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I've been waffling on this since this past weekend.  I'm pretty sure I contributed to a pile-up at the start of a race this weekend.  I was in the 3rd row and saw a gap open, went for it and then felt a guys handlebars hit my rear end (nothing crazy either, just pressure).  I honestly don't think I was riding over aggressively and don't believe I moved off my line, but wasn't really paying attention to that.

 

I haven't heard of anyone getting seriously hurt or any major bike damage but it still makes me feel like ill.

 

???

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Yes. In what situation would you not? Even if it wasn't entirely your fault it's still a nice gesture. And if it wasn't your fault the other guy will let you know that.

 

And, it's always hard to know what happened. In a stressful situation where there are a lot of moving parts no one person has the "correct" view. Just reach out to the guy and apologize.

"But this is 'cross" isn't an excuse to ride like a douche.  Just remember that.
this theme that it is cross and anything goes is no excuse, same rules apply as crit.  Don't take the inside line on a turn and push people into the tape.  Make passes when it makes sense, unless it is the first lap and you are in the back and you are super strong.
I will be the first to admit that when I am really going I ride aggressively and I do not care to much about being very friendly at these times; quite the opposite actually. However, recently I was in a four rider pile-up. All of us were heading into an off-camber S-turn section with myself and another rider vying for the best corner position. I had the lead position into the turn however the second rider attempted to juke around me to the inside right as we came out of the left turn heading into the right-hand second turn. I sensed him and cut him off into the tape, but he clipped my rear sending me down as he and his bike flipped over me and the tape. Two more riders went down with one going outside far to the left and the final one getting stuck in our little yard-sale. I got up first and simply asked if the second guy was alright extending my hand to help him up. I laughed and muttered "nice" as we both spent a few moments knocking clumps of grass outta our mangled controls. The other two took off before I could say anything. Was I responsible? Sure, but eff that guy for flailing on a cheesy pass. Still its cyclocross and it's racing. I look forward to these kind of situations actually. It reminds that you are going hard enough for it to count.
move on, just pay a little more attention to your moves and how they affect others.

It's racing. There are times where it's fine to be agressive and times when you should hold back. Don't dive into a corner and push a guy off his line if it's dangerous. Pass him after the turn. If you can't pass him after the turn, you didn't deserve to pass him in the corner.

At the start, shoot for the gap. Don't chop too aggressively, but the first corner can mean a lot in CX. I wouldn't feel obligated to apologize in this situation, but I'd probably apologize if the opportunity presented itself. Then again, I'm Canadian.

In short, don't worry too much about it.

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