Mountain bike racers took to the Bison Butte Mountain Bike course today to compete in the relay event, but how do the athletes pass off to another team member on two wheels? Great question.
Each sport has its own method. For instance, in track or Athletics, runners hand off a relay baton. In short track speed skating, incoming skaters push their teammates waiting on the start line to complete the exchange. In swimming, swimmers must touch the wall. Mountain biking relay exchanges are also based on physical contact between team members. Riders finishing their lap must touch the next riders, who are already on their bikes and ready to take off.
We were lucky enough to witness this near the start line of the Bison Butte Mountain Bike Course. The female riders were the first to mount their bikes. Teams typically consist of three riders, each of whom must complete one 6 km leg. Teams of two may also compete, with the first rider doing the third leg.
The second leg riders line up on the right side of a finishing chute, facing the start line, and extend their left elbow. This is the tag or exchange point. Riders finishing their leg race up on the left of the chute and touch their team member's elbow with their right hand.
Race officials are present to ensure that physical contact is made and that everything is done according to the regulations.