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Old 04-09-14, 12:27 PM   #1
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Help make racing better.

http://tinyurl.com/mcle3d7

"USA Cycling should create a mandatory education and certification process for new road and track racers and eliminate one day licenses for mass start events without this certification"

Given that these programs already exist in numerous locations on a voluntary basis, the wheel doesn't need to be reinvented, nor will things need to be created out of a vacuum. There are plenty of coaches and promoters out there that already provide these services, often for free.

Having had an opportunity to race all over the country, and work in various mentoring programs, I've seen what works and what doesn't. Hope doesn't. Education and mentoring does.

Sign and pass it on.

"Bicycle racing is an inherently dangerous sport where serious injuries and deaths occur. Presently USA Cycling, the primary sanctioning body for bicycle racing in the US, allows anyone with $15 dollars to enter a race with a "one day" license, without verifying that they have any prerequisite skills or knowledge whatsoever.

Creating a uniform mandatory education and certification process will increase safety, improve the rider experience, increase retention of racers, and reduce insurance costs.

Such processes are commonplace in sports like auto and motorcycle racing where the participants have the same risk while having superior safety equipment.

Voluntary programs (some no cost) to provide new bike racers with skills and knowledge exist in several locations in the US, providing USA Cycling with models to use.

As racers, cyclists, family, and friends, we call on USA Cycling to put a mandatory education and certification process in place prior to allowing new riders to compete in mass start events."
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Old 04-09-14, 12:31 PM   #2
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http://tinyurl.com/mcle3d7

"USA Cycling should create a mandatory education and certification process for new road and track racers and eliminate one day licenses for mass start events without this certification"

Given that these programs already exist in numerous locations on a voluntary basis, the wheel doesn't need to be reinvented, nor will things need to be created out of a vacuum. There are plenty of coaches and promoters out there that already provide these services, often for free.

Having had an opportunity to race all over the country, and work in various mentoring programs, I've seen what works and what doesn't. Hope doesn't. Education and mentoring does.

Sign and pass it on.

"Bicycle racing is an inherently dangerous sport where serious injuries and deaths occur. Presently USA Cycling, the primary sanctioning body for bicycle racing in the US, allows anyone with $15 dollars to enter a race with a "one day" license, without verifying that they have any prerequisite skills or knowledge whatsoever.

Creating a uniform mandatory education and certification process will increase safety, improve the rider experience, increase retention of racers, and reduce insurance costs.

Such processes are commonplace in sports like auto and motorcycle racing where the participants have the same risk while having superior safety equipment.

Voluntary programs (some no cost) to provide new bike racers with skills and knowledge exist in several locations in the US, providing USA Cycling with models to use.

As racers, cyclists, family, and friends, we call on USA Cycling to put a mandatory education and certification process in place prior to allowing new riders to compete in mass start events."
I agree with this.
Back in the day I had to have my license signed by a coach/team to be able to race in a sanctioned event. Rbart could confirm if it is still like that but something should be put in place to help educate/direct new riders.
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Old 04-09-14, 01:37 PM   #3
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I agree wholeheartedly. This is one of the many reasons I wrote the books that I have. So much emphasis is placed on "training to power" that the basic skills of pack riding have been completely overlooked.

Coaches used to coach the nuts and bolts in a hands-on manner. Now they email numbers back and forth without ever actually seeing a person ride.

I've taken the Motorcycle Safety Foundation basic course. Those were two intense days that saved my hiney on many occasions thereafter.
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Old 04-09-14, 02:03 PM   #4
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This will not happen.
Sorry to say.
It's a hindrance to entering the sport "easily".

The only thing I can see happening is: USAC and the LA's assisting promoters with cat5 clinics before most events, much like CDR does at Bethel.

I do like the discussion though. Learning the fundamentals is 100x as important as being fast
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Old 04-09-14, 02:34 PM   #5
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I thought they did away with the one day license this year?
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Old 04-09-14, 03:10 PM   #6
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I thought they did away with the one day license this year?
It's $15 and now you get a credit for one One Day if you get an annual.
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Old 04-09-14, 03:12 PM   #7
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This will not happen.
Sorry to say.
It's a hindrance to entering the sport "easily".

The only thing I can see happening is: USAC and the LA's assisting promoters with cat5 clinics before most events, much like CDR does at Bethel.

I do like the discussion though. Learning the fundamentals is 100x as important as being fast
This was my first reaction.

But then I thought about it. If promoters had to have a clinic before the 5s, if the syllabus was all set (minimum 1 hour, for example), and there was an online informational test for Cat 5->4 upgrades (What constitutes a free lap, when are results final, what is a Junior gear limit, etc), I could see it complementing what's out there now. It would be better without a lot of extra work for the promoters or clubs.

Also there are a zillion coaches that would volunteer to run these things, if only to get eyeballs on their coaching business.
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Old 04-09-14, 03:16 PM   #8
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Ha. I probably wouldn't be racing if I had to get "certified".

Only reason I am racing is because I was allowed to just show up, buy a one day license and try it out to see how I liked it.
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Old 04-09-14, 03:29 PM   #9
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how extensive is this training certification? like what are they going to do to get certified? will it be like a motorcycle class that one might take before committing to riding it? is it just going to be a safety video outlining the common rules of pack riding? or a mixture of both
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Old 04-09-14, 03:48 PM   #10
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That's up to USAC to decide. If they're smart, they'll ask the officials in the LA's that have clinics and develop the curriculum from there.

Videos would be tough to do outside in the cold.
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Old 04-09-14, 04:02 PM   #11
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Ha. I probably wouldn't be racing if I had to get "certified".

Only reason I am racing is because I was allowed to just show up, buy a one day license and try it out to see how I liked it.
And maybe a few others who arent as fortunate or advanced as you were when you started thought they were way over their heads, or worse, crashed.

safety should trump participation any time, but as alluded to eatlier, USAC may not think the same

Besides, push come to shove, one-day license can remain, but a rider would need to first demonstrate that s/he is neither a menace yo him/herself not a menace to others. That's where the clinic comes in. If it were up to me i'd require two hours of clinic, including individual part and having racers ride in groups of 10-15 before giving them a go ahead for racing

If this is too much trouble and deters people, well so be it

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Old 04-09-14, 04:07 PM   #12
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...
Coaches used to coach the nuts and bolts in a hands-on manner. Now they email numbers back and forth without ever actually seeing a person ride.
...
Didn't coaches used to mostly train kids? Modern coaches mostly train adults.

I'm not USAC, so my vote doesn't count, but I'd sure like to spend a season or two finding out if this is actually a problem (crash statistics?) before putting up yet another barrier to entry to this sport.
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Old 04-09-14, 04:09 PM   #13
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...

But then I thought about it. If promoters had to have a clinic before the 5s, if the syllabus was all set (minimum 1 hour, for example), and there was an online informational test for Cat 5->4 upgrades (What constitutes a free lap, when are results final, what is a Junior gear limit, etc), I could see it complementing what's out there now. It would be better without a lot of extra work for the promoters or clubs.
...
An hour, as you well know, is a race. Who's going to sacrifice their field? Women's 4's? M40+ 4/5?
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Old 04-09-14, 04:40 PM   #14
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Sweet. We should also have mandatory training classes for sketchy p/1/2's riders..
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Old 04-09-14, 05:00 PM   #15
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Sweet. We should also have mandatory training classes for sketchy p/1/2's riders..
This ^^^^

I have always thought that is what a cat 5 race is for. Around here we have Monday and Tuesday night races and the fast guys sit back and race in with the slow guys and juniors at times to help out and talk them through issues. That is how I got started in the sport. I still remember when they asked me when I would shave my legs ... my answer was never ... reality was the start of the next season.

Overall I think it is a good idea to have a clinic, but as other mentioned it is just a barrier to entry and most organizations are looking to lower barriers to their sport, not increase them. Now ensuring they are trained before becoming a cat 3 would be nice, but I am pretty sure we will have sketchy riders forever.
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Old 04-09-14, 05:01 PM   #16
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Sweet. We should also have mandatory training classes for sketchy p/1/2's riders..
Definitely. We'll take up a collection for your entry fee.

This was first posted in the track subforum, and I asked Ex about how this would work for folks like me in the cycling hinterlands, aka Asskrakistan. His reply was that folks would need to travel to a clinic, just like traveling to a race. This would work, since there is no dearth of non-racing weekends in Asskrakistan. Another way to do this would be to bring the person putting on the clinic to the local team's location and pay him/her the same fee that a USAC official gets for officiating a race. So yeah, it's feasible.
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Old 04-09-14, 05:11 PM   #17
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Are there not mentors already in cat 5 races?

And cat 5 is already a segregation of inexperienced racers.

So what, make a requirement of 9 races and 1 clinic, then figure out how to make the clinics more accessible? And what's the test, clip-in without crashing? Get pushed without overreacting?

People are going to graduate the class, do their 9 races, get in the 4s, and still suck. I know guys who have been riding for years who suck. They should have to retest.
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Old 04-09-14, 05:32 PM   #18
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Didn't coaches used to mostly train kids? Modern coaches mostly train adults.

I'm not USAC, so my vote doesn't count, but I'd sure like to spend a season or two finding out if this is actually a problem (crash statistics?) before putting up yet another barrier to entry to this sport.
The fear of crashing is already a significant barrier to entry to this sport. Knowing that the newbies will be trained in racing safely can only open more doors.

We have to start somewhere.
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Old 04-09-14, 05:45 PM   #19
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The fear of crashing is already a significant barrier to entry to this sport. Knowing that the newbies will be trained in racing safely can only open more doors.

We have to start somewhere.
Maybe require teams to hold clinics to be able to register as teams. Clinics have to be in conjunction with a certified coach (whatever that might be made to mean) and they have to be advertised in some way (maybe just fliers at the local bike shops, and the USAC website) and open to any and all riders for zero cost. I could get behind something like that. But the burden of knowing about the clinics and paying for the clinics must be placed on a motivated party; riders already in the sport would be a good option.

This would solve both the safety problems and would also intrinsically act to promote bike racing to new riders. If one of the barriers to entry is fear of crashing, another major barrier is simply knowing the racing world exists. I was riding with various clubs for years before I knew there was amateur bike racing in Oregon.
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Old 04-09-14, 05:50 PM   #20
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Are there not mentors already in cat 5 races?
Depends where you are. In my local association, LAMBRA, nope. I was in the biggest racing club in Louisiana last year, and there weren't even mentors in the training races. I would certainly welcome it.

Having the clinic would give new racers at least the possibility of being able to find their ass with both hands. It obviously wouldn't be perfect, but it would be better than what presently exists.
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Old 04-09-14, 05:53 PM   #21
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An hour, as you well know, is a race. Who's going to sacrifice their field? Women's 4's? M40+ 4/5?
Doesn't have to be on the race course.

The petition is a broad thing. I think that initiating the discussion is what's important. Critically there are clinics that count for credit, but no one can tell me what makes them count and what makes other ones not count. By having some kind of standard it would help those of us trying to grow the sport. Should I drop tactics and focus on bumping? Should I start on soft surfaces (grass/dirt) and focus on front wheel touching? Practice braking?

There's no reason not to have a Cat 5->4 test requirement. The disaster of the protest periods at the spring races were ample illustration that absolutely no one understands the 15 minute protest rule. Cat 5s, M45 (Cat 3), Cat 3-4s, P123s (1s and 2s). A simple test touching on high points of the rule book would be great. There's a race director test now (wtf?) and you have to have 10? hours of "learning", including 5 hours of webinars, every year in order to maintain your race director license.

Finally there might be some pushback from USAC from a legal point of view. There used to be tubular tire checks before races. I never saw a rolled tire when they did those checks. However they became liable if someone did roll a tire. Now no one checks tubulars before a race and I see rolled tires on way too regular a basis. So what's worse, checking tires (and pulling 5-10-15 riders off the line because their tires were poorly glued - I think I saw 5-7 people in the first two rows of one crit get pulled, I didn't pay attention to what happened behind me) or not checking and having riders break their collar bones and such because of a rolled tire?

All of these things get brought up when someone starts talking mandatory clinic. It's all good discussion. It stirs the pot. It's like when someone attacks the field. Right now the whole "new racer education" thing is stagnant. Everyone is sitting in. Now someone throws down an attack and people are waking up and doing something. This is great.
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Old 04-09-14, 06:05 PM   #22
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Unless the clinics are going to put people into race-brain by stressing them to the max and having them make quick on-bike decisions, I sort of don't see the point.

Have them descend a hill at 40mph and have someone on a scooter take a few swings at them with a pugil stick.

Survivors get to line up for Cat 5 race #1 .
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Old 04-09-14, 06:23 PM   #23
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I said this before in the track forum and I'll say it again here, I don't think there is any substitute for a strong junior racing program. Guys 25 years old and older are simply never going to be as fluid on a bike as a kid who's taught the racing style since he was 10. You can tack on all the clinics and safety checks you want and you won't replace the effects of a strong youth racing program. The juniors age brackets, taken as a whole, should be, by far, the largest group of riders in amateur racing. The fact that it's 6 kids trying to make a peloton illustrates the systematic issues bike racing has in the US.

Look at swimming. Age group competitive swimming is absolutely huge, dwarfing senior racing by an order of magnitude. This is what cycling has to be to get where these safety programs want to go.
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Old 04-09-14, 06:28 PM   #24
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Unless the clinics are going to put people into race-brain by stressing them to the max and having them make quick on-bike decisions, I sort of don't see the point.

Have them descend a hill at 40mph and have someone on a scooter take a few swings at them with a pugil stick.

Survivors get to line up for Cat 5 race #1 .
Fudgy - You're not thinking clearly.

You don't teach people how to deal with high-stress situations by throwing them in high-stress situations with no prior training and expect them to do well. You give them the tools they need and the chance to drill and make mistakes at low cost, and increase the complexity as their skills evolve. An example would be bumping drills, first done at low speed on grass, then faster and then on pavement.

I've been through this in the context of people shooting at me and trying to kill me. My training didn't start with someone shooting at me and trying to kill me, but with slow drills in reacting to contact, and then more complex stuff. When people shot at me and tried to kill me for real, the training kicked in and I made it through unscathed. That would be the goal of the clinic, to ensure that the new racers get through their races unscathed, and to equip them to learn to deal with the high-stress stuff.
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Old 04-09-14, 06:28 PM   #25
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...
Finally there might be some pushback from USAC from a legal point of view. ...
The first time someone breaks a collarbone performing a mandatory bumping drill, there might be trouble. Waivers work in races because it transfers accountability from the race organizer to the racers themselves. A class, mandated by the governing body, telling someone to put themselves in a hazardous situation, will probably render any waiver you can figure irrelevant.

So maybe you have a much watered down course? And now maybe you only have the barrier to entry without the corresponding safety benefits.
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