Cyclocross Pit Fight!

Things get a little out of hand at the bike wash during US Cyclocross Nationals 2013.

Things got a little heated in the pit during the Junior Men’s 17-18 race at Cyclocross Nationals 2013. The issue at hand was that the pit crews for riders in the top ten were cutting the bike wash line. After the cameras were turned off mud was literally thrown at the line-cutters and fingers were prodded into their chests. There’s cutting a line, and then there’s crossing a line. Let us know what you think…

  • ColinReuter

    It’s tough to know where to draw the line on this kind of thing. It seems “obvious” that when 2 kids are racing for 2nd place in their National Champs, they should be able to get clean bikes expedited. But at what cost? If my rider is in 4th, I’m not letting 3rd place cut me in line. If my rider is in 10th, then I would. And if my rider’s in 30th, I *definitely* would. At a certain point you have to recognize that while we all have a “right” to participate, the race is bigger than you. (see also: lapped riders in women’s nationals)

    I’d have to know the exact time gaps between riders, and the position of the mud-slinging pit crew’s rider, to decide who is in the right or wrong here. The only thing I know for sure is that this isn’t black and white at all.

    • Dave Chiu

      Your rider just came through the pits, you have a few minutes before they come through again; is it out of the question to ask your way to the front of the line? Maybe just shout and see if anyone objects first? Everyone might be as rational as you are and be okay with it, but you have to ask first. I’d totally let someone cut if they asked first; if they just take it, no way.

      • ColinReuter

        Good point.

  • Zen Cycle

    I worked the pit at gloucester#2 this year for Nicolas Bazin and Flavien Dassonville (the two BigMat pros, with their mechanic). That was as messy as it gets. There was a do it yourself wash, and we all waited our turns. A few teams had their own wash stations. Even still, with Bazin never more than a couple minutes behind the leaders, we had plenty of time to get his bike washed and set back up for him and flavien to pit. That said, It was wrong to cut in line without asking – like Dave Chiu suggested. Just because your rider is in second should _not_ afford any special privilege to getting your bike washed. I completely agree with Dave’s take on it.

  • Christopher Kreidl

    I was working this race for a junior that ultimately finished well inside the top 10 despite being 30th off the pavement after being held up by the crash at the start. There was no announcement made prior to the start that top 10s would get priority in the wash wash, so when I started calling out people that were cutting the line there was plenty of confusion and I had no intention of just taking some chucklehead’s word for it as he walked past me.

    While I didn’t throw mud at anyone, I did wind up grabbing someone’s jacket and pulling them away from their assumed position at the head of the line. As far as I was concerned there was no special treatment for the top 10 as the officials had never said anything to that effect, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to just let someone walk ahead of me after I waited in line like everyone else.

    The same guy I got into it with cut to the front every single time he had to wash. By the end of the race parts of me wanted to start slashing tires. Thankfully I’m better than that and I’m OK with just grabbing him and pulling him away from the washer while my other mechanic stays in line with my rider’s bike.

    I checked with an official after the race that didn’t help clarify anything:

    Me: “Was there supposed to be a separate line for the top 10?”
    Official: “Yes”
    Me: “When was that announced?”
    Official: “It wasn’t”

  • bikeguy0

    Dude really? Of course if your rider is in the top 10 you should get priority, especially in a national championship race. Anyone else find it interesting that this clip is from parents working the pits as opposed to mechanics of friends who are also racers? I didn’t see any issues like this in the Elite pits.