:
1. When you notice the faster rider and they indicate they want to pass, start looking for a place where you can safely move to the side to make some passing room. You don’t always have a spot right away, so I, personally, like to hold my hand up to let the other rider know that I’m trying.
2. When you find a place to get to the side or the trail opens up, point with your hand or foot to the side you want the rider to pass. Don’t wobble around the trail – hold your line. This helps both of you. Ideally, you shouldn’t even have to stop.
3. Check your ego at the starting line. It doesn’t matter who caught up to you…if they’re not in your class, you shouldn’t be holding them up. I like to make a mental note of the rider and try my best to extend the time it takes for them to catch up with me – just a little motivation to improve.
Now from the other side of the coin, we need our faster riders to be courteous of the slower riders. Here are some tips for you guys too:
1. Let the rider know you want around. Sometimes revving isn’t enough. The best “I want to pass sound” I’ve ever heard is a loud “whoop whoop!” Think Xena warrior princess. haha.
2. Be patient. Slower riders might be nervous and focused on getting through a section. Don’t make things worse by rubbing tires on a gnarly uphill or downhill. Remember also that the slower riders are competing too and their battle with the classmate in front of them is no less important than your battle with your classmate.
3. Keep it civil. If a rider’s hanging you up for a long time unnecessarily or aggressively, let’s educate that rider on proper trail etiquette. If you’re too irritated, find an officer and we’ll talk to the rider.
The key thing to remember is that we have a lot of different classes on the track. For the most part, you’re not competing with people from other classes, so why hold them up? Let’s all just be aware of one another and remember that we’re all out here to have fun and we all are here to compete.