With the move to shorter more intense XCO courses the ability to pass and to be passed at speed while racing is an important skill that can affect not only your race but other racers as well.
While this could work for any passing oppourtunity I am mostly speaking about lapping and folks that aren't neccesarrily in your category/age bracket.
If we had the numbers in XCO that we had years ago it would be pure chaos out there but thankfully the numbers have dwindled? Or maybe thats why they have dwindled?...... another blog post maybe.
We'll start with the passing rule from the UCI.
4.1.034 A rider must act in a sporting manner at all times and must permit any faster rider to overtake without obstructing.
So if your at a race governed by a PSO or NSO there you have it, if a faster rider wants by you must let them by. (please don't get angry yet) It doesn't say anything about you must stop immediatly or launch yourself off a trail. And in cases of racing in your own category its kinda a BS rule as positioning is a part of racing. If rider A beats rider B into the singletrack and rides it slow well thats the way the cookie crumbles. If this rule was enforced at world cups 98% of the field would be DQ'd for obstructing the trail. No names #cougheuroscough
But I digress back to our world of provincial and national level XCO racing with multiple categories on the course at the same time. So we've agreed to being good sports and letting folks past and passing with respect when an oppoutunity presents itself. Step 1 done. Now the execution of said pass. There are not hard and fast rules here, but what I like to do is call out to the rider with as much notice as possible. “rider up” or “2 elite* riders up” giving them a heads up that we are not in the same category as them and allowing them to start thinking about the pass. We'll call that the approach.
For the passe, KEEP MOVING if there is nowhere safe or appropriate to let the passer by, keep pedaling and riding as fast as you can. Some people start to panic and hit their brakes slowing down the whole train. Can't tell you how many people I've hit from behind cause they grab two fistfulls of brake on a fast section. #sorry:) For the passer be patient/calm and offer suggestions for spots as you see them. Even encouraging them to keep moving if they seem to be slowing down. Leave a slight gap.
The pass, the goal for both parties is to make the pass as quick as possible and lose as little time as possible. For this I recommend the passe to take the slow line, b line, outside line etc.(hear me out) If you the Passe takes the A line and calls to the passer to take the B line, it will slow you both down. Think of a track pursuit squad, the group doesn't pass the rider coming off the front, the rider pulls off high(maintaining their speed/momentum) then swings down and reattaches to the back of the train.
Every corner/line setup is a little different, but trust me if the passe offers up the fast line to the faster rider you BOTH will go faster with the least amount of energy. WIN WIN.
Alright thats it from the cheap seats, please as always I welcome any angry feedback just send it to my agent. Until then “take care of yourselves and each other” fav Jerry Springer quote.