Sorry Mike, Can’t Agree with You on This One

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Someone sent me a link to an interview that Mike Creed did with Frankie Andreu and said that Mike was calling me out on bike handling. I sort of knew that Mike did a podcast thing, but had never heard it. I clicked on the link and was mildly depressed to see that the thing was nearly an hour long. I don’t have enough time to listen to Mike question Frankie about bike racing all morning. So, I turned the podcast on my phone and proceeded to make oatmeal, etc.

Luckily for me, about 14 minutes into the “show”, it comes up. I knew when it was going to happen exactly when the subject came up. It is here, the Frankie interview, at around 14:30.

The subject is about taking what another rider sees as unnecessary risks. Specifically, diving corners in a criterium. I’ve written a little about this before, but it seems like a good time to go over it again. Maybe using a couple specific cases.

During the Nature Valley Gran Prix, in the St. Paul criterium, a few years back, I had a few lap discussion with Mike Creed about what he saw as me taking unnecessary risks. He was pretty civil about the whole thing, except when he called me out when I did it. The problem was that he said something when I was coming around the outside of the field. Maybe he had seen me dive inside earlier in the race or something, but to yell at someone for going around the outside, I didn’t get.

So, the race was 100% sure going to be a field sprint, so I slowed down and talked to Mike about it for a while. He said something like I was too good of a rider to be doing stupid shit like that. I asked him what he thought was wrong with passing people on the outside. I explained that if I fell going wide through a corner, that no one would fall but me. He said it wasn’t “correct criterium racing”.

He then got into the diving corner deal. I do understand his thought process somewhat. On the podcast he repeated pretty much exactly what I told him. I told him that it wasn’t dangerous because I wasn’t going to fall. If it scared some people, that is part of the sport. I asked him if he had ever seen me fall on my own or knock someone down in a corner.

I explained to him the reason that I was diving corners and moving up continually. It was because the Bissell team was sitting at the front doing the standard riding slowly, on the inside of the course and chopping the whole field at every corner, from the second they said go. I told Mike if he wanted to make the race much safer he would go up to the front and yell at them for endangering every rider in the race for the hour and a half. He agreed with me, but said that it was a “tactic” that the “Pro” teams use now to control the race during criteriums in stage races. He acknowledged that it was super dangerous, but that is just how bike racing is. I explained to him that as long as the “Pro” teams use this bullshit tactic, that I’m going to be riding through the inside of the corners. When I’m on the inside of a corner, the only person that is control of my destiny is myself. And sorry, I really don’t trust that many guys nowadays in the bike handling skills. There were multiple crashes that day, tons of them.

I remember along time ago when Mike and Danny Pate were riding the Sunset Loop at Redlands. That circuit was about 6 miles, 3 up and 3 down on a super twisty technical descent through a neighborhood. Mike and Danny were super young and would scream down the descent, passing riders on the way, on the inside and outside. It is so strange, because when I saw this, I applauded the skills they were using and honing. I knew that both of them were in it for the long run and would be good riders.

Anyway, there are times to ride “unethically” and times to just stay in line. When the field or teams in the field are making the race unsafe, then I feel it is totally fair to ride whatever way to make myself the safest. Another example.

During Nature Valley Gran Prix once again, in the Minneapolis circuit race, it was raining crazy hard. United Healthcare/Healthnet, whatever, was riding at the front, for obvious cheater, cheater, pumpkin eater, Nathan O’Neill. All 8 of their team was riding at the front, braking down to about 15 mph in the corners, half the time falling, and then accelerating out of them. They announced on the line that they would call the race if the conditions got too bad. The conditions were bad very early, so I knew that the race was going to be shortened. I rode the inside of nearly every corner the whole 20 minutes. Guys were sliding out virtually every corner. I attacked when they rung the bell and won the race by 30 seconds. That was 30 seconds in one lap.

Anyway, I was sitting in dope control after the race at the YMCA and Nathan O’Neill comes in, way after the one hour limit, and is all pissed off he had to leave the hotel to pee into a cup. The team director at the time, Jeff Corbett, says something derogatory to me like, “Best race win of your career Tilford.” Nathan starts telling Jeff how dangerous it was and that you couldn’t even see the manhole covers. I was thinking, they are in the same place every lap, they aren’t moving around.

Then he turns to me and says something like I was scaring the shit out of him coming on his inside. I told him I was doing that for a couple reasons. One, he was riding orange Maxiis clinchers in the rain. That in itself would justify it. But, really, his rear wheel would slide 6 inches at least one corner every lap. Plus, I think at least 4 guys on his team, that were leading the race, fell in 20 minutes. They were riding scared, arms straight, braking in the wet corners, doing virtually everything wrong for riding safe in the rain. So, riding the inside line was the only way I was going to be assured to not fall. I rode one lap 30 seconds faster than their team, with Gord Fraser and Greg Henderson, both Healthnet, finishing 2nd and 3rd. I could have kept that speed pretty much the whole race.

He said something about respecting the leaders jersey, blah, blah, blah. I told him I had no intention of falling on the ground in a bike race because of some etiquette that he thought should exist. And that I wasn’t willing to put myself into an unsafe position because of this so called etiquette. According to Mike Creed, and probably Nathan O’Neill too, it probably sounded arrogant. But it wasn’t, it was just fact. I would use the word confident instead.

Sometimes riding through the inside is a easy way to move up 50 places coasting. As long as you don’t knock anyone down, touch anyone, then I don’t see the problem.

Bicycle racing is all about taking risks. To be successful at the sport, there are inherently a certain amount of risk always. Calculated risks are just that, calculated. And each and every individual is the one that makes these calculations. Risks for some are an after thought of others. Each rider possesses a different skill set. It is up to the individual rider to know when to use each skill he possesses. Sometimes the risks are acceptable by other riders, other times they aren’t.

There are abunch of different reasons to ride what some people consider unsafe. Mike says in his podcast that I was the worst at this. I think I am one of the best at this. I guess it’s just in the perspective and who it is unsafe for. I very much doubt that Mike would like to be in my body in icey, rutty cyclocross race. Clipping in at the start is huge risk, but we still do it.


Winning the Minneapolis Criterium in the rain.

61 thoughts on “Sorry Mike, Can’t Agree with You on This One

  1. JT

    I watched you ride/win that Mnpls NVGP crit in that torrential down pour we had that night. Hell, I think some of the manhole covers were being lifted up by the sheer volume/pressure of water that was coming down at the time. I’ve raced in the rain before, but I went away that night thoroughly impressed on how you attacked and able to kept it up that last lap in those conditions. wow…

  2. Jacob

    Steve, I have a question. I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying. (Maybe it would make more sense if I listened to the podcast but I’d rather just hear your take on it. ) At first you say that Creed criticized you for passing around the outside. Then, you say he talked to you in the St Paul race about diving into corners; you defended yourself by saying Bissell (like UHC) was endangering the race by riding up the inside. And then again in the Minneapolis race, you say you were passing the UHC riders on the inside, because it was safer.
    So, my question is, what is it that Creed is really bothered by? You passing around the outside, or you diving inside? If it’s outside, I don’t see the issue, because as you say, it’s hard to crash anybody but yourself out there. On the other hand, if he’s complaining about you diving inside (i.e., on a right-hand corner, moving up the field on the right, diving between the front of the field and the apex of the corner, which forces you to exit the turn later, which might pinch the guys to your left, that you went underneath, into the barriers), then isn’t that the same thing that you criticize UHC / Bissell for doing? I get that inside is safer than outside in the rain — i.e., if the UHC guy slides out, you want to be inside of him — but I don’t get how you coming on the inside is better than what they are doing already. And it seems totally different than what Creed is criticizing you for at the outset.

    I guess I just don’t understand the distinction, but I would like to. I race crits a lot and generally like to think of myself as a “safe” racer, but sometimes to me “safe” means controlling your own destiny but going faster than the guys around you into and out of a turn, so that you are in control of the line. It sounds like this is what you’re saying but I wonder if I am missing something.

    I’m a big fan of your writing and have tremendous respect for your abilities and experience. Thanks for your thoughts.

  3. TooCoolForSchool

    Wow, I listened to that for about 2 minutes and had to turn it off. Mike Creed sounds like a guy that has his head shoved way too far up his own ass. Sounds like a has been that never was.

  4. Dave Johnson

    I’ve been out of the cycling scene for a while, but I can’t imagine having this conversation back in the 80s. Diving into corners was how you moved up, especially in big fields. Sure seems like racing has changed a lot over the years, and not necessarily for the better.

  5. VCScribe

    “Nathan starts telling Jeff how dangerous it was and that you couldn’t even see the manhole covers. I was thinking, they are in the same place every lap, they aren’t moving around.”


  6. cybercyclecoach

    Steve. I assume the many crashes you saw that night were immediately to your left BECAUSE YOU CAUSED THEM BY DIVING INSIDE. Diving under a cornering rider in a crit is an amateur, lazy, stupid and dangerous tactic. If you don’t already know it (and I know that you do – but you choose to ignore it) shortcutting the corner results in safer riders braking to avoid you because you have chopped their front wheel. The group probably gave you the 30-sec because they were sick of you crashing everyone out with your chosen cornering move. BTW please don’t compare yourself to the young guns at Redlands – they were NOT diving under everyone at the crit but rather railing the downhills at the Sunset Loop – very different situation. Your warped perspective does nothing to justify “I am OK and screw the rest of you'” I suggest that you get off your high horse and accept the criticism from Mike and Frankie – if you do perhaps the pro riders will start to give you some respect (and allow you in with some space to corner properly in the front group)

  7. Wuzfastnowimnot

    30+ years of doing this bike race thing Steve and I TOTALLY agree with you. I cruise the inside corners myself. Always safer and I’ve never, ever caused an accident or crash. Bike handling is not taught anymore. In the olden days the “old guys” would TEACH us to ride safe and EXPECT it in a large group or race. One of my team mgr’s actually insisted that we be able to completely disrobe from full winter gear to only bibs while on the rollers and then get dressed again. THAT did wonders for my bike handling. Down tube shifters also made a difference. (and I am NOT wishing for them back!) Just making the point that we would often have our hands, GASP, off the bars in key moments so we could shift.

  8. TooCoolForSchool

    I don’t think you listened to that podcast. Frankie was telling Mike to just deal with it. You can’t control other riders in the field, and if you can’t deal with them coming under or over in a corner you shouldn’t be out there. If you don’t like it – block them back or STFU. If the rider in question is not touching anyone, deal with it, it’s going to happen. I suggest going back and listening to Frankie one more time.

  9. Ken

    Looking at Mike Creed’s results page on USA Cycling, he appears to be someone who only rarely contests for top placement in these races. Conversely, Steve’s results always seem to be very close to the top. Steve finished Top 15 in 8 of his last 10 listed races (during an injury-filled year); Mike finished Top 15 in 2 of his last ten, both 9th places. Mike may not like the way Steve rides, but one question for Mike is whether the approach he’s taking is working out for him, or if it’s sour grapes from a guy in the back of the pack…

  10. burnt

    Actually, I’m going to have to call Steve out on this one. The manhole covers were moving around that day 😉 . I don’t recall any getting blown off during the actual race but immediately post-race covers were getting blown off. I have pictures of water shooting up about six feet in the air and a manhole cover sitting on the asphalt near by. This manhole cover was at Nicollet and 10th only about 30 yards from the finish. There were several other geysers in downtown Minneapolis that evening. The downpour was crazy.

    I went away from that race with a greatly increased respect for Mr. Tilford. The bike handling skills and will to win he displayed were impressive. On the last lap he looked like he was riding on a dry road.

  11. Ken

    PS, further examination of results: Mike rarely places at all well in criteriums; better in road races and time trials…

  12. Okie 182

    I got this email from a friend a few minutes ago: “Back in the late 90’s, in Columbia, MO, he [Tilford] chopped me on the inside of a corner on the last lap and lost his front end and knocked me into a street sign. I still have the scars on my abdomen from that day.”

    I’m sure your fanbois will defend you.

  13. Okie 182

    Diving in was never a truly accepted tactic, especially in the 80s. Some riders were known for it, remember “The Mahaffey Zone”? Riders would say after a race “I’m freaking exhausted. I spent the whole race in the Mahaffey Zone.” meaning the guy was always near them, continually trying to stuff it up the inside. Other riders too, like Dave McCook when he was young. When those riders crashed, no one felt bad for them.

  14. Dennis C

    This is an unfair criticism of Mike Creed. I have listened to several of his podcasts and they are quite good. I suspect with more practice interviewing he will even get better. Perhaps, you are jealous of his cycling success ?

  15. Mark Kerlin

    I’m a cat 2 from the mid-Atlantic region. I’m a former bike messenger, and I’ve won a few alleycats and a number of criteriums. I’m a skilled bike handler. I’ve also had my share of injuries, and have a job and two kids to protect, so I understand being both very tolerant of risk and being very risk averse. What I have seen in criteriums is that some people have two characteristics that make them intolerable. 1) they are risk averse, 2) they are control freaks. When you get a risk averse control freak in a criterium, particularly if they are not a skilled and confident bike handler, then it is just a really hard place for them to exist, and they will tend to pick out the person they see riding the fastest, and call them out. Whether that person is doing something that is actually dangerous doesn’t usually have anything to do with it. It seems to me that that is what this situation boils down to. I do not know Mike Creed or his podcast, and I’ve never seen Steve ride, so I’m not commenting on this specific situation, but I would be far from surprised if that is what is going on here.

  16. Niki

    I believe that Frank told Mike to deal with it in the podcast too. I’ve seen Steve make an inside move at Rock Island Crit that blew me away. I never thought he would make it in the line he took but guess what? He didn’t take himself out or anyone else out and he jumped up like 10 spots. I was left to marvel at his bike handling. At the end of the day you can only control yourself and your bike.

  17. Koldos

    Couldn’t agree with you more on the old time bike handling lessons imparted on the young bucks by the “old guys”. I distinctly remember the panic that ran through me when one of the Vande Velde elders grabbed my bars with one hand whilst handling his own bike through a corner in the Sunday morning group ride in Glen Ellen IL. Lessons learned that served me well through the competitive years and never to be forgotten!

  18. Chris Newell

    Why do bike racers always want to leave out bike handling skills and race tactics? When did it become a bad thing to use skills, positioning, and risk vs. reward? There is a huge difference between a new racer losing a line and drifting wide or going down, and a Pro racing for money using skill to better their position. Could you imagine someone questioning Valentino Rossi or Ryan Villopoto for taking a risk in a corner, braking late, or “riding a wide bike” to their advantage? It sounds like you reacted the best way you knew how to race tactics being applied by other riders and teams. I would love to see where the “correct criterium racing” rules are written? And you make adjustments to suit the conditions and terrain with tires and setup that you have confidence in which is safer for everyone in the first place. If your advantage on the day had been a climb, or an attack into 10 seconds of headwind before a turnaround would that be “unethical”? There are plenty of other races for people to win when the conditions and tactics suit them. Its all about perspective and sometimes people forget that.

  19. TooCoolForSchool

    What success? He is another American that didn’t measure up across the pond. He sounds quite bitter about it too. I’m not a cyclist, and I have plenty of success to be proud of that doesn’t involve pedaling a bicycle.

  20. old and slow

    I don’t really have a dog in this fight. As a tall rider who started on a big long early 1970’s geometry bike I never really had access to the inside as described above and it was years before I could deal with an L-shaped crit course at all. It pretty much took a newer bike and having stage race prize money at stake to make that finally happen too.

    For a taller rider himself Steve doesn’t seem to have had these same issues?

    As mentioned above, back in the day the inside belonged to whoever could go in there and our pedals only hit asphalt about three degrees sooner than a modern bike does. You pretty much expected someone to dive the first diveable corner every time after a decent prime was announced.

    For what it’s worth this is not the first time that I’ve heard of this complaint about Steve from a halfway established pro rider 20 years his junior. Someone else with plenty of experience in big money circuit races even if his strong suits do lie elsewhere. Maybe it’s a generational thing? Maybe John Howard put up with stuff that Mike Creed doesn’t?

    And since we’re piling on today, for a while now I’ve been meaning to bring up a discussion that Steve and Jacque Boyer had at the one and only Tour of America about cornering in the wet? This with one party flat on his ass in the crosswalk as it was reported? “That’s why pros slow down so much for the corners in the wet, Steve.”

    Did you get a fair shake from Velo-News on that one?

    Did the guy who won Minneapolis know anything that the guy who (allegedly) slid out in DC didn’t? And how much as the modern equipment got to do with it? Half of that field didn’t even have hairnets, right?

    ( I just don’t push the envelope hard enough any more, especially in the wet, to have any idea myself these days?)

  21. Chackern

    I couldn’t agree with you more Dave. Back when I was 20 years old and racing, that was how it was done. Bike handing skills were extremely important in criteriums and circuit races. There was one time where I nearly won a race (7th) that the sprint started after a sharp left hand turn (this was the old Rose Bowl Road Race); before the turn there were about 25 guys in front of me, all leaving the inside lane open, I took the inside of that left hand turn and nearly won the race. I learned a good lesson that day that my mentor had been trying to teach.
    Keep it up Steve

  22. Ted Lewandowski

    Passing on the inside or the outside – you seem to contradict yourself in the same article – and who is Mike Creed anyway???

  23. Okie 182

    There is a difference between bike racing and Rollerball. There are a number of rules about forcing other riders to deviate from their lines and that is where the distinction lies. If you dive for the inside of a turn and your action forces other riders to move to accomodate you, then there is an issue. It doesn’t make you awesome and it doesn’t qualify you as a skilled rider. If you ride in a manner that people remember what you did in a less than positive light, there is a problem with the way you ride.

    And Rossi (and Stoner and Lorenzo and others) has been vocal about haphazard riding as well as apologizing for riding haphazardly. I’ll add quotes if necessary.

  24. Bill K

    Frankie Andreu…??

    What is he doing directing a team?
    I thought that people wanted to keep dopers away from the “new” kids……………(Yeah….right)

    This Podcast is funny. It sounds like some of the old Masters who i race against, who are afraid that they might break their hip……or a bunch of old ladies.

  25. Ted Lewandowski

    What does Andreu know about racing anyway – he famous for being famous like Bob Roll – both being nothing more than domestiques.

  26. Okie 182

    You’re right Ted. Because you’ve never heard of Creed, he must suck. And Frankie too. Let’s all bow down to the unparalleled talent of Constantin Neglescu .

    You should consider not being an angry, frustrated never-was.

  27. Jamie Smith

    You’re absolutely correct, Steve.

    Today’s kinder-gentler racer wouldn’t survive in the 1980s when elbows were thrown, holes were made, and brakes were jabbed.

    Don’t make me dumb down MY bike skills to fit YOUR racing style.

  28. Mike Rodose

    Waaaaaaaaaah. Somebody went to the inside and beat me.

    Waaaaaaaaah. Not fair. Waaaaaaah. Hold your line. Waaaaaaaaaah. I could have beaten everyone IF I took those risky lines. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.

  29. Mike Rodose

    Correct…Mike Creed has a relatively lame palmares.

    Remember he was on Lance’s “B” team. No A-team lunch bags and juice for Mike Creed. So…Mike could obviously be bitter. And accusatory. Wouldn’t blame him.

    But…Mike is convinced that others won because those irresponsible racers take crazy inside lines. Or crazy outside lines. Those crazy, winning lines!

    Oh Mike…relax. You are Fast and Very pro. But you’re no Tilford.

  30. Okie 182

    P.S. If you can’t/won’t adapt to other people’s racing style, people are going to use you like a $5 hooker.

  31. Fergie

    Steve, you had to know this was going set-off a gaggle of responses.
    …was that an “old school” tactic on your part? 🙂

  32. TooCoolForSchool

    Waaaaaaaaaah. Somebody went to the inside and beat me.

    Waaaaaaaaah. Not fair. Waaaaaaah. Hold your line. Waaaaaaaaaah. I could have beaten everyone IF I took those risky lines. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.

  33. TooCoolForSchool

    Waaaaaaaaaah. Somebody went to the inside and beat me.

    Waaaaaaaaah. Not fair. Waaaaaaah. Hold your line. Waaaaaaaaaah. I could have beaten everyone IF I took those risky lines. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.

  34. TooCoolForSchool

    Waaaaaaaaaah. Somebody went to the inside and beat me.

    Waaaaaaaaah. Not fair. Waaaaaaah. Hold your line. Waaaaaaaaaah. I could have beaten everyone IF I took those risky lines. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah.

  35. Jim D.

    W0w. Great subject matter Steve. The bottom line, there are people that can ride a bike well. There are people that don’t. It’s like skiing some people can ski a line [in a course or not] and some will never get it, close doesn’t count. the difference time or beauty. A bike race is different. You cannot see your line traveled through a corner, only feel it. It seems like there are a awful lot of bike racers that don’t know shit about carving a turn in a crit or otherwise. So when the quacking starts about how someone takes a corner watch them, is it smooth or inconsistent. then speak your mind. I will never forget watching Kent Bostick lap the field in a race in Gunnison, Co because he figured out that he could pedal thru every corner because the streets were just wide enough to do it. No diving required. Win Race. Jim

  36. Gummee!

    I’m with Okie 182: unless you’re forcing someone to react to your choice of lines, its fair.

    When you affect someone else’s line by chopping their front wheel, causing panic braking, etc. THEN it isn’t fair tactics and you should be criticized.

    Going wide around the corner? Your neck. That’s where the bad bike handlers end up: either on their rears or just running wide.

  37. Jerry


    Gotta agree with you. While I have not raced seriously in 20 years, I was once a cat 1 and di time in Europe. We now have a cycling culture where new guys will not listen to old experienced riders. They have “coaches” that teach them how to get very fit, but not how to race or handle a bike.

    Another point, screw that “respect the leaders jersey” Your job is to attack the leader and take that jersey for yourself. If the leaders team does not understand that, they don’t deserve the jersey. There are better ways to protect that jersey than bullshit dangerous riding.

  38. Clark S.

    Ted & TooCoolForSchool,

    Seriously fucking do your research. Creed has won 23 National Championships, 6 world team selections.
    Won Cascade stage race, won stages in Europe for the U23 team. I’ve raced on the same team Pro Team with Creed and he is one of the best bike handlers in the peloton. He is not the first one that has voiced issues with Tillford.

  39. Wuzfastnowimnot

    DUDE!!! RIght on! So many (not all!) of the “coaches” are failed Tri-Fagaletes who have NEVER EVER learned to handle their bikes at all! I chose to stop doing big group rides that included Tri-fags cuz it seemed like at some point during every one of these rides some one caused a crash and the culprit was one of “them”!

    Throw a double pace line at these folks and they just about have a conniption fit.

    Oh! and I could give a RATS ASS about being politically correct. So flame away if you like. I just won’t care

  40. Steve Tilford Post author

    Guys-This isn’t about whether Mike Creed is a good cyclist. Obviously he is. It was about a difference of thinking about something that goes on in bike races. Every single guy out there has done this. At least if they are to a certain level. But, there are times that it is acceptable and times it isn’t it seems. Each person has their own thought on when those times are.

    But, I’m telling you, Pro guys will come up to me at the finish of the race and say that I dove them through the inside on the final corner of the race in the sprint. And they are complaining about it. No one was touched. No one fell. No one would even have to brake and they would still complain. It is so weird. What do they think we are doing out there. I’m pretty sure it is to cross the line in the best position as possible.

    Brad Huff is an excellent bike handler. He dives corners from when he clips in to the finish of the race. And no one says a word. Which they shouldn’t. The United Healthcare whole team was doing it into the final corner on the Sunday circuit in Tulsa this year. Lap after lap, diving the inside of an off-camber, super slick corner at speed. No one says a word. As it should be.

    If Mike wants to call me out for being confident in my bike handling experience, calling it arrogant, that is one thing. But let’s not start something about whether he is a good bike racer. It doesn’t have much to do with the topic and it is wrong, because he is a good.

  41. Rich

    At Superweek last year, the match sprint silver medalist at Worlds was there. He was South African I believe, forget his name. Anyways. the guy rode like a lunatic, was very edgy, you never knew when he was going to switch lanes and launch a huge sprint up the side. At first he scared the crap out of me but after a while I realized hey, they guy hasn’t caused a single crash that I’ve seen (I could be wrong, he might have crashed at some point since I was only there for 4 days.)

    In motorcycle racing (I know I know they wear body armor) aggression like this is just like grabbing a 3rd cup of coffee. Also consider that moto GP also has a very high fatality rate, especially amongst lower AMA classes in the US. If your going to race you have to take some risks, and I think anyways your 10 times safer in a fast criterium than out on the highway exposed to drunk drivers, commuters, psychopaths behind the wheel of 3,500+ pound vehicles….

  42. Wuzfastnowimnot

    Moto GP deaths since 1993 to present = 3. (that’s just the Grand Prix events not the 250’s or 125’s) The last death at the Ilse of Mann TT’s was in the late 70’s I believe.

    Deaths in Bicycle races UCI 1.2 or higher event in the same time period = 16.

    This is in NO WAY intended to be a direct statistical comparison due to total number of participants, other events types etc nor a defense that motorbike racing is somehow safe. Its not. However, there are really too many variables to disseminate to make any valid statistical comparison between death rates in Moto racing and those in bicycle racing. My point being, Rich has made a generalization that just isn’t accurate.

    I’ve crashed in both Moto events on tracks ( not MX) as well as on public roads and in bicycle races. Race track design has become VERY VERY safe in the last 25-30 years. As has equipment. Every time Im on my moto’s Im in FULL gear. I’ve suffered more road rash and more broken bones in bicycle crashes than I have on the moto. Even at 90+ mph you mostly slide. (on a track) Good gear prevents many injuries.

    Both sports are VERY dangerous but I will say that I feel WAY more vulnerable on the bicycle than on the moto. Speed differential with other vehicles and clothing are reasons.

    Regarding moto racing, you are not even allowed to race moto’s on ANY track in the country without going through race training. They (SHOCKER) teach you how to handle the motorbike properly and teach you the race etiquette. Granted, not all participants follow the rules completely, but WAY more do in moto racing than in bike racing. On the moto tracks, if you don’t handle your moto properly you lose your track privileges quickly. In bicycle racing you pay $70 to what amounts to a mafia like organization based in CO and you can go race your bike. No one EVER asks about your previous experience to say nothing of actually teaching you something.

  43. Rich

    Was fast, your very wrong about motorcycle racing. The Isle of the Man TT has fatalities nearly every edition. Nearly every year in some form of moto GP (not necessarily the highest level but other championships) there is a fatality. I can start naming names and years if you want.

    That said I’m not “for” dangerous racing or anything like that.

    But consider:

    John Goodall (2008 Manx)
    John Crellin (2009, Senior TT)
    Paul Dobbs (2010, SuperSport TT)
    Jamie Adam (2010, Junior race Isle of Man)
    Chris Bradshaw (2010 Manx TT same race as Goodall)

    Bill Currie (2011, sidecar TT)
    Kevin Morgan (same race*)
    erek Brien *
    Neil Kent *
    Wayne Hamilton *
    Adam Easton *
    Steve Osborne (2012 TT)
    Tevor Ferguson (2012 TT)
    Yoshinari Matsushita (2013 TT)

    Now “Was Fast” I dont know if you thought I wouldn’t reply or what! Good grief, I could name a lot more but I dont have the time to sit and look up all the fatalities which probably number in the hundred over just the last 10 years of major motorcycle racing.

    Now in fairness to the Isle of the Man race, 2013 only saw the 1 death from the Japanese rider who lacked experience on the circuit. Not that I personally would support deadly racing, I think its nasty stuff.

  44. Rich

    I also dont want to sound like I hater of motorcycle racing, I most certainly am not a hater. I cringe when I watch Isle of Man, but I accept that those men (and woman) know the risks.

    I also think Moto GP riders are great athletes, and I do not oppose them racing. I dont want it to sound like I’m attacking that sport because I most certainly dont want to. I was just pointing out that cyclists I think maybe get a little bit carried away with in race politics and use “dangerous riding” as an excuse to attack others their not fond of. Like a doper who’s angry that a non doper represents what he couldn’t be morally and so uses riding style to condescend the other.

  45. Chad Hartley

    As a guy who makes his living off of crit racing, I think I have a place to offer my two cents. First, lets be honest. For every example of exemplary bike handling skills you also have a example of it not quite working out. The first that comes to mind is you diving the final turn in grafton and taking out frank pipp among others (I was the benificiary that day, as you cleared my rear wheel). And second, as long as I’ve raced with you I can’t recall a time you or your team had ever lined up on the front. Which is only to say you are generally always an opertunistic sprinter, surfing off others, And alway coming from behind. (Nothing wrong with that btw). Also I will say on the final lap/laps anything goes, etiquette goes out the window.
    But it’s durning the race that I believe mike and maybe others have more of a problem with. And as I see it, when moving up, there’s always that spot where you can either slot in or get past one more guy. The moment is usually just as the bunch is setting up for the turn. if you slot in before the bikes start to turn there is ample time to adjust, if you pick off one more (room or not) it generally startles the shit out of the guy. That’s when they get pissed. There is not rule against this, but again it’s an etiquette thing, manors. I try to be very conscience of it, avoid it whenever possible, but if I do I almost always say something and its mostly an apology as I’m doing it. I find if I call out the riders name it always goes over better. It just being polite. I would say you dive a bit more than average, but nothing like Hilton Clark. He pisses off his own teammates, and your right, no one says anything.
    Again there is not rule against these actions, and frankly everyone has the ability to do it. But I learned a long time ago, if someone is pissed at you they will work really hard to insure you don’t win. And since we will all see each other again next weekend, it’s just good business to not make enemies.
    I myself have cursed you several times, mostly in years long past. Mainly for chopping in and “getting in the way” as I saw it. I have since learned that the set up is actually THE RACE, and the final is just putting your cards down. I don’t have a problem with how you race, or anyone for that matter. You have a style, and if I count on you being anything but who you are, I’m just be naive. It’s a know quantity is all. I hope that makes sense

  46. Larry T.

    Same old s__t. Some things never change. Guys like Andy Schleck want technical descents taken out of stage races too. Others whine when riding SKILL beats their superior fitness, equipment, team, etc. The answer is always the same – shut up and race or go back home!

  47. Steve Tilford Post author

    Chad-Thanks for the input. I don’t really disagree with anything you wrote here. Obviously you are a student of bike racing and understand the sport better than nearly everyone you race against.

    But, I can’t really sign off on the Frank Pipp Dairyland deal. I’m sure you have some other examples that would apply, but that was a bad choice. For one, you were ahead of the move, so you’re just repeating what you heard from Frank, which was utter bullshit. You can go back to here and reread what I wrote right after that specific race. ( ) I think you would have a hard time coming up with an explanation why we were all the way across the road if I was “hooking” Frank from in front. Frank Pipp doesn’t impress me much as a bicycle racer, for a myriad of reasons that he already knows. So, enough of that.

    I do like hearing your read on the subject though. And I completely respect it. And good job winning the last day in St. Louis. That course is hard. It is a hard guys race. Best day to win for sure.


  48. Herb C.

    Hello Steve and others,

    We used to call riding up on the inside of corners, “charging the corners”, and considered it bad form. The rider charging the corner is hoping that the rider to their outside “gives” (backs off, swerves, or God forbid, crashes) and allows him/her through. Not cool!

    As to teams blocking at the front of crits etc, I propose a return to the old chase rule!!! The rule was simple: if you are on the front you MUST take up the chase!!! It was used extensively in the 50s and 60s to allow the sprinters to win and keep those pesky rouleurs in their place…..Fun stuff….

    Herb C.

  49. Chris Newell

    I think Steve’s skills and results speak for themselves, as do Rossi’s, Lorenzo’s; and don’t forget Villopoto? Haphazard doesn’t finish first. If you don’t think going 35 mph 3″ behind and in front of others on a 23c contact patch wearing clothes thinner than paper with a 300 gram helmet on a 15 pound bike with your heart pounding in oxygen debt in the rain isn’t Rollerball maybe we are talking about different sports? Steve left with the check and that is as professional as it gets.


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