Good Month / Bad Month - July 2022

Jul 25, 2022 at 1:45
by Matt Wragg  


Tom Pidcock (and mountain biking)

Pidcock climbs to glory on the road

In his short time in the XCO field, Tom Pidcock has established himself as arguably the strongest racer in today’s field. The way he assuredly strode away from the field to Olympic gold was glorious to watch. Yet we have always had to accept that we need to share his talents, that he enjoys racing all of the bikes, not least of all road bikes. His junior palmarès were incredible on the road, winning the Baby Giro, which is usually a marker for greatness. As a promising, but more importantly, young, rider, Team Ineos have been incredibly patient with him, allowing him to gain strength and experience without too much expectation. Yet at some point, a promising rider needs to deliver on that promise and although he put in some strong rides, there was nothing to quite back up his earlier form.
It s incredible to watch Tom Pidcock swtich between the disciplines. What a rider.

That was until July 14, Bastille Day in France (if you’re not familiar with Bastille Day, it holds similar importance to July 4th in America). On Alpe D’Huez, a mountain the French press describe as the summit of summits, Tom Pidcock rode to glory amongst thousands upon thousands of fans pressed into the roadside at the Tour de France. Quite simply, it is the stage of the Tour de France where the winner’s name will be written in the history books. And he rode away from everybody else.

On a selfish note, it was a good day for mountain biking too. After all, if Tom Pidcock can come in and put the best in the field to the sword, but look distinctly average on the road, then the whole sport of mountain biking looks like a clown car. It was a joy and a relief to watch him putting the best road cyclists in the world to the sword too.



Lawyers

The gloves are off, again.


Surprisingly, big American corporations are suing each other. Again. It feels like we had just got the last round of legal bitterness between SRAM and Fox out of the way, then it opens up all over again. This time Fox are suing RockShox over their use of bleed valves in their forks.

Unfortunately, as mountain bike technology matures, this is a scenario we are likely to see more and more of. As we have a better understanding of how to optimise the various elements that make up a mountain bike, the difference between the brands is ever-diminishing and the battle for these supposed advantages looks set to get ever more acrimonious.






Trying to Figure Out What the World Cup Will Look Like in 2023

Schroedinger's World Cup?

The biggest news in mountain biking this year is the Discovery takeover of the World Cup from 2023 onwards. It is a story that has many worried about what it means for the future of the sport - what will a media giant like that do, will we be able to watch the races for free, and will we still have Rob Warner in the commentary booth?

Yet as we head into August, nobody knows what is happening next year. While as fans this is not what we would hope for, put yourself in the shoes of the riders and teams for a moment - they know little more than we do. Usually the World Cup calendar is released early in the year, but as of today the teams don’t even know how many races there will be and where. That uncertainty has prompted them to begin forming a riders union to advocate for their rights going forwards, but as time passes it is only natural for them to get more and more worried.

Look at it this way, if your employer told you that your job was going to change completely next year, but they couldn’t tell you how it would change, you’d be pretty worried, right? If the season looks drastically different to next year, will all the teams be able to even afford attending all the races? There are a million questions, and even for those of us who know Chris Ball and believe he might well be the best person for the job are finding it harder and harder to support that position as the silence continues…





Swiss Neutrality

Fractious times in XCO

If two riders collide in the woods and nobody sees it, did it really happen? On the final lap of the XCO World Cup in Lenzerheide, Nino Schurter and Mathias Flückiger went into the final woods section out of view of the cameras in first and second. They came out third and fourth. Everybody involved seems to be keeping fairly tight-lipped about what exactly happened, but Schurter made his displeasure known at the finish line.

It is easy to forget how different XCO is to DHI, where they race against the clock not each other. When the racing is tight, they are searching for a weakness in the rivals, a moment of inattention to grab the advantage and that creates a very different dynamic amongst the competitors.

Nino Schurter is always racing to win but a 4th place will set him up quite nicely for the main event on Sunday.
For a rider who has gladly accepted epithets like “uncompromising” throughout his career, Schurter did not enjoy being denied the history-making 35th win he is so clearly desperate for. What would have been more perfect than sealing that record on home soil? Yet Mathias Flückiger hardly wants a win on home soil any less, history be damned. As someone who has spent a career racing bar-to-bar with Schurter, would anyone expect him not to lay it all on the line as the finish line approached? There are surely riders in the field who would tell you that it’s exactly what they’d expect from Schurter too…






Kindness

You're supposed to stop and help injured riders

There is a weird dynamic we sometimes see in elite racing. When a rider crashes, other riders simply ignore them and carry on with their race. It’s understandable at that level, it is their profession and they are (often) required to ignore that fundamental human instinct to help because they have a job to do. However, if you are not an elite racer you are supposed to stop. We love our sport because of the risks we all accept taking, yet part of what makes those risks acceptable is that idea that if we do fall, we trust that our fellow riders will stop and help.

At the Megavalanche this year, Tracy Hannah was not only taken out, but then hundreds of riders carried on by as she lay there unconscious. Yes, a big part of the appeal of the Mega is that it is a wild, dangerous race, and part of that danger comes from riding so fast amongst so many other riders, but her Instagram posts are hard to watch. Looking at the final podium, there is nobody on there who races to a high enough level to excuse ignoring a downed rider, and this is not a high level race. So if the race winners should have stopped, why didn’t the mid-pack a*sholes? Do better.



Racing Replacements

A missed opportunity?

In most team sports, if an athlete is out of competition the team puts in a replacement so the team can carry on. In DH, the team overall prize is so under-valued that nobody bothers, which is a shame. Teams are built to cater to a certain number of riders - if you have a team with three racers, you will need enough pit space, mechanic time and parts to service three racers. If one of those gets hurt, then you still have three riders’ worth of capacity with only two riders to support, so why not use that extra spot for something good?

When Jackson Connelly got injured it was a blow, but that meant Pinkbike Racing could offer Leona Perrini a couple of races of support. It was a win all-around: Perrini was handed a rare opportunity and the team could field a full set of riders. So why aren’t more teams doing it? At present, Trek are running at 50% capacity on track, with Charlie Harrison and Reece Wilson away from the racing, which is clearly a bad spot for the team to be in. So what if they called up a couple of privateers to fill in? You’d get the speculation ahead of the race as to who people think is good enough to fill the slot, the debate over whether the team made the right decision, and come race day all eyes would be on those riders to see how they do. How is that not a far better situation for the team? And would that not take the pressure off the riders to return to competition as early as possible? Surely if a small team like Pinkbike can manage it…


131 Comments

  • 223 21
 @mattwragg - Seriously? Does your call-out on "Kindness" really pivot on your dismissal of racers at Megavalanche as not famous enough to take their racing seriously? How exactly do you imagine lead riders in *any* mass-start event stopping for a crash? Yes, the riders far enough back in the pack to judge that time had passed & things looked serious should have stopped to help, and if you watch the spectator's vid Tracey posted, that's exactly what they did. Yes, it took a disconcerting dozen seconds, but have you ever raced a mass-start event? If you are at the front, or even in the heat of action in the middle of the pack, it's nearly impossible to stop if someone crashes, even if you realize they are a beloved legend of the sport knocked unconscious. Dissing competitors at a notable event like Megavalanche while at the same time demanding something of them that isn't even feasible is neither kind nor reasonable. Do better!
  • 22 138
flag mattwragg (Aug 1, 2022 at 1:28) (Below Threshold)
 I know Liam, and it may be an interesting chat if/when I next see him, but I stand by my point and will gladly chat to him about it. Or maybe even get punched for it (I hope not as he's a big bugger). But that also means I have some idea of what kind of deal he's on and I do not believe his ability to provide for his family rests on his Mega result.
  • 159 4
 @mattwragg: You're still missing the point. Even if someone in the first two dozen riders was psychic, and knew Tracy was KO the second she hit the ground, locking it up to stop that very instant would have caused a massive pileup and even more injuries. Even the cameraman on the sidelines filming the scene is unable to safely wade into the oncoming pack to help. What is more, this happened at the first corner, where there are spectators, marshals, and medics on hand. Your dismay at Tracey's misfortune is understandable. Your lashing out and placing the blame on others is not.
  • 61 2
 @WarOnErrorism: Yeah, not sure about the thoughts on this, seperating elite races who shouldn't stop and weekend warriors who should.
In a race scenario I don't think I would stop, as there are spectators and medics on the sides, who would deal with a downed rider. If this was a casual ride out on the trails, then of course I would stop, but in a race with so many other people on the sidelines I don't think it's necessary.
  • 11 1
 @melonhead1145: I also think that first pack of riders shouldn't/couldn't stop, but as soon as the crowd diluted it's a must
  • 28 85
flag mattwragg (Aug 1, 2022 at 2:13) (Below Threshold)
 @pakleni: I get that, if stopping creates more danger than it helps, then of course you shouldn't stop. But I strongly believe that the default for all of us, all of the time, should be stopping to help. I caveated this above because I understand that in some racing situations there is so much at stake that ignoring fundamental human decency can be ignored, to some extent, but I still always feel uncomfortable when I see it.
  • 43 22
 If I'm riding my bike and I see someone lying motionless in the track in front of me, I'm stopping to check theyre ok. Simple as that. Matt is spot on here. Riding past a downed rider is not cool. If you are a professional racer at a world level event I can see that you would have a conflict of interest about stopping, but at a Mega?!? Get over yourself if you think your probable 168th position finish is more important than checking a fellow rider isn't in danger of dying.
  • 79 7
 @mattwragg: You're still not getting the point, I think. "mid-pack a**holes"? Are you serious?
I totally agree that everyone, who is able to help, should do so. Rule number one of helping: do not put yourself in danger to help others. Stopping in the mid of a mass start is putting yourself and the others in danger, as there are no hazard-, or braking-lights on your bike. Shouting "attention" "stop" or anything just doesn't help, because it's loud around from all the bikes and rocks and other stuff and everyone is wearing a full face helmet.
As having taken part at the Megavalanche for a few times, I can tell you, 90% of the people going by Tracy just didn't even realize that she was laying there, or that it might be severe injury, as the trail itself is not demanding at this place. A lot of riders just get off balance and crash and get up again, after they sorted themselves out, during a mass start. That's what I would have thought happened, if I had been there. Of course, from the outside it looks a lot different, but the competitors don't have the luxury of a third-person-view, when they are racing.
Nobody, during qualifying, is thinking about their position for the race, if you are not in the first two, or three rows at the start. How could you, as it's impossible to know where you're at, because of all the other riders around you.
And to be clear:
If everyone had known, that this was that bad, I am 100% sure, everyone would have stopped.
And there wouldn't have been any difference, between "elite" racers, or the average Joe mid-pack a**holes as you called them.
Maybe you should take part in the Megavalanche to see how things actually are, before making statements like this. If you already did, I find it hard to understand, how you're able to say something like this.
As for Tracey:
I'm happy to hear that you've got away with a headache and nothing more serious!
  • 30 0
 @mattwragg Rather than being the fault of the competitors, perhaps it was the fault of the event. Crashes are an obvious given in any mass start race, especially a downhill like Mega. When crashes have the potential to turn into pile-ups it seems absolutely inexcusable not to have track marshalls on at least every downhill portion of the race. A marshall should've been there to blow the whistle, maybe raise a flag, and the riders should be educated that this means to slow down, like a motorsports race "no passing under the flag" rule.

Mega started as a good bit of fun but it is really no longer an amateur event, it needs professional-level services and supervision because people no longer race it like an amateur event.
  • 8 2
 Also : the crash was in seeding so every rider is fighting for a spot in final
  • 16 1
 To add to this: The vast majority of the time, a rider untrained in first aid can't realistically do much more than alert emergency crews. At some point the build up of people standing around just causes a scene and interferes with eventual rescue operations. I haven't seen the Instagram clip but I imagine the same general rules apply - what do you expect these other riders to do? Check vitals and then just wait around for the EMTs to arrive? What good does that actually do if everyone is already aware of the crash?
  • 39 2
 @mattwragg: that's really f*cking weird to caveat the situation with "if you're not good enough to win you _must_ stop, but if you're a contender you can get away with being 'an a*shole'."

As has been pointed out many times already, it's just plain hard to stop and that stopping can cause more carnage. It's really up to the race promoters to manage accidents like this, via marshalls and radios and medics. Nothing in the waiver indicates you as a racer needs to interrupt your race to do other people's jobs, not that you should expect that if your injured. How many riders should have stopped? Everyone behind her? So it becomes a red flag and restart situation because onlf one rider down?Just the closest 2 or 3? So they lose any chance of a result because they happened to be close to someone else crashing?

Yes, it 1000% sucks that Tracey got injured, but that's a risk that every single person joining an event like this has to accept. Even those "midpack a*sholes", who cannot be expected to instantly assess the situation and notice that a crashed rider is KOed, and even if they could do that, they still shouldn't stop if they can't help. What exactly did you expect those racers to do? They're not medics, they really shouldn't even touch her unless she's like obviously bleeding out (she was not) AND/or they are properly trained (they were not).

Imagine if one of those "midpack a*sholes" had, say, tried to move her, and it exacerbated an unknown spinal injury? You'd probably be screaming about the exact opposite thing: don't stop, just give room and let the medics do their job! "
  • 18 1
 Matt, You should race the megavalanche and see what it's like. Your idealistic expectations of how people behave in a mass start should be tested in the real world. These aren't bad people who didn't stop. I am sure none of them thought, "there is an unconscious person, but I will keep going because I don't care about them." What BS. These races are chaotic and mentally/physically taxing at best; a rider lying on the ground is not an obvious red flag, and the racers are going too fast to ascertain the extent of her injuries You may have to excuse them for not having the psychic intuition to know she is unconscious and in a bad situation. Besides, stopping in the middle of the track causes more safety liabilites. It is awful and I am sorry for Hannah and I hope she heals fast. At the same time, the Megavalanche is uniquely dangerous because of all the riders. You have to assume a lot of risk competing in this race.
  • 7 0
 My whole take away from this is that Megavalanche should ask themselves if there is any type of organizational or protocol improvements that could help in these situations. Obviously a mass start event is inherently dangerous, and such a long course makes this difficult, but it seems like a single race official could've intervened quickly and effectively here, and right at the start where everyone is still grouped together tightly seems like a great spot to have some extra attention.

While I have never done a mass start event, when I race DH I stop all the time to check on crashed out riders during practice, but for my race run I never have to worry about it as the track is typically covered with race officials and fans who are the first responders. While I really want to believe that I would stop and help if I saw an unconscious racer with nobody helping during a race run, that relies on both actually seeing them and also paying enough attention to notice something's seriously wrong, which could be a tall order when you are 100% committed, full tunnel vision focus. I guess a good anecdote is in my last race, I passed within 5 ft of my girlfriend cheering loudly and in plain sight yet I had no idea where on the track she was.

I guess my point is, kindness and ethics aside, it's simply impractical and wishful to expect racers to also be reliable first responders during their runs. Either this is something better safety protocol can improve, or it's largely unavoidable and something we have to keep in mind when speculating from our laptops, but bashing riders who didn't stop in the heat of race while giving a pass to pro riders doing the same seems wrong.
  • 5 3
 @mattwragg: I hate racers more than most, but expecting other racers to stop to help when there should be medical professionals on site seems bizarre.
  • 9 0
 @IsaacWislon82: Someone said somewhere that it took on the order of 30 seconds for a response to arrive. Frankly that seems appropriate - even pretty fast. The real question is whether there even is a take away here or just sensationalism?
  • 3 0
 @WaterBear: yea that doesn't seem too bad for a response time
  • 7 1
 @WaterBear: Imagine if every midpack a*shole behind her had stopped... Besides how many other crashes likely would have happen just as a byproduct of so many people trying to emergency stop all at once, the response team would have had to wade through a [literal] mass of riders and bikes. Probably would have taken longer than 30 seconds while they screamed at everyone to get the f*ck out of the way so they could do their job.
  • 6 0
 @justinfoil: This is at least half our job as volunteers at the local trail when an emergency evacuation is required - just redirecting riders around and asking people to disperse.
  • 6 1
 @unrooted: and this is the main difference between a casual ride with your buds and a pay to play event like a race: there are professionals on site for the sole purpose of dealing with injured riders. Let the professionals and event organizers take care of it.

Is it courteous to check and see if someone else is ok after an incident? Yes. Are you expected as a fellow participant to be in a position to solve the issue for the other participant? No.
  • 5 0
 @justinfoil: T. Hannah Perishes after Botched Good Sam Rescue; French AG Weighs Negligent Homicide Charges on Liam Moynihan; Commentator Community in Mourning
  • 17 2
 @mattwragg: this article continues the unbroken streak of times I’ve seen the term “do better” used in a condescending, self righteous manner by somebody who’s actually talking out their ass. It’s like waving a flag saying “my opinion is ill-considered and not worth listening to so I’m going to talk down to others in the hope that my condescension is strong enough that they have no choice but to assume they’re in the wrong”.

Mass start races are always chaos, there’s always dozens if not hundreds of crashes, they have professional medics on site, and I’d be pretty confident Tracey is far from the first person to get knocked out there so please drop the elitist BS. Either everyone is obliged to stop, or nobody is obliged to stop. What absolute garbage that half baked rant was.
  • 10 1
 The other missing perspective is: what are the rules of the race? What are riders told in the pre-race briefing?

In the backcountry races I've ridden like the BCBR and Trans-Cascadia, we were told, "You're all our first response team." The rules were, if you come across another rider down, ask if they need help, and stop if they do (or obviously if they can't respond). At other shorter-track and more accessible races, I've been told to continue on to alert the first course marshal you see.

So what were Megavalanche riders told? Stop immediately and help any downed riders? Keep riding and alert a course marshal/medical staff? Something else?

In any case, this is a shitty take. Is it possible some of those riders saw Tracey, went past and thought, "that person needs help, but I want to winnn!!!!!!" Sure. Are there many other and better explanations for what happened in this case? Absolutely.

In my experience with mountain bikers, pros and amateurs alike are more than willing to help out other riders when it's obvious they need help. The time I was part of a group helping an injured rider on the BCBR, we had to keep waiving other racers through with a, "No, we've got plenty of people helping, keep going." At last years Trans-Cascadia, I watched Geoff Kabush pack an injured rider's wheelset back UP Angel's Staircase so race staff could get the rider's bike back to civilization while the rider was evacuated on a helicopter.

In my experience, that's how racers at all levels behave, when it's clear there's someone who needs help. I don't expect these racers were any different.

Tracy's video is a good reminder to all of us to watch out for injured riders who might need help, even in chaotic situations. But it doesn't show a bunch of a*sholes.

This is a weak take that unfairly applies the worst-possible motivations and context to a group of riders in a chaotic situation. Do better.
  • 5 1
 @Socket: Thank you. Yeah this is the second or third article by this author where the premise is really flawed and presumptive. It is hard to tell what planet this guy lives on. I am going to give this writer the benefit of the doubt and consider that he is not an arrogant airhead, but I think Pinkbike needs to support writers that aren't spouting these foolish, immature rants.
  • 6 1
 @MT36: maybe they should allow some privateer writers to step in when the professional ones injure their credibility…
  • 2 0
 Fully agreed, that was a very strange take. Lots of "non elite" riders are trying to become pros. Odd to just dismiss them. I'd say whether pro or total novice you should probably help your fellow human out. What a very weird distinction to make.
  • 1 0
 @WaterBear: I just watched this one: www.instagram.com/p/CftRosErBxM

Looks like folks stop pretty quickly, all things considered. To your point, once there are 4 or 5 riders who are stopped, there's nothing any other rider (who doesn't have relevant medical training) can do.
  • 3 1
 How about instead of bashing on racers who have just as much right as elites to ride their best race possible. Let's instead call out how freaking stupid this kind of a racing start is when the number of racers competing is this large. I could see if it was done in stages so it wasn't such a HUGE cluster...?

It may be entertaining, but as far as racing it's pretty stupid cause so much of it is just luck...
  • 19 0
 @ceecee: Oyy keep me out of this, I wasn't even in the same heat. haha!

On a serious note, I am quite friendly with Matt but completely disagree with his take on this.
A friend of mine was in this qualifying heat and said he saw Tracey crash, we discussed whether he should have stopped and he made a number of valid points.
1. He didn't know she was knocked out/injured as she had literally just crashed and those races are often carnage at the start.
2. There were medics/organisers and spectators about 20metres away better equipped to deal with an injury
3. He didn't want to get rammed from behind and cause another crash.

I would personally also continue on by a crash in the first few corners when its maximum danger and within view of medics etc, unless it was extremely obvious instantaneous help was needed.
Further down the course you clearly ask if they are ok. If there is no response or a negative one with no marshals or other people around then you stop and phone (or ride on to find) help. Same at any enduro race or races like Cape Epic / Trans Madeira and so on.

As for the level of rider, Matt probably didn't look at the full results as there were a decent number of fast + full time riders there but ultimately that doesn't make any difference when it comes to stopping for an injured person. It's 100% situational and nothing to do with the level of racer.

Finally on the point of Elite riders ignoring human decency because it's their job. I don't think that happens at all. In DH or road races things are different, not due to how much the racers are being paid or them needing to brutally ignore injured riders but due to the numbers of marshals/medics/tv people on course who see the incident and can deal with it better.

Ultimately Matt's point stems from a kind place so I can appreciate that, it was just delivered a bit crudely and without full context of the situation.

(Liam)
  • 5 1
 @Socket: glad other ppl see this attitude as well. I’ve stopped reading articles by Matt Wragg for the most part; this is not nearly the first time his condescension and holier-than-thou attitude has been so glaring.
  • 2 6
flag gabiusmaximus (Aug 2, 2022 at 4:09) (Below Threshold)
 So many of the responses here seem to be "No one told me I had to stop, so the right thing to do is just ignore the obviously unconscious rider I just had to steer round, lying in the track"

How ridiculously immature. You are all adults and capable of making your own decisions without someone else making them for you. The right thing to do when you encounter someone lying in the track is to make sure they are protected and not going to come to any further harm until a trained medic arrives. I'm just glad that there were a few mature adults in a field of riders that seemed to be made up mostly of children who need to be told what to do by an adult.
  • 11 0
 @gabiusmaximus: if I see a rider lying in the middle trail, whether racing or just out on a trail ride, 100% of the time I’ll use them as a jump.
  • 3 1
 @unrooted: Ha! This guy thinks everyone on pinkbike is an adult. That's funny.

But yeah love those human jumps... great pop.
  • 2 0
 @MT36: I’m glad someone has a sense of humor, and rides bikes?!?!?
  • 6 0
 @gabiusmaximus: This wasn't just "encounter someone lying in the track". This was a rider crashing in the middle of a pack going race-pace in sketchy-at-best conditions. It was far from obvious that she was unconscious. "Making sure they are protected" is difficult and dangerous, it's a "put on your own oxygen mask first" situation. There were some riders that were in a position to stop, and they did, and then were likely immediately dismissed by the course workers and medics.

I think the bigger issue with this article is that Matt implied that "winners" have an excuse to not stop, but all the "losers" who didn't stop are complete a*sholes. That is the most childish part of this whole thing:

We don't know the exact situation of all the riders who "left her lying there". As pointed out many many times, the vast majority would not have known she was knocked out, most would not have known who it was (and it doesn't matter who it is), and almost all would have added to the danger it they tried the stop.

We _do_ know that Matt Wragg wrote that they're all a*sholes because they can't win and they didn't stop.
  • 3 1
 @MT36: Yeah, but you gotta find the biggest midpack a*shole weekend warrior dad bod that crashed. You'd get way more pop off my beer gut than from Tracey.
  • 1 0
 @justinfoil: I get what you are saying, but if you watch the various videos doing the rounds on social media, there are more than one that clearly show her lying in the middle of the track not moving for a long time, while other riders actively steer to go round her, without slowing down at all. It is at a particularly slow part of the track just before a corner, so they aren't just flying past her without really having time to see her. They are approaching at less than jogging pace, steering round the obviously motionless body in the track, and then continuing on their merry way. After about 50 people go past her like this, a few good samaritans pull up next to her, and start shouting for help.
Yes there are situations where it's hard to tell whats going on when at race pace, but watch the various videos. They do make the people who just blithely rode past look really bad...
  • 3 1
 @the-dudes: so you weren't the rider who swept across track at :07 and sideswiped Hannah?--never mind not stopping. Weird that Wragg mentions you at all. He knows people and wants people to know he knows people
  • 2 0
 @gabiusmaximus:
It seems you have not attended the Megavalanche, or any kind of mass-start race.
As I said before, the riders don't have the luxury of the third-person-view, that you might have, sitting on your cough and viewing the helmet cam footage.
When you are in the pack, you are completely busy with yourself, trying to go forward, not running into someone, or being run into by others, whilst trying to figure out, where to go on the track in order to go as fast as you can, then judge the ground texture, figure out where to brake before a corner to not wash out on the loose rocks and so on.
"Tunnel vision" is a key word here.
Trust me, I've been there and did the Mega a good few times.
Nobody is going by Tracy, deliberately thinking, "naa... I don't care, if she's hurt, I'll go on riding."
Yes, the pace is slow(er) before a corner, but the rest of the pack behind is a lot faster, because they didn't start braking just yet, and they don't expect anyone in front of them to brake a lot earlier before the turn.
That means, the riders behind are approaching the corner quicker and are not prepared to slow down 50m earlier.
Stopping, to help a rider, would result in a massive pile-up. More injuries, abandoned races and broken bike parts (which are replaceable, I know). Plus, the medics would have to take care of more riders, instead of one.
To say it again:
Megavalanche is not your average group ride on the weekends.

And thinking of this differently:
What about the riders, who were in front of Tracy, when she crashed? Why didn't they stop?
- Correct. They didn't know.
Why did nobody stop them, to tell them to go back up the hill to help?
- Correct, that's not how this works.

What I want to say with this is, that the riders that passed by Tracy simply didn't know she actually needed help. There is no one to blame, who went by.
And risking others to crash, because you stop unexpectedly during a mass start race, would not be the smartest idea.

I think this is discussed extensively, and the different views are expressed sufficiently.

The main and most important takeaway is:
Tracy is fine, and maybe the Megavalanche needs a bit more staff and marshals next to the track.
  • 1 0
 @ceecee: Nope, the guy is wearing a yellow TLD Helmet, Liam @the-dudes is wearing a golden Bluegrass helmet.
  • 1 3
 @Morrrice:
You say tunnel vision, I say riders are actively steering round the motionless body lying on the track in front of them.
You say stopping is too dangerous, I say some good guys eventually stopped, and not a single accident was caused.

The only thing we agree on is the Mega obviously needs more staff, but if you have watched the footage and still think the riders who steered round the motionless body directly in front of them as if it was nothing more that a large rock are not a bunch of pricks, then we just aren't going to agree any further than that.

Happy trails!
  • 3 0
 @gabiusmaximus: Not to pick on you, but this kind of reasoning is only speculative, "arm chair warrior" type of analysis and lacks a root in real world experience. Go ride the Megavalanche and see how applicable your moral code is in a mass start. Saying the riders that didn't stop have some sort of personality defect is misinformed and unfair. Yeah it's unfortunate, but these safety issues are for the race organizers to address. Besides, if you are willing to compete in the Megavalanche, you need to accept this sort of risk. It is a consequential endeavor.
  • 83 2
 "Tracy is an elite rider, so it would be perfectly acceptable for her to blow past your unconscious carcass, but those peasents should have helped her."
  • 10 0
 yeah, ironic that as probably the biggest name in the race (someone who actually makes her living from bikes) she seems to be exempt from Matt's suggestion.
  • 47 7
 This Mega story is awful. I thing that the problem is riding in the mob not racing. If you ride among few dozens people and no one stops your conscience is getting "diluted", you no longer think that it's your sole responsibility, you share this responsibility with others so you feel less responsible for that person. This is the way most bad things in human history were possible - diluted responsibility and conscience.
  • 9 2
 For anybody who'd like to learn more about this phenomenon, it's been studied extensively under the names "Bystander Effect" or "Bystander Apathy".
  • 44 5
 @mattwragg get a grip mate. Pro's shouldn't stop but "Mid pack A**holes" should? How about you stop trivialising the achievements of riders just because they don't get paid money for it? Taking a race seriously and getting a good result is just as important to those riders as well. It doesn't matter whether a good result for them is a top 10 or a top 100, it's still just as valid. It's a race. Nobody should be expected to stop unless they personally want to. Assisting downed riders is the job of marshalls/medical personnel.
  • 31 1
 The racing replacement is a great point, even if Pinkbike has made it in a self congratulatory shame on everyone esle manner. If the point of racing is marketing then it would definitely fill that missing exposure, although in mtb its not like motorsport where being put in a faster car is a huge deal, likely quite tricky to find someone who will qualify or get on the live feed who isn't already on a team, still if you have the capacity without costing you much why not roll the dice on an unknown, even if they still finish way back it's still better exposure all round than no rider.
  • 20 15
 I'm a bit bummed that you feel my words were self-congratulatory. I feel quite strongly that privateers should be offered opportunities like that, and the PB team (that I am completely uninvolved with) could manage it, so I did want to try and throw do something of a gauntlet as I think it should be possible if people want to do it...
  • 7 0
 Now I think of it, every other sport I'm remotely interested in always has substitute athletes when the main competitors are unavailable. It's actually bizarre not to do this. Imagine if Ferrari had raced most of the 2001 season with one car when Schumacher broke his leg. What is Trek, for example, doing with their now extra mechanics and other support staff?
  • 7 3
 @mattwragg: I'm maybe being a bit harsh, just felt a little class geek, look how good pinkbike is and nobody like's a showoff even if the're completely right.
  • 1 0
 Although riding a different bike might not make you instantly better, you will instantly become noticed if for example you were the privateer that Trek selected. Off the bike there would be huge benefits too, you’d see how the big teams did it.
  • 3 0
 @maglor: @mattwragg It wasn't an entirely unwarranted critique of this article today since what Matt is describing does actually happen in the World Cup on other factory teams, albeit rarely. Even earlier this week Matthew Sterling was given the nod to come race for Nukeproof Continental this weekend in place of Chris Cumming, who suffered a broken collarbone in Lenzerheide.

Not really going to diss too hard though, I appreciate Matt putting this sentiment out on PB because factory teams rarely make it through the season at full capacity. Shooting shots at some of the bigger teams really does prompt the question why aren't the best-funded teams giving underrated rippers a chance on the big stage? Especially since brands like Trek, Spec, etc. support a lot of regional racers already who would embrace the opportunity.
  • 7 0
 Pivot put Charlie Murray in as a replacement when Matt walker was injured last year and that opportunity resulted in a factory ride with specialized. Pink bike is far from the only team doing this
  • 8 4
 @mattwragg: "privateers should be offered opportunities"

So the race teams are now supposed to expect injury and thus continually keep a tally on which "midpack a*sholes" (to borrow your own phrase) might be a decent fit for their teams and has actual potential to represent the team with comparable results... Is this random rider getting paid to represent the team? Who is taking a pay cut to make that happen? Who is responsible for paying the medical bills if they get hurt wearing team colors while not being actually on the team?

It's nice that team PB had someone waiting in the wings, but it's an unusual situation at best. What would Reece think if next year he has to take a pay cut to make room in the budget to account for "giving privateers a chance"? "Oh, you expect me to crash and get hurt again? Gee, thanks for the vote of confidence!"
  • 1 1
 @Mike-Jay: and if you get hurt trying too hard to represent that big team? They gonna pay your bills? Nope, you don't have a contract that was worked out over weeks or months in silly season. Teams are not going to be able to afford to just add a new rider in the middle of the season and provide them with all the important benefits of being an actual part of that big team.
  • 4 0
 @The-Foiling-Optimist: Ferrari would not have fielded only one car because the constructors/manufacturers championship is arguably just as important as the drivers championship and the money to be lost is insane, millions. It by far out weighs even the cost of wrecking a car to them. Same with other pro sports, a hockey team isn't going to go with one less player because they have a whole farm team system that the cost is already accounted for. Those players are vetted and signed by the team and that's how it works.

Throwing a rando on a DH bike makes less sense, Trek wants to be on the podium and to have their bike place 20th or not even be there is likely irrelevant to them, it's Trek. Team Pinkbike can likely benefit from a rando since they want more exposure, for them any exposure is good exposure. For Trek a poor finish is not good exposure so why pay money to finish poorly. It may not be the best outlook for the players trying to get a full time ride, but that's not why Trek is there.
  • 4 3
 @warmerdamj: "Those players are vetted and signed by the team and that's how it works."

Ding Ding Ding! There is so much logistics behind call-ups and replacements and alternates. It's not just "find a privateer you like and let them borrow some injured pro's team spot". There are contracts, and salaries, and insurance! Racers already often get the short end of the stick regarding risk vs reward*, and now Matt wants amateurs to handle the pressure of representing a professional World Cup team, on short notice and [likely] without all of the back-end support that helps mitigate the risk?

And yes, many many privateers would jump at the opportunity, not realizing that if they eat shit trying to impress the big team, that big team isn't necessarily going to be able to help them long-term, and maybe not even short term, depending on budgets. So while this idea might help a few riders gain some exposure, it's much more likely to ruin some careers, and maybe lives, by pushing riders to go beyond their limits without the safety net of actually being a fully sponsored pro-team rider.

* (Shit, PB has done stories on this imbalance many times in the past and a few times very recently.)
  • 3 1
 @justinfoil: You could say any privateer racing EWS (or whatever) is already "semi" vetted as they're meeting the qualifications to get into the event. The team just has to make sure the rider agrees to the rider safety waiver whereby they have to stop their progress if they see a higher-ranked racer down due to crash...

Yes, I took my passive-aggressive pill today.
  • 2 2
 @iammarkstewart: you win today. I guess next you crash and burn on a comment thread, all the midpack a*shole commenters will have to stop chirping and just prop you up.
  • 3 0
 @justinfoil: Funny how there's complaints about mid-pack a*sholes and now we find ourselves in need of mid-pack a*sholes...
  • 2 0
 @iammarkstewart: Being vetted means that scouts or reps from an organization have looked into your past. Just because you can ride in the EWS doesn't mean you aren't a liability in some other way. Like @justinfoil says, insurance is another huge aspect.

Hockey teams are again a perfect example, though obviously much more organized in that sense. Just look at everything going down in hockey right now. It's a huge reputational liability, what if a major brand picked up a solid privateer, who did well and then decides to celebrate by getting wasted and getting into a bar fight that night. He's representing that major company and likely talking it up the whole time too. These days that kind of stuff will sink a company and a person over night.
  • 2 1
 @warmerdamj: I know what vetted means. Been involved in hockey a lot of my life. I said "semi" to be cheeky so I could be a jerk with my passive-aggressiveness with crash protocol.

Besides, you made my point for me on "semi". You just explained how "fully" vetted isn't a guarantee of anything. So for as many train wreck hockey players there are think of how many more above board players there are. I'd extend that to pro riders. And it doesn't matter how good or bad you are, insurance is always an elephant in the room. Any rider can have that bad couple of seconds. In fact, Ms. Hannah is our case in point.
  • 1 0
 Non factory Supercross teams quite often have a contracts with sponsors to field x amount of riders hence they have to fill empty spots.
Unless all riders from a factory team were out injured then I don’t see why they would pay the cost of another rider. I mean it would be nice if they did but it’s just an extra cost for not much return
  • 28 1
 The positive for lawyers, should've been classified as a negative for consumers really Patent law is in desperate need of reform tbh.
  • 6 0
 They had to try and put a positive spin on things somehow, otherwise its 1 positive to 5 negatives.
  • 7 1
 A bit of sarcasm perhaps. You know, jokes?
  • 2 0
 @dirtyburger: That is a positive in my books.
  • 24 0
 I have always been a bottom 10% dbag, but my goal is to be a mid pack a hole
  • 1 0
 I'm not a racer but in any "event" I'm in I try to be "top of the bottom quarter". Guess that means I'm always stopping...
  • 20 0
 Have you ever seen a video of Megavalanche? She went down in the first corner and the first corner is chaos. You would have to have a death wish to get off you bike there to help somebody. I doubt most would even notice somebody. That's what race staff are for too, they plan for that. What a poor outlook, do better.
  • 16 0
 This is clearly organizers fault.
In road racing (even most basic ones at national level) if rider falls everybody races on BECAUSE there at the end of racers there is a "pick-up" car and medical car which goes last and picks up any riders falling behind the minimal clock limit, any riders with bike issues not resolved AND any riders with medical issues (if they weren't helped before from teams cars ofcourse).
In short, it is organizers responsibility not to left ANYBODY behind because of any issues, there is no responsibily on riders regarding this.
In this well known event it should be the same - there should be medical/mechanic staff going behind last rider to help with any mechanical/medical issue with ANY rider. Or even some staff riding between the pack to be at injured person ASAP.
You cannot count on adrenaline pumped mob to stop for any reason, you just simply cant, this must be solved on organizational level Smile
  • 14 0
 “then the whole sport of mountain biking looks like a clown car”

So if Tom doesn't win a stage at the TDF the ENTIRE sport of mountain biking is a clown car?

Is that like saying since you've never had anything published in The NY Times the entire staff at PB looks likes a clown car.
  • 3 0
 Yeah, that was one of many ill-considered claims in this particular article. For starters it is predicated on the premise that XC is just road racing on different bikes. The fact that a lot of road races/stages end at the top of a hill and don’t even bother with the descent should tell you something about the difference between the two sports.
  • 5 0
 Eh, I think he's basically right. Anytime Pidcock or MvDP show up to a XCO race they stomp all the guys who make their living on the XC circuit, which is a little discouraging for fans of the full-time XC guys (like me). It kind of implies that the full-time XC guys might be big fish in a small pond and that the roadies are just on another level athletically.

On the other hand it's not like these are mid-pack roadies we're talking about - they're CX world champions and some of the best one-day road racers out there. I don't really think we needed this TdF result to know Pidcock is an absolute animal (CX world champs? top 10s in road worlds?) but I get the overall point. Better to be beaten by some of the absolute most freakishly gifted guys on the road circuit than some domestique who wants to try his hand at mtb.

Not really crazy about some of the other points here though... between this and the Gwin article I'm not really feeling Matt's stuff.
  • 3 0
 I think you take any mid level pro road rider and put em into a World Cup xc, they aren't going to do well. The XC racers are beasts. Different training. Different skillset. MvDP and Pidcock are rightfully admired because they can cross over. It isn't something that happens often. At least in my opinion.
  • 1 1
 @bkm303: yeah look there's no question that XC racing is primarily determined by who has the best fitness, but road racing is pretty much entirely determined by that - yeah yeah team tactics etc, but there is no technical skill involved unless you count the technical skills involved in hiding your doping, road racing is basically just a competition to see who is willing to suffer more. Cadel Evans and Michael Rasmussen went from winning XC races to winning road races too, it's not like it's a new thing and it's not like there is some magical training methodology that only roadies have ever heard of that makes them somehow intrinsically fitter than an XC racer doing the same training. I'd be curious* to see how Schurter or Fluckiger would do with road racing - I suspect they'd be at the pointy end. I think if you took [insert top road racer who doesn't currently race MTB here since I don't know many road riders] and put them in the XC field however, they'd more than likely get smoked the second the riding got at all technical.

*curious insofar as I wouldn't bother watching it because even XC racing is pretty boring to watch, road racing is like watching paint dry
  • 20 5
 I guess if you’re out racing for fun @mattwragg thinks you are is a “mid-pack a*shole” Get f*cked looser race me
  • 2 0
 Think you mean loser. Looser works too though
  • 11 0
 Go f*ck yourself @mattwragg
  • 5 0
 Kade has been out for the last few rounds too, Loris was the only elite male racing for Trek Factory Racing this weekend. I can see problems giving those spots to privateers as they may receive support that conflicts with teams own sponsorship deals or get help from rival manufacturers, but you'd think teams would invite riders they sponsor domestically to step in if they have the requisite UCI points.
  • 4 13
flag mattwragg (Aug 1, 2022 at 1:20) (Below Threshold)
 If you're riding for a factory team you don't need points, I believe.
  • 3 0
 @mattwragg: Believe you are right, you can race without UCI points if you are riding for a trade team who has paid the UCI, or if you are put forward by your countries cycling federation. If you are racing solely as a privateer you need UCI points to enter.
  • 3 1
 Loris actually mentioned it's a bit tough without teammates around, but really how much better would it be with some rando thrown in for a single race? Whose mechanic do they use? Whose bike do they ride? What happens if Rando Rider borrows and breaks Kade's bike? What happens if Rando Rider, without a contract, breaks themselves while representing Trek?
  • 6 1
 The mega is serious , you don t stop when the avalanche going , unless you crash
That said it looks like the seeding run first corner, that one is the most badass of the race.
It s is shear adrenaline start and unknown hanldebars wanted to clip you , the speed and size of the rocks is slippery and unpredictable, braking too hard and you wash out like many find out on their first run or later .
Not a good place to crash for few seconds or stop to help .
Good to know Tracey is ok .
The Mega crew is 100 meters away and full visibilty from that spot if i remember ?
I agree that When you can check and stop within your safety and others , take actions for the rider on the floor.
Can t blame Natural Born Racer X flying down Mountains and rocks and snow and positions after the start, unknown to the crash at first corner
Alpe d huez and Peak blanc is Big mountain, I love Mega on a DH bike .
  • 7 2
 it's been a terrible several months for me with life, work and family relations
  • 10 0
 Good luck homie
  • 4 0
 Yeah hang in there eh. Riding helped me through a divorce, relocation and job change. You can do it
  • 2 0
 So, if we end up with only 30 riders making the DH finals next year, doesn't that make it far more likely that privateers will fill vacant spots on trade teams?
In a numbers-limited field like F1, you'll ALWAYS put a reserve driver in a vacant car, so maybe the same culture will develop in DH?
  • 2 2
 There aren't "vacant bikes". Those 30 spots aren't spread between the teams like grid spots in F1. Each spot is individually earned by the rider.
  • 4 2
 Mega Avalanche is what it is - a mob race and if a rider goes down, then one has to wait until the field clears before assisting. Not much more one can do without potentially making the situation worse for all involved. As for July, it has been a good month but busy so riding time has suffered. Would also be nice if certain tyre availability was happening but these are the times we live in when lunatics run the asylum. Stay strong within and at peace.
  • 2 0
 So fox is suing RS for having suspension forks with air bleed valves?

Maybe some of the motorbike fork manufacturers from the 70’s and 80’s that had bleed valves need to sue fox. Marazocchi could make a independent come back if they win.

On a serious note what part of the patent are they suing on as fork air bleed vales have been around for decades so there must be something specific in the patent?

I’m also surprised they managed to patent it, only thing I can think of is that it’s because it’s on the fork lower rather than the stanchions like every other example I can think of.
  • 2 0
 >> Looking at the final podium, there is nobody on there who races to a high enough level to excuse ignoring a downed rider

That's a weird line to draw; if you're famous or fast enough you don't have to stop? We can argue if anyone or no-one should stop, but you're distinction is pretty odd.
  • 5 2
 "Surprisingly, big American corporations are suing each other. " if theres a single person surprised by this its time to be spoon fed shit off of barnsley town hall steps
  • 3 2
 I believe that was written with heavy sarcasm.
  • 1 0
 @barp: it the second example i have come across today some being a lot funnier due to subtlty
  • 1 0
 @Compositepro: On an unrelated note, would you happen to know anyone that’s good with composites
  • 1 0
 @emptybe-er: over in the USA?
  • 1 0
 @emptybe-er: Closest to you would be Ruckus Composites in Portland, assuming you're looking for carbon fiber repair.
  • 1 0
 @barp: No I was just trying to keep the ball rolling but my sarcasm game needs work, obviously.
  • 2 0
 @barp: Thank you though, good to know about Ruckus. Hope I don’t ever require their services
  • 3 2
 + Tom is a freaking legend! He's obviously good and fit, but the way team work has an effect on road racing results is unbeliavable. Team leaders, sprinters, fuel mules, line sweepers, it gets reaaly hard to ride yourself to the victoy. Fortunately it was that stage that had the other teams kind of in shambles and his skills were on point on that descent.

+ Companies should be held responsible if the case is unlawfull. "Justice" system in US benefits whoever puts more money on the cause. It's a problem to everybody, not just giants with lawyers. Just read those stories where small companies are sued to the grave because they were already using a website domain that a big company wanted to use.

- Swiss neutrality never was true neutrality. It had to benefit them. That altercation showed who had the higher spirits despite what happened.

- Kindness was not the main issue. Event organizers are the responsible ones. Who the hell knows how to treat injuries? Right, not riders, Medical Staff. If you are with your buddy, will you go down the mountain because you were hunting a KOM/QOM? If you find an injuried person, no need to be a rider, while on a trail, will you help? That's where kindness should be had. And at the race finish.

- Racing replacements: Are big teams really wanting to service other brand bikes for those riders? Or are privateers geting a new bike for the weekend? Seems risky for both parties.

For a big Plus, besides the Swiss flag, there is a lot of racing happening!
  • 1 0
 I wonder how hard it would be for a called upon privateer to become comfortable on said brands bike. If, say, David Trummer was still coming up on his own aboard a Tues, and Trek said, "Hey man, we have a hole to fill. Want a ride?", could he get comfortable enough on a Session to be competitive?
  • 2 3
 Good question - which is precisely why I'd love to see this.
  • 1 0
 Rider Replacements...seems like the most sense of anything, if an NHL team has too many injuries they bring up a guy or two from the minors. It's usually the ones who have the most promise of making the team in the near future. It give them a chance to prove themselves on the big stage. So why not? If they don't work out, they usually get traded or left in the minors....which opens the door on another topic...DH rider trade deadlines!
  • 1 0
 Re stopping to help people in races, why not do as in some motorsports: you stop to help, when you can you give your race number to an official / Marshall ( remember to get their name as well) at scene and then you continue on , having noted how long you’ve helped for, and complete the stage.
At the end of the stage you tell whoever’s in charge that you stopped to help, check with marshal xxx, and then they adjust your time accordingly.

Although unless your at a race running gps or some other form of tracking then it has been know for people to take the piss and try and get extra time back when say how long they were helping for.
  • 1 0
 ever seen the start of an american outdoor motocross race with 40 riders? first turn pile ups can be brutal and no one is stopping, even at an amateur level. you know what happens when people pull over to help out cars on the side of the highway and they dont know what theyre doing? they cause another accident. let the people that are there to deal with the crash, DEAL WITH THE CRASH.
  • 1 0
 Having not raced a mass start before, I think this just shows how bad they are for people within the race. Huge risk to have a serious crash, and no one truly able to stop and help. Timed racing is much easier to stop and help, knowing you have the opportunity to go redo a stage and also you aren’t at risk stopping to help a downed rider. Mass downhill start where it’s a stampede and you are just trying to not get bucked off yourself? Good luck.
  • 3 1
 Yeah it is so positive that the companies are suing each other and the consumer might miss out on bleed valves on rock shox forks. Oh so positive.
  • 1 0
 The idea of "replacement" riders is something to think about. Most of the factory teams also have regional teams to draw riders from if one of their main riders goes down. Especially if they know far enough ahead of time.
  • 1 0
 If you have seen the horrible coverage on Flosports, or NBC for the olympics, it is easy to understand why people are nervous about what is coming. I would love to see Red Bull just start their own race league
  • 4 0
 July was wonderful!
  • 7 6
 I bet half those people riding past Tracey Hannah would be queuing up for photos with her in the lift queue, respect to the guys who stopped.
  • 2 0
 Seems like the event officials should have marshals with flags, like motorsport racing
  • 2 2
 Let's not act like media, unchecked growth to the sport, money, and elitism haven't been encouraging bad riding etiquette for decades and then act shocked at how Tracy Hannah was treated.
  • 1 0
 Probably a long shot, but how cool would it be if Trek gave one of their open WC slots to Brandon Semenuk for Mont Sainte Anne?
  • 3 0
 Be horrible, BS is the best freeride guy of all time but he wouldn’t even qualify for a wc
  • 2 0
 Kinda get nervous stopping for a downed rider in the us, too much possible police questioning and litigation to deal with
  • 1 1
 Imagine watching Tracy crash and laying unconscious and jus blowing past her (or anyone else for that matter.) Unless there were course marshals and medical teams nearby someone should've checked on her.
  • 1 3
 One person who sees a fellow mountain biker laying unconscious on the ground and doesn't give a sh*t... should be banned from the MTB comunity for life
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