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Author Topic: When to say when...  (Read 10045 times)
hypnogic
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« on: February 17, 2014, 04:02:09 PM »

This has to do with rider safety, and it's not a gripe, but a concern. In the wake of a personally disastrous weekend race, I feel compelled to speak up about "when to say when."

The Coyote Classic - from a rider safety standpoint - was anything but exemplary, and a lack of manpower/volunteers can be cited as the primary reason. I am a lowly C-rider, who relies heavily on clear course markings to make it to the finish line (that and some very patient sweeps).

Up until this race, I'd never missed a single turn, hit a potentially dangerous spot unawares or veered off course. Yet, TWICE I found myself wondering where the pretty pink ribbons and the W "wrong way, Fred" signs had gone because they weren't to be found.

After doubling back in a wash (after struggling through it til it at last forked into a wider, Jeep-like wash, and waiting for about 20 minutes for a sweeper to show up and point me in the right direction, I took a WAG that a trail (with no obvious markings) was where I should travel next. I'd have back tracked all the way to the checkpoint if I hadn't thought that might be too dangerous because of the potential of opposite direction traffic.

Traveled that trail for a while before a pink ribbon finally presented itself. Stayed tried and true there until it opened up to a Jeep road where once again, the pink was nowhere to be found.

If it weren't for the fact that I waved down AA rider Janik Knittle, who also got off course, there may have been reason to call out the search parties. Thanks for your help, Janik.

When at last I made it to a checkpoint, I was told that I was the lone rider to get lost. This wasn't the case as I heard tales from others at the staging area that they, too, missed markings and had to double back. Truth is, it doesn't matter if it's one or 100 who miss the signs. If an event is too shorthanded to follow AMA rules on adequate markings, it makes for a very risky proposition and perhaps the race should be postponed.

Don't misconstrue this because I seriously appreciate all the hard work and effort the clubs put in to make these events happen, but course safety has to be paramount.
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KTMKP
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« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2014, 05:29:34 PM »

Sorry you had a bad time, myself and three other sweep riders swept most of the C loop, not the last section, but we came back with larges amount of ribbon and arrows. Make sure you are always looking ahead to spot for markers,the dust didn't help much but not much could be done about that..Thanks Kent...
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hypnogic
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« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2014, 07:40:41 PM »

It may have been a situation better served by the placement of more Ws, because I traveled a long way out of the way - all the while, eyes peeled for any marker. Again, not a criticism, simply a concern and something that might be better addressed for future races.

And do want to express that everyone working the race was great and brought a lot of personality to the event. Absolutely no complaints there.

-Christine
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« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2014, 06:20:33 PM »

personally I think the markings were adequate...not stellar but most definitely o.k. as per AMA standards...I raced the C loop and B loop and had no issues whatsoever. The course was massive this year, A lesson to be learned  keep your eyes up  and away from the front fender and keep the head on a swivel...
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Todd B from AZ
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« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2014, 01:46:28 PM »

I have to say I had no problem with any of the marking for the A, B or C loops. I saw the pink ribbon and markings when needed and never got lost. It was pretty hard in my opinion to get off course. Sorry to hear that you didn't have a good experience.
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« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2014, 09:09:20 PM »

I will bring it up at the next AMRA meeting...thanks..
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« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2014, 07:24:44 AM »

FAST'R did a great job adjusting the difficulty of the C race from nearly impossible transfers for beginner riders last year, to a good degree of challenge.  As I repeated several times, we as an organization need to make the C loops really easy and fun and short, while keeping the speeds down so beginning and novice racers don't get hurt from crashing.  If a promoting club wishes to beat the heck out of the riders, do it to the A class.  So, yes, great job FAST'R.

Holding a race at a riding area that is heavily used is a super difficult job.  The course needs to be almost "overmarked" since there are so many trails leading everywhere.   But, almost all of our promoting clubs in AMRA suffer from too few folks working way too hard at every race.  Almost all of us always say to ourselves, "this is the last time....."  CTR really burned out many of our workers, we made a whopping $400 profit for the race.  I spent that money alone in gas driving back and forth to the race site the 4 weekends I worked it.   And Big Sandy is a really easy place to put on a race, hardly any intersecting trails.....

So, it pains me to say anything negative about the last race, but I agree with Christine.  The course was undermarked.  I got lost two times on the course, and there were many times I was racing along thinking, crap, am I lost again, haven't seen a ribbon in a while, ohhh, there's one..... okay... keep hammering.   So, the course was undermarked.

What can we do as racers?  As always, be prepared.  Carry a cell phone in your pack, carry an emergency blanket, and a lighter or some matches.   Not much weight, and it could save your butt...

The other thing is to know where you are.
Chandrah and Aeddon were pissed at me as we approached the turnoff for the OHV area race site Saturday morning, we turned off the radio and I said, so, what milemarker is the race?  Their answer.... uhm, 4? No... 11.5. This year.  What happens if you get really lost, like can't hear a bike, don't have a clue where the trail is..... 
Well, we are racing on the north side of the road, so follow the sun south till you hit the road.....   If you come out near MM4 which way do you turn on the road to hit our MM11.5 race site?  Right turn?  NO.   What happens if you come out at a golf course?  You are at the top of Quintero lane MM13.  How do you remember 13.... oh ya, that is Chandrah's race number....Which way do you turn when Quintero lane hits the pavement?  Right?  Yes!.

So, great job FAST'R, but ya need more banner and W signs two deep at trail crossings.  And maybe all of us racers should offer to help ribbon the course a week in advance.

And Janik, thanks for getting lost and rescuing Christine!
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Mxyamaharider
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« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2014, 05:04:10 PM »

I thought the race was pretty good, loved some of the new race sections although my shoulder wouldn't allow me to keep up with the faster guys. My only complaints were that the markings were a little lax and I spent a lot of the day wondering if I was still on course and even came to a stop a couple times just to look around to as there were no markings at a couple 3 ways that I could see. 100+ miles is a lot to mark though, but on the other hand I also kept wondering if I missed a check due to the insanely long transfers. Personally I would have prefered more race and less transfer miles. Example, I was riding for 4-5 hours but only raced 1h and 15 mins and that was with me racing through the transfers to stay in front of the hanging dust the best I could. Btw, some of those transfers were insane!  Grin

Buck, I'd have to disagree with the "make the C courses super easy" statement. If you go to almost any other series and compare it to AMRA they already have much more challenging races and faster riders in their respective classes. If you make C class races with very little challenge than what happens when they make the move to the B class? Not only do they have to race nearly twice the amount of miles/time but the jump in difficulty would be insane to them.

Also Buck, if you wouldn't mind either answering here or PMing me, why was there so little profit for Big Sandy? I would think it should be very easy to make a good chunk out there being that (to my knowlage) it's private property aka no expensive permits?  Huh
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« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2014, 05:31:55 PM »

I know the land owner gets a piece of the pie....
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« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2014, 05:38:49 PM »

I know the land owner gets a piece of the pie....

True, but most/a lot of the time it's simply the gate fee so?
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« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2014, 07:24:07 PM »

If it hadn't been so incredibly cold this year I bet they would have had another 20 entries plus the night race was called off due to freezing temps, 30+ mph winds, and sleet.  Cold weather and gusty wind doesn't help sell T-shirts either.  

CTR should have left that cold weather in Flagstaff  Grin  Sunday was beautiful for the kids.  We all just get screwed by the weather once in awhile.
« Last Edit: February 20, 2014, 07:25:59 PM by Eric Schettler » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2014, 07:42:30 PM »

A thought, and I'm new so maybe from my first season as a C rider maybe some "middle of the road insight". All the races so far I had a few moments of uncertainty, heck ON the ACP track I went off twice, then even went through the ribbon on the little tabletop before we had to make a hard left to the small endurocross section!!!
That being said, the trail needs to be marked, but are we all never going to have a moment of question, probably not. Is marking to the point of overkill the answer, probably not. And while not pointing good or bad in reference to the Classic (I thought it was pretty good), but more of the resource's involved. The Club's each have limited resource's/manpower/time, so maybe just some ideas (granted I have none at present) on how to allow others to get more involved, again, I don't know the answer, all the Clubs are about getting more involved. And I did hear earlier this year about having the C race be less difficult, but how can "we", as riders, become more a part of each race in the series? And being new I know this probably has already been asked at one point, but maybe just as a new thread to spark some interest.... I was just thinking from talking so other riders that the work is a lot, lot of effort/time/dedication, and it's saddening to hear the criticism, while it may be warranted, but hope that good comes of it....

OH, btw, who ever posted "point your foot out for someone to pass" worked awesome at the MM"s for me!!!!
-Thomas.
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Thomas Connelly
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« Reply #12 on: February 20, 2014, 08:23:12 PM »

So a question for those who thought the markings were a little sparse; did you read the rider's instructions? It was explicitly stated that they would be sparse in the transfers, but all turns off the current trail would be marked well. Was this not the case? I was the A loop captain, so not sure about the other loops. Other than the A/B split debacle (race day mistake by one individual, and not per plan), I know my loop was marked appropriately.

I will say AMRA racers are a little soft in regards to course difficulty, markings, needing to know course details etc. I think that comes with being a fairly new series. A lot of our racers have never raced anywhere else. Maybe the answer to course difficulty is making the loop breaks differently (ie. Open, 250, 200 30+ C's do B loop etc.)

Geoff Brownell
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« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2014, 08:41:42 PM »

As you said I knew the transfers would be low on markings as was explained in the riders meeting. C loop had the hanging dust so I don't even remember the markings, I just followed the dust.  Tongue B loop is where I had some issues, the main one being where you drop into the side of a wash and there were no arrows or ribbon as to which way to go. Looked as though people had gone both directions. I actually stopped and looked around until I saw a piece of ribbon a good ways away. There is no way I'd have seen it at race speed to know which way to turn. Other than that it's hard to remember which ones were test or transfer tbh. Like I said, I thought it was pretty good. There are always going to be some missed markings.
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« Reply #14 on: February 21, 2014, 07:08:13 AM »

There was another way I looked to find the next ribbon, go faster, the faster I went the quicker they came by, throttle is on the right, just turn it!!!!
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Thomas Connelly
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