This is no more important than on race day with fellow riders. It is equally important with your teammates throughout the year. Nobody should know all of the intricacies or subtleties of race tactics in the lower cats and if they do they are sandbagging. The reason I bring this up is while in the Chicago Crit I was in the middle of two in my opinion questionable moves. Seeing as how I have a penchant for going down I was happy to keep the rubber side down during the harrier of the two.
During the cat4 race before turn 3 a rider shot between me and another rider. This led him to bump into me and ricochet and hit the rider on the outside whereby the outside rider went down. Unfortunately this sent me into a tirade for lack of a better word. I did not see what transpired before this guy squeezed into the middle, but this is where communication if not common sense should take place. If there is no space don't try to make any and if you being in the middle are getting pinched off or the guys on the outside are getting tight, say something before you throw the elbows. Needless to say I liked the dynamic of the race pace with the pack flipping from the back to the front. I had a good sprint at the end but got pinched by the guardrail jutting out on the east side of the course behind a slower sprinter and came in 14th.
The masters race was tamer than the 4's. In the middle of the race I thought I was competing for a wheel and had it when all of a sudden I get elbowed. To my knowledge there was no warning before the elbow and I really did not see the guy on my side. This concerned me. Is an elbow on the wide open front stretch an appropriate warning? I really have never experienced this before. I think the appropriate response is talking and if not a hand. This keeps the rider a safer distance away and lets your elbow bend to absorb him coming closer. Unfortunately on the last lap I was out front. I kept the pace slow so as not to burn myself out. Around turn 3 and at the to of the hill I sensed a guy coming to my outside. I stood up and saw Elvis coming around me before turn 4. I didn't have the momentum going around it. Elvis ended up 7th and I came in 16th.
If ever there is any questionable tactics going on or just something you don't understand they should be discussed in a constructive manner. Something I am guilty of not doing at times. This will only better our understanding of this great sport and make it safer for everyone involved. I learned some valuable lessons in these races and am not above criticism either. Unfortunately I have also made some questionable moves but as long as we learn from our mistakes they will not be made in vain. Tony