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2008-06-01 4:49 PM

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Denver, CO
Subject: Elephant Rock
Being new to CO, I must say that I am impressed with the strength of so many cyclists here, but I was shocked to see what poor pack riders most of the people at today's Elephant Rock century were.

Some of the things I saw:

1) 20%-25% of the riders were wearing ipods, which the ride specifically prohibits. I can't count how many people I passed saying "on your left" that were oblivious to the fact that I was there until I passed them. Additionally, about 1/4 mile into the ride, a girl in front of us hits the breaks, skids to a stop, and annnounces "Oh , I forgot my ipod", and turned around, riding back through the crowd.

2) Speaking of saying "on your left", I got passed a lot, and maybe heard 10 people announce their intentions. Nobody seemed to warn about cars up or back, slowing, or stopping either. Is that something that is only done in Texas?

3) People were riding 3 and 4 abreast, not allowing cars or other cyclists to pass.

4) I saw several people on cell phones while riding.

There did not seem to be any Ride Marshalls or anyone else to enforce the rules the ride organizers put into place.

Other complaints:

1) Lack of support. I saw a guy go down, who scraped up his leg pretty bad, and bent his derailleur hanger. After the medic andaged him up, I heard him ask "Do you have a cell phone to call someone to pick you up?" WTF!?!? For what we paid to ride, there should have been SAG wagons all over the course.

2) The sports drink sucked. It was some wattered down off brand. Again, for all of the money we spent, they should have at least used Gatorade.

3) There was a stretch of road (somewhere between 1/4 and 1/2 mile that was under construction and all gravel. At least one person went down, and an ambulance was there when I arrived. The ride organizers should have rerouted, or required everyone to dismount and walk through the gravel.

Are all rides here like this? It was a beautiful challenging ride, but I don't feel I got my money's worth. I guess I will continue to ride solo.

Thanks for letting me rant. I look forward to comments.

Adam


2008-06-01 5:08 PM
in reply to: #1436692

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Elite
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Evergreen, CO
Subject: RE: Elephant Rock

The people I've ridden w/ in CO usually say "on your left" or "car back" etc.  I've never done Elephant Rock, but know some people that did it this year (but not the century) and they aren't very experienced w/ group riding, so it may just be ignorance.  Can't believe the ipod thing -- I hate it when people use them on runs because you can't chat with them, but on a bike it's really stupid!  And if they've been on a bike enough to be able to ride a century they should really know better.  Sorry to hear it wasn't a better experience for you.


2008-06-01 7:54 PM
in reply to: #1436692

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Master
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Breckenridge, CO
Subject: RE: Elephant Rock
There's 7,000+ people riding. Good riders were mixed in with the masses. The shorter routes also rejoined the century so inexperienced riders were mixed back in (which I enjoyed). I didn't announce much because I would have been saying, "on-your-left" continuously for 5 hours.

As far as the tiny stretch of gravel, this ain't Texas. We don't have roads available to easily re-route. If they could have, I'm sure they would have.

I thought the ride was fantastic, far better than anything in Texas and I've done HTH many, many times. If you want to see a higher percentage of good riders, give the Triple Bypass a go.

Edited by breckview 2008-06-01 7:58 PM
2008-06-01 9:17 PM
in reply to: #1436692

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Expert
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Colorado Springs, Colorado
Subject: RE: Elephant Rock

I have done E-rock several times, but not this year. Sorry to hear your experience wasn't good. My lable for Ipod wearers is "non-readers", as these people apparently never bother to read the rules pertaining to the event. Either that or they are purposely inconsiderate of others - which tends to be a more common characteristic than it should be. As someone else mentioned, there are 7000 riders out there. Many of those people are just about clueless when it comes to riding around other people. Very likely many of them never ride in groups and thus have no concept of giving verbal and/or hand signals to people around them.

My own experiences at this event have been different. I have no idea what time you started, but I've always started very near to the earliest time allowed and have likely avoided much of what you experienced. Perhaps if you started at the FOP you wouldn't have experienced what goes on at the BOP.

2008-06-02 9:17 AM
in reply to: #1436692

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Pro
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Parker, CO
Subject: RE: Elephant Rock

Sorry that you had such a bad experience at ER.  My first ER ride was I think back in 1989 or 1990...my last was 2004.  I don't know that I will be doing ER again anytime soon.  I love the course but this ride has just become too large anymore and it seems to me that even some more experienced riders do some pretty stupid things when riding organized events. 

There are other cycling centuries that don't have the high number of riders that you might enjoy more.  I would highly recommend Buena Vista Century...which was last month but you might put it on your calendar for next year.  Or check out heartcycle and teamevergreen for some organized group rides.  You might find those more enjoyable.

And in my opinion, I think most cyclist in Colorado are pretty aware and want to be safe.  Unfortunately, when you have over 5,000 of them out on one day a handfull can really give cyclists a bad name.

2008-06-02 12:04 PM
in reply to: #1436692

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Veteran
183
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Colorado Springs
Subject: RE: Elephant Rock
I rode the 65-mile course yesterday, and besides not liking the construction zone- Thanks Palmer Lake- but which was posted on the homepage of the ride, I had a good experience. I did see people wearing Ipods and with 7,000 riders there was a steady stream of bikes so there had to be more "go-with-the-flow" as far as passing. But I heard Car back, & on your left, and saw hand-signals, all day, and had a good time riding easy with a cousin. I never tried the sports drink, or the bars, but I enjoyed those peanut butter crackers, and that long downhill and wind-at-our-backs to finish up, fo' sho'!


2008-06-02 12:48 PM
in reply to: #1436692

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Regular
69
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Lafayette, CO
Subject: RE: Elephant Rock
Yesterday was my first shot at ER, and I was equally as disappointed with the lack of etiquette. I saw a guy come about 3 inches from getting killed when he couldn't hear 28 of us yelling 'car back!' as he was passing, thanks to his iPod. I almost got in a wreck when a very good rider passed me without announcing himself. I'm sure he was tired of saying 'on your left', but that doesn't matter to me. If you're going to ride fast, then fine, but don't put other people at risk because you don't feel like letting them know you are there. Another jerk, with an iPod, passed me on the right, while yelling at me that can't get through. Um, okay. Go around on my left like everyone else. I was also shocked to see how little the riders respected the road. At multiple aid stations, I saw cyclists just carrying on conversations in the middle of the road, as cars were trying to get through. They just stood there and continued chatting. If we want respect from drivers, we have to give a little too. Again, gorgeous ride, but I won't be doing it again. There was too little etiquette shown for me to go back out there. The whole ride ended up being more about being defensive than having fun. I'm glad to see I wasn't the only one that was less than impressed by the lack of common courtesy. I thought the organizers did a pretty good job considering the magnitude of the race, I'm really disappointed with the cyclists - but you're right, it's easy for a handful to give everyone else a bad name...

E

Edited by emartin10 2008-06-02 12:51 PM
2008-06-02 2:12 PM
in reply to: #1438739

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Master
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Breckenridge, CO
Subject: RE: Elephant Rock
emartin10 - 2008-06-02 11:48 AM

I almost got in a wreck when a very good rider passed me without announcing himself. I'm sure he was tired of saying 'on your left', but that doesn't matter to me. If you're going to ride fast, then fine, but don't put other people at risk because you don't feel like letting them know you are there.


IMO,

In a group, a good rider rides in a straight line. If they are going to move left to pass, they should look left first. If they move left into a passing rider who is riding a line, they are at fault. You cannot expect a fast rider who is passing hundreds of people continuously to announce they are passing.

On a regular ride out in the world, announcing a pass usually makes sense because the rider being passed wouldn't reasonably expect to be passed at every given moment and the passing rider shouldn't expect every rider to ride in a line all the time.
2008-06-02 2:35 PM
in reply to: #1436692

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Extreme Veteran
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Denver, CO
Subject: RE: Elephant Rock
I did the 32 mile ride yesterday. It was such a beautiful ride and I will definately do it again next year. That being said, I agree with the whole IPod thing. I thought that was ridiculous that people were wearing them..especially since we were sharing the rode with the traffic!! Also, I thought they should have had more aid stations and support people out on the course. They had one at 8miles and at 26miles....what about one in the middle??? I personally didn't stop at the aid stations, but I know there were tons of people that did and I think they got overwhelmed.

Oh...and the BBQ and expo...what a disapointment! The expo was lame and after riding 32 miles I was pretty hungry and that BBQ food just didn't cut it. Not to mention I paid $10 for my husband to eat it too...totally not worth it. Next year we'll pack a picnic lunch and find a nice grassy area to eat. Or support one of the local restaurants instead.

But...it was beautiful weather and I did it with my good friend and we did better than we thought we would..so all in all, it was a good ride!
2008-06-02 2:45 PM
in reply to: #1439131

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Regular
69
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Lafayette, CO
Subject: RE: Elephant Rock
That's fair enough. I should have explained the situation a little bit better. I was holding about 13.5 mph on a decent climb, and did look, the guy had sucked onto my wheel. I looked, and made my move. I wasn't swerving, I was following all the proper etiquette. The guy jumps out of the saddle right behind me and goes. While I'm passing. Without letting me know.That's just rude. I'm not claiming to be a great cyclist, I averaged about 18 mph for the ride - so I know I'm not on the level of a lot of the guys that were out there, but I have been riding long enough to understand what I should and shouldn't be doing. Now I probably could have looked again, sure, but the guy picked an awful time to pass me. He could have stayed on my wheel until I finished the pass and then let me know he was going. Would have taken him an extra 12 seconds. I can understand the frustration that some of the really great riders must have been feeling yesterday - there were a lot of folks out there that we just not with it, but it just bothered me that there were so many people out there that were just oblivious to their surroundings.

E

Edited by emartin10 2008-06-02 2:55 PM
2008-06-02 2:55 PM
in reply to: #1436692

Member
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Timnath Colorado,
Subject: RE: Elephant Rock

I'm sorry to hear your experience didn't meet your expectations, and I'm not the least bit surprised. My first Elephant Rock was in 1996 and my last was in 2004. My first Triple Bypass was in 1997, and my last (of seven) was also 2004. The venues of both rides are amazing, even epic, and I have some incredible memories, and pictures, of these rides. That said, I'm certain I'll not participate in the Elephant Rock again; and it would take a very special circumstance for me to do the TBP ever again. Both of these rides are just too big for me now; too many riders and too many inexperienced riders.

I accept that cycling is a higher risk activity than say.... golfing or bowling. And, of course, the triathlon events I choose to participate in are not without some risk. However, these large "organized" rides add an additional layer of risk that I choose pass on. I still enjoy smaller organized rides and will continue to support and participate in those events. But when my concern for my safety detracts significantly from the ride experience, I'm done with it.

 



2008-06-03 10:44 AM
in reply to: #1436692

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Subject: RE: Elephant Rock

Sorry to hear about your experience with elephant rock. I've always found Colorado cyclists to be extremely cordial and helpful.

 

My training ride this weekend happened to bring me across the e-rock pack for several miles (I was going uphill while everyone was wizzing by the other way). And, unfortunately I have to agree with your assessment. At one point I saw a lady walking her bike with a flat - and witnessed 50+ riders fly by without ever offering to help her. So I stopped and helped her change her flat. Again a few hundred people passed without any offers to help. She said that she had been walking for quite a while - and no offers to help - and clearly no sag wagon.  Unfortunately she had the wrong tube, so I couldn't get her going - and my spare was the wrong size for her bike.  Then the final good news is that as I was heading out *finally* someone offered to help another cyclist in need.  

 

Later when I turned around (and travelled with the pack) I was equally unimpressed. So many people were riding 4-5 wide blocking both lanes of traffic at points. Very little rider courtesy & what seemed to be very little visible support for the ride with the notable exception of the state patrol & sheriff (they were everywhere). At one point I saw a motorcyclist fall off their cycle and within seconds there were 5 police onhand to assist them and keep traffic flowing. It's a shame that this level of support wasn't provided to the 7,000+ riders of the event.

 

I'm not trying to make this a carping session, and as I said I didn't do the ride so I only have a slice of the entire picture. But from what I witnessed I can't say that I have much desire to ever do this ride.



Edited by cologuppy 2008-06-03 10:53 AM
2008-06-03 11:30 AM
in reply to: #1436692

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Master
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Chicago
Subject: RE: Elephant Rock

I'm not much of a cyclists and I'm even less of a pack rider. This was my 3 century in 3 weeks and I have to say that Buena Vista century was much better! It was filled with "real" cyclists who knew how to ride in a pack and were considerate and nice. However, once I made the turn to do the 100 miles I had an AWESOME ride. I started later than most and never had to face the shorter distance riders again. It was killing me the number of people who rode 2-4 abreast, had ipods, talked, had bad etiquette etc. But with 7,000 riders what do you expect? It wasn't until I turned to go 100 miles that the crowd thinned out and the ride got much cleaner and better.

I agree though that the support on this ride was pitiful. I had more support in my cycling jersey than they had on the course. I mean water and off-brand sports drink???? It's a good thing I was training for my IM so I rode off my back instead of the course. Basically E-rock was a training ride for me. I got to see some good climbing routes in my own hometown (COS) and I put another 100 miles under my belt. But for a event ride it was pretty sad.

2008-06-03 12:32 PM
in reply to: #1441591

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Master
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Breckenridge, CO
Subject: RE: Elephant Rock
It was killing me the number of people who rode 2-4 abreast, had ipods, talked, had bad etiquette etc.

Certainly agree with the ipod problems. I think the organizers should be more clear in their rules that they are not allowed and those using them will be pulled from the course or have the device temporarily confiscated. Big, bold, capital letters in the rules would be nice.

I don't think talking is bad form.

2-4 abreast. Thinking back there was almost never a time when I was less than 3 abreast. I was riding with someone two abreast mostly and we were always passing at least a single, usually more. But according to the guy I was riding with who lives in Castle Rock, locals avoid the course like the plague and honestly I saw almost no cars on the two lane roads. When there was a car back we moved right as best we could.

The organizer could easily remedy the situation by limiting to more like 1000 riders like other rides. But I think the town would rather have a big event. With 7,000+ riders, there's no way to ride single file or even two abreast .

Support. I saw sag wagons and saw people waiting to be picked up. Food/drink, I carry my own. Water and toilets were all I needed. So no opinion on that.

But for a event ride it was pretty sad.


It's too crowded. Nobody goes any more
2008-06-03 4:31 PM
in reply to: #1436692

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Expert
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Parker, Co
Subject: RE: Elephant Rock

It was my first century so nothing to compare it to - my 0.02c ...................there were all shapes and sizes, ages and abilities - it was great to see so many embracing the sport -

I am sure that the inconvienence and perceived rudeness that many riders caused the hard core cyclist was not intentional - the ride was for all abilities so as far as I am concerned the hardcore should have expected exactly what they got...especially if you took off with the crowds around 6.30-7.30 - I have no sympathy for you...self imposed mayhem.

I got passed by packs of "fixie" hard core folks that were just as guilty of the infractions mentioned in the thread - so who really is to blame?

Personally I thought it was great to see everyone out there enjoying themselves and the sport of cycling - it was a ride, not a race

As far as support - I carried some of what I ride with usually, ate what they had to offer and refilled the water when needed....I felt the ride did a great job at each station 

As said - my opinions...but frankly the hostility towards the casual rider is a detriment to the sport itself but not unexpected

2008-06-04 9:06 AM
in reply to: #1436692

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Regular
69
2525
Lafayette, CO
Subject: RE: Elephant Rock
I'm sure I over-reacted a little bit, it was a very crowded ride for all levels, and we probably didn't get out quite early enough (6:10). I've had a few days to get over it, and it WAS good to see so many people out there embracing the sport. I guess I was disappointed with the very good cyclists who seemed to be just blatantly disregarding etiquette, but again, it could have just been frustration. I think I still won't do the ride again, and will probably opt for smaller, mountain town rides like the Tour de Steamboat (that's a GREAT race - biased from having lived there for a while...)

E


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