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Old 06-20-07, 03:01 PM   #1
Hipcycler
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Take 2: This "Cat 6" discussion I started....

Had a long talk with "Coach Jerry" today, who explained a lot about this to me. He is involved in organizing races here, and has been for some time now.

I asked him why it's usually a 4/5 race...because IF there was actually an entry-level "5" event, then that would be fine with me.

He agreed that 4/5 can be intimidating and not a good start place for racers. He also agreed that it should be more important to allow these entry-level racers a place to get started in a 'true' 5 event. But it's not a perfect world....

Why doesn't it happen?
The promoters.

They want large fields.
They want programs that aren't too long.

How to change it?
Get a groundswell of people like me that would like to get into a true "5" event as beginner racers to voice that to the people who promote races.
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Old 06-20-07, 03:14 PM   #2
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Solution: A whole race day geared at development. Senior 5s, Master 5s, Women 4s and 5s and Juniors.
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Old 06-20-07, 03:18 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by DiabloScott
Solution: A whole race day geared at development. Senior 5s, Master 5s, Women 4s and 5s and Juniors.
If you could sell it to the promoters it could work....but they need to know that the #'s are out there to fill the fields, otherewise they have no interest.

I don't think that's good for the growth of the sport in the big picture though.
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Old 06-20-07, 03:20 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Hipcycler
Why doesn't it happen?
The promoters.

They want large fields.
They want programs that aren't too long.

How to change it?
Get a groundswell of people like me that would like to get into a true "5" event as beginner racers to voice that to the people who promote races.
That's pretty backwards, but I'm not surprised. If they wanted larger fields, they'd find a way to get more people involved. To get more people involved, you need to open it up to more new people. New people, (intimidated, unsure if they're ready, or otherwise anxious about getting out the first time), are going to be the last people contacting race promoters to advocate a true citizens/beginners class. Promoters should be encouraging growth and participation by welcoming more new folks in.
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Old 06-20-07, 03:23 PM   #5
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we dont have this issue in the DC area. plenty of 5 only races here so i dont think this is as a big an issue as you are making it. supply and demand
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Old 06-20-07, 03:25 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shemp
That's pretty backwards, but I'm not surprised. If they wanted larger fields, they'd find a way to get more people involved. To get more people involved, you need to open it up to more new people. New people, (intimidated, unsure if they're ready, or otherwise anxious about getting out the first time), are going to be the last people contacting race promoters to advocate a true citizens/beginners class. Promoters should be encouraging growth and participation by welcoming more new folks in.
Shemp....
That was EXACTLY my argument to Jerry. But for whatever reason, the powers that be are not interested at that level. Short-sighted I think.
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Old 06-20-07, 03:57 PM   #7
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I'm a promoter and also advise promoters on a very infrequent basis.

Cat 5 races are actually good for promoters if they have a lot of time. By definition you can't give anything worth anything (money, merchandise) to 5's - so a no-prize list Cat 5 race is a requirement. The promoter collects money and keeps virtually all of it.

There is a 50 rider limit, but that's okay. With a lot of time, you have two Cat 5 races.

With 4/5 races, you're limited to 75 but now you're obligated to give prizes.

If you're time limited, then a 4/5 race might be the only way to have both the 4's and the 5's race.

The series I promote is designed for early season legs. It's geared towards 3's, 4's, and 5's. We short under 40 year old Cat 1-2's as they only have one race. Pros only have one race too. We know that our paying racers are Cat 3-5 for the most part, and we know that if given the opportunity, many of them will race twice. So we make it possible for this to happen.

The only way to change a promoter's mind is to have a lot of racers ask for something. It may be that the promoter, looking at the field sizes, thinks things are perfect, but it may not be the case.

For example, we always combined the M40/Women/Junior in one field. Last year we had a "new" race, and we tried two different fields - M30 and Womens (on alternating weeks). We got a lot of women and killed our Pro/1/2/3 field as the Cat 1-2 M30's chose one race or another. This year we had a separate women's race and it was very successful. It took three years to do this - one to think about it, another to try it, and a third to make it permanent.

Promoters ultimately need a decent ratio of racers per field. If you can convince the promoter they'll get enough racers to not lose money, the promoter will think about it.

a promoter and a racer,
cdr

*edit* I should add that a promoter that emphasized 4's and 5's has struggled for two years, even though he has a 3's race. Without the 2's and a second 3's race, it's difficult to attract teammates of the beginner racers.
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Old 06-20-07, 03:57 PM   #8
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Driving an hour or two (sometimes more, sometimes much less, of course) and paying thirty bucks to ride for thirty minutes doesn't appeal to a lot of people. You don't even get free bagels or a t-shirt or anything. And your race, for all intents and purposes, could be over before the first corner.

But take an event like the Horrible Hilly Hundred that our friends to the south just completed. That's a challenge too... much more challenging than a 50 minute criterium, IMO. And it's also an event... one that lasts hours. You get your money's worth, so to speak. And no one cares if you come in first or last. It's something to participate and finish... like a marathon or a triathlon. In a criterium, if you're not in the money (to paraphrase Ricky Bobby), you're last. I'm 'last' a lot. I enjoy criteriums, but that's me.

So the people, some of them strong, very capable riders, who enjoy longer events like the HHH have no real motivation to do a shorter race where they might end up with trashed bikes and a trip to the hospital.


JMHO.
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Old 06-20-07, 03:59 PM   #9
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Hip it seems to be the conundrum of cycling and racing specifically: We want more racers to grow the sport and make it better but do plenty to discourage it and little to promote it. They really need to bridge over to some of the folks who only do challenge rides and such. Considering the huge amount of coin even non-competitive riders drop, you'd think there would be a little business sense in there somewhere. Then again, there's a reason road races are pushed out the B.F.E. these days.
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Old 06-20-07, 04:13 PM   #10
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^Agreed.

And as carpediemracing pointed out, as did Coach Jerry to me today, promoters would get to keep ALL the entry cash in a "5"...no prizes. What's not to be interested in there from a promoter's standpoint?

From a racer's standpoint, no prizes is fine to me because the reward is actually trying a race as a beginner in a fair "5" field.
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Old 06-20-07, 04:17 PM   #11
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what is a fair 5 field?
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Old 06-20-07, 04:21 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by riskus
what is a fair 5 field?
A) First of all, it's for 5's only, not 4/5's. This means that it really is an entry-level, beginner race.
B) There is a system in place that forces upgrades to cut down on sandbaggers as well.
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Old 06-20-07, 04:25 PM   #13
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face it... its never going to be easy. stop making excuses and just go race.
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Old 06-20-07, 04:25 PM   #14
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What about triathletes/mountain bikers/velodrome racers who may be fit but just don't have the experience to race as 3's or 4's?
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Old 06-20-07, 04:32 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by riskus
face it... its never going to be easy. stop making excuses and just go race.
See here's part of the problem right here....

I'M NOT MAKING EXCUSES!!!!!!!
I'm simply trying to better the particpation in the sport...fix something that from the outside anyone with half a brain could see is not working as well as it could....at least not around here.
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Old 06-20-07, 04:34 PM   #16
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i guess i just dont see it as a problem. shrug
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Old 06-20-07, 04:37 PM   #17
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i guess i just dont see it as a problem. shrug
No, that's cool....and that's because it isn't a problem in your neck of the woods I guess.

The real irony in all this is that as 'recursive' pointed out earlier, there actually IS a Cat 5 only race as part of an event being held about 40 miles from where I live....and I can't race this weekend.
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Old 06-20-07, 04:40 PM   #18
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I dont think it was a problem if there were no races for cat 5s. If the races here were mostly 4/5 the only problem I would have is how fast they sell out.
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Old 06-20-07, 04:51 PM   #19
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I've wondered the same thing about 4/5's. I also understand that it has to do with wanting to keep the field large instead of having 4 or 5 individual races going on. At one race earlier this year in WA State, the wife of one of my team mates was telling me that she (as a Cat 4 lady) ended up in a race where ALL of the women's fields were combined. In other words, 4's were racing with 1's and all were graded as if they were the same.

To me, that sounds like a waste of an entry fee.
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Old 06-20-07, 04:54 PM   #20
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I've wondered the same thing about 4/5's. I also understand that it has to do with wanting to keep the field large instead of having 4 or 5 individual races going on. At one race earlier this year in WA State, the wife of one of my team mates was telling me that she (as a Cat 4 lady) ended up in a race where ALL of the women's fields were combined. In other words, 4's were racing with 1's and all were graded as if they were the same.

To me, that sounds like a waste of an entry fee.

if its a difference between 2 or 3 cat 4 women racing against each other or 20 1/2/3/4 women whats more of a waste?
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Old 06-20-07, 05:10 PM   #21
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Dude... If you spent as much time racing as you do typing on your keyboard, you'd be a Cat 3 by now.
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Old 06-20-07, 06:21 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hipcycler
A) First of all, it's for 5's only, not 4/5's. This means that it really is an entry-level, beginner race.
B) There is a system in place that forces upgrades to cut down on sandbaggers as well.
Just doesn't seem feasible.

A) There really isn't that much of a marked difference between 4's and 5's, in terms of fitness. It's really a short jump. 10 mass starts, that's it.

b) There will always be sandbaggers. We all deal with it. Unless race results are consolidated and universially reported, there's no way to track people perfectly.
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Old 06-20-07, 06:37 PM   #23
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I'd be very interested to know the rules for all of this.
I'm an over 40 type and would like to try some crits, but have no clue as to how.
There is a summer series within a couple miles of where I live, but like i said,
how does one get into it?

I also don't want to be racing a bunch of hyper-fit 18 year olds.
A noob class would be the thing for me.

Anyway, any info would be really nice.
Thanks!
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Old 06-20-07, 06:46 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by waybehind
I'd be very interested to know the rules for all of this.
I'm an over 40 type and would like to try some crits, but have no clue as to how.
There is a summer series within a couple miles of where I live, but like i said,
how does one get into it?

I also don't want to be racing a bunch of hyper-fit 18 year olds.
A noob class would be the thing for me.

Anyway, any info would be really nice.
Thanks!
Where do you live? In Fl, just go to www.floridacycling.com

We almost always have cat5 only races.
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Old 06-20-07, 06:57 PM   #25
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I Live in Seattle, Wa.
The crits near me are at Seward Park, which is just east of me.
Anyone have any ideas?
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