I wanted to touch on the proper way to pass during a mountain bike race. Our league is growing every year with more students on the race course each season. With more students racing it makes it harder to pass safely. I wanted to help give some pointers to help everyone learn when is the best and safest time to pass a fellow racer.
The faster rider does have the right of way to pass. But that is only when it is safe for both riders to do so. It is the responsibility of the faster rider to pass only when there is adequate room to pass safely. The faster rider must communicate with the rider he/she is wishing to over take and get a verbal approval from that rider before they attempt to pass. The slower rider must feel it is a safe place for them based on their riding ability.
The faster rider must also look for a safe place to pass. It is not ideal to attempt to pass on a single track trail. It is ideal to wait until you reach a wider section of trail where there is enough room. The rider who is being over taken should attempt to move over when there is plenty of space. EXAMPLE; You are riding a single track trail and a faster rider approaches, they communicate with you that they would like to pass. You should let them know that you don’t feel safe at this point because there is not enough room and that you will pull over as soon as you find a place that is safe to do so. Try to find the safest place as soon as possible. Then slow down and move over to let the rider pass.
The rider being over taken is not expected to move over in an area that is not safe. That rider could loose control of their bicycle and cause them to crash and get hurt which could ruin their race experience. Every racer deserves to have a good race experience no matter what their placing or speed is.
Coaches and parents please take some time to explain this to your racers to help make passing a good experience for all racers and help keep the racing safe and fun.
Please refer to Rule 6.10.7. Passing Slower Riders and Rule 6.10.8. Yielding to Other Riders in the 2018 League Rules and Regulations Handbook.
Coach Kristi Berg has been racing bicycles in various disciplines since 1994: Road (Cat 2), Cyclocross (Elite), BMX (expert in 20″) and MTB (professional downhill, crosscountry, and dual slalom). She enjoys coaching and sharing all she has learned through riding and racing, and is committed to giving back to her cycling community. Kristi is a Level 2 USAC Cycling Coach and owner of Berg’s Coaching Services. Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.