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Everest Challenge — Race Notes 2011 — Rules Violations
I was disappointed to see cheating in flagrant violation of the written updates, which were sent to all racers numerous times, and repeated at the pre-race meeting, namely stop signs and private handoffs, but also drafting other categories, a violation of USAC rules as I understand them.
Enforcement could be problematic, but the fact is that finishing times are often only minutes apart, and small things add up.
Most racers ignored stop signs, including at the very start completely ignoring the stop sign from Ed Powers as the race began. This was unfair to those not at the front of the pack; I had expected a full stop (as instructed by race personnel), and this meant an immediate 20 second handicap. Here, the race organizers should have had an official that made everyone stop.
I observed racers roll through the signs descending from South Lake as well.
At the US 395 stop sign, I told one rider that stopping was required, and he responded with something akin to “I just need to get some time on my competitors”. In short, to cheat.
In my view, anyone rolling through a stop sign should incur a 2-minute penalty for each such action, even if an entire pack does it. How to enforce this is another matter.
Drafting other categories
I saw drafting of other categories (e.g. racers in 7xx drafting 3xx or 5xx riders). Since energy expenditure drops by 1/3 or more with a good draft, this can mean many minutes as well as more rest across the flat areas, and downhill too. In my view, this is flagrant cheating, and should be punished by a 5-minute penalty. I am not talking about incidental approach-and-pass-no-choice-single-file stuff, but about sustained real drafting.
Even after I told one of my 7xx competitors that drafting other categories was a rules violation, he persisted. How does once compete fairly with such riders? I beat him anyway, but it cost me a lot of effort to solo across the flat areas of Stage 1.
I observed one of my competitors doing a private handoff numerous times, something which was prohibited in writing in the updates, and emphasized at the pre-face meeting. A private handoff can save minutes, since if one doesn’t have to carry 1-2 pounds of fluid, ascent times on long climbs show minutes faster— power to weight over 2+ hours adds up.
For Stage 2, the race official muddied the waters by telling the offender that it was OK at pullouts, which directly contradicted the written rules. This is absolutely NUTS to change the rules verbally that way, sowing confusion. Race officials need to get their act together on this. And they really should pull any racer that violates this rule, as it involves safety also. Or they should eliminate the restriction. Period.
I found the handoffs very annoying personally, since the rider doing this was just ahead of me for some hours on both Stage 1 and Stage 2 (but I beat him anyway). I had this pickup truck zipping past me over and over, at times leaving exhaust and dust for me to “enjoy”. I also felt that it was a serious safety hazard on Glacier Lodge, with racers coming down at 50+ mph.