Handle to deal with an aggressive / toxic rider

It goes without saying that some of us love racing. We were all born to be competitive at some degree and with racing comes with risks and how we manage those risks is important as any other skill we learn from cycling.

At our recent race, I was described by a rider to be “…riding all over the place”. This is coming from a well decorated multi-iron-man who is use to 7 bikes lengths and no contact. Hey I know, I was an Iron-man too, but he just transitiion from lets say a Cat 5.

Echelon formation conflicts with the rules of "don’t cross streams, I mean wheels :slight_smile: ". So as a general rule, at one stage in the race we do it, and being attentive, we make adjustments when needed but some may not be so focused and get caught as their front wheel rubs on the back wheel.

I don’t think I can be blamed if I make an adjusted that causes someone front wheel to touch my back wheel. A small adjustment is very different from crossing the circuit. Hey, that’s racing!!!

Unfortunately, I have been “targeted”, and I did not realise this labelling until typing and seeking help on how to management this.

Particular members of a team in Adelaide, Australia, engage in a private forum expressing their war wounds of recent or upcoming races, this is normal. I would like to make this clear it is only two members of the team, not the whole team that engage in toxic comments towards me and others.

Comments like:
“Unless you have the chance to put old mate in the gutter. Then it’s game on”
“If it’s a fine for taking old mate out. I’m happy to pay it”

I am racing, so I am not intentionally trying to hurt anyone but to think that someone would go out of their way to put me in the gutter makes me ill. I am not intentionally doing it, but their clear in their intent.

This chatter is actually making me on considering not racing in the “team racing” and avoid this guys completely. I feel I am allowing some form of bully take control.

This is equivalent to lets say a 4/5 grade in the USA.

Unfortunately I was sent a copy of their private team discussions which I wish I had never saw. No one needs to see what others think.

Place a FTP% on screen and I will meet the challenge, mental bullshit like this paralyses me because I unfortunate was raise to care what people think and be mindful of others… this leaves me dead in the water.

To be honest, I ended last summer season (March 2019) with these comments which has spur my winter training. I am also aware that this is coming from those not happy with their current form.

Why do I care so much? How should I handle this? I am not doing anything to provoke this, in fact after races I go up to these guys and ensure things are ok…I feel I am trying too hard.

Use it as fuel. And deal with it by kicking his arse.


They’re assholes and you shouldn’t spend any more time thinking about it beyond it fueling your training. I would guess that most of it is talk and frustration and they wouldn’t actually do anything to crash you out. If you actually feel that this is a possibility then maybe consider mentioning them to race direction prior to a race so they can keep an eye on anything and give them warnings if it does get out of hand. But again, I highly doubt it would escalate.


Every racer bumps somebody now and then or makes the occasional sketchy move or has a momentary lapse in holding their line. But it takes much more than the occasional slip up to get a reputation as a sketchy rider and more still to get regular comments about one’s riding from fellow raers.

I apologize for being blunt but, if you have a reputation for sketchyness that is bad enough that fellow racers are talking about it, some honest self analysis is probably in order. The guys talking about you may be jerks but, that does not guarantee they are wrong.


Without being there riding with the group and experiencing what you state it’s impossible to understand the dynamic of what really happened. That said, I listen to riders/racers over describe situations on the road all the time. Guys will say someone was “riding all over the place” or any number of descriptors of the riding which sometimes are kind of true and most often way overblown. Many times the guys complaining either: 1) Have limited experience and lack that little etiquette that is so important in races and/or group rides. 2) Are in over their heads with fitness and/or tactics. 3) For whatever reason they are either frightened riding close and fast to others or just not confident in a fast tight group.

It’s probably some twisted combination of all three. Use it as fuel. But, if you are like me you will want to understand what the hell is going on. I’m the sort of person who would not shy away from opportunity to ride/race with the guys and meet the problem head on while riding.

If you are truly riding controlled with skill and etiquette there is nothing better than letting your legs do the talking. Sorry the stress this is causing. Understand it is stress so they are getting to you. Don’t let them if able which I fully understand why you posted.

Blue skies and tailwinds!


I would find someone you ride/race with and that you trust, and ask his honest opinion. Am I all over the place? Am I ok? Are there things I should avoid/fix?


Your three highlighted points are very true. Thank you for your other very valid points.

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A few things:

#1. Save the receipts in case something does happen. Potentially admissible in a court of law.

#2. Riders that engage in this type of toxicity are usually out over their skis. I’d suggest avoiding them.

#3. Take an honest look at how you ride and see if there are areas that can be improved.

#4. Go out on a break, see if you can rope one of them into it, and then drop them.

#5. Offer them a beer after and see if you can bury the hatchet.

I wouldn’t worry about the use of the phrase about putting you in the gutter. Simply refers to making sure you can’t get in an echelon in the event of a crosswind and as such dropping you. Common language used to describe race tactics so don’t worry about that one.

The second about taking you out is more toxic. Is there someone in your local federation you can flag it to? That kind of thing shouldn’t be tolerated.

There’s no way to really understand what happened in the race situations you describe and everyone will have a different take on it. What you could do is spend a bit of time just looking at race craft and etfiqutte. You can’t change what others will do, but yuh can take ownership of your own skills. Take a look at the British Cycling website and find the Racesmart videos. They are really helpful.

Don’t let it put you off. There’s always two sides to every story, and somewhere in between lies the truth!!! By taking ownership of the issues, you can make sure it’s you that’s putting these guys “in the gutter”:+1:

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if riders are openly discussing taking another rider out, that isn’t on. It goes against FairPlay and Cycling Code of Conduct.

Keep racing, dont let others influence your race or how you race. That being said, if they are on your wheel, and rub wheels, if your in a paceline, or echelon or a bunch, It is usual to have a change of position, your never locked into one space on the road. So it is up to the person behind you to not over lap wheels, that’s their responsibility.

What was said above is also true, being sure that you can hold a wheel, or a paceline, echelon and not chop position. Chopping is different to moving around in a group.