What the hell is racing age? And why does it matter?
Racing age is your age at a certain time of the year. For road events it's your age Dec 31 of that year. For cross it's your age Jan 1 the next year (so you can race with others with similar ages).
It matters for Juniors because there's a gear limit, mandatory for every race, depending on your racing age. It matters for older riders because their age can allow them to do Masters races.
Juniors can age up, i.e. a 12 year old can enter a JR 13-14 event. Juniors can race open races of their category, i.e. a new Cat 5 Junior can race in a normal Cat 5 race. Keep in mind that Juniors have to follow any gear limit specified for their age, regardless of who they're racing with.
I tell this to everyone that wants to or has started racing - read the rulebook. It's a tip that I got from my friend when I got into racing at 14 years old. I read it but then when he quizzed me I didn't know anything. Then I really read it.
I wholeheartedly agree with carpediemracing above; read read read the rulebook. Please. A team of four got DQ'd this year at a road race for not having proper Junior gears; neither they, their parents, nor their coaches bothered to read the rules.
As an example of what not to do, as of right now 5 of the 13 entries in the JR 13-14 field for tomorrow is ineligible to race. The BikeReg data may not be up to date so that may be part of the reason (BikeReg profile is up to the racer to maintain). However based on some of the frantic emails I've seen in the last two days it seems that some racers will have made the trip to the race and not be able to race. Although technically a Junior is not able to make legal decisions if they're under 18, if they read the rulebook then they will be able to say, hey, wait a minute, I don't think I can enter that race.
There are a number of other people who have done some wrong things as well, even in the P12 race. It's not just Juniors.
Unfortunately for those that ignore or don't know the rules, ignorance is not an excuse.
Where could I find the rulebook? Is it online? And is it just the juniors section I should read or the whole thing? And just for road (what I want to start) or for all types?
It's right here. http://lmgtfy.com/?q=usa+cycling+rulebook
oh my god! It's 242 pages long!
For pertinent stuff read the general racing bit, the road racing stuff, and the Appendix on conduct. If you want to do track then that, mountain biking then read that (mechanical support is a significant difference), 'cross read that (ditto).
It's a tiny book, if it was printed out it would be as tall as the keyboard and cover 6 keys across a laptop keyboard. That's the size of the hard copy I have (if you take/pass the first basic official's course).
If you want to race this is part of the commitment you make. It's less complicated than a driving manual.
Ugh, driving. Well I have a few months before I have to worry about that!
I don't know about the USA rulebook, but I ride under British Cycling's rules. I don't think they'd be that different? And it is pretty simple to understand (I've read the MTB, road and track sections - not bothering with BMX as I don't race them). Once you give it a good read, you probably won't need to read it again and it avoids turning up for a race and not being able to race because your equipment doesn't check out.
Knowing the rules is critical. You need to know what's legal and what's not.
A Junior and his dad made a 3 hour drive to a race Sunday. They didn't meet the start requirements. They had to drive back home with no race for the Junior. The father is still mad but the start requirements couldn't be clearer.
Someone else came up and same thing, one Junior racer couldn't start.
To be fair I think 4 other Juniors showed up while not meeting the start requirements (age, Cat 1-4). They were luckier because they were from New England and the New England rep was much more responsive (and happened to be working the race). They got upgrades to Cat 4 on the spot.
I have the same requirements for Masters in the races I promote (Cat 1-4). Inevitably I get half a dozen emails from Cat 5 Masters asking if they can race. What part of "Cat 1-4" do you not understand?
So it pays to know the rules. You want to buy Mad Fiber wheels? Or run some HED3s in a crit? You think that's legal? What about Nationals, if you were going out to Nationals what bike would you bring? What if you showed up at the TT and the officials told you, sorry, you can't race that, it's not legal. What would you have to show up with for that to happen?
You may not agree with a rule, that's absolutely okay to think a rule is stupid. It may get you DQed or worse if you act on your thoughts. When you get your USAC license (or driver's license or similar things) one of the things you agree to is that you know and follow their rules.
What are the junior start requirements? I couldn't find them anywhere in it and I read the whole thing (well everything except cyclocross, mtb, bmx). Also, can you quiz me so I know whether i know the rules or not?
What's your race age and what's your gear limit?
Can you use a mountain bike for a road crit? How about a TT bike? Why or why not?
Can you wear a sleeveless jersey in a crit or RR?
How is it determined when you've finished a race?
About how long is a crit course? A circuit or road race course?
If there is a dead heat (aka tie) then what happens in a crit? A road race?
What is a free lap? When is it no longer available?
If the free lap rule is in effect do you qualify for a free lap if....
- you crash?
- you get caught behind a crash?
- you drop your chain?
- your saddle breaks?
- you have a flat tire?
When are you allowed to take your hand off the bar to push another rider?
When you're riding your bike to registration at a race do you need to wear a helmet?
Do you have to wear socks when you race?
Are you allowed to wear a pro team jersey?
Do you need to use the handlebar plugs that you get with handlebar tape?
Are you allowed to swear when you're racing?
My race age is my age on December 31st of the season, so this year 16. My gear limit is 52X14 or a rollout of 26 feet
No you can't use a mountain bike or time trial bikes because time trial bikes have forearm supports and mountain bikes because they are not road racing bikes.
No because it must cover the shoulders.
It is determined you have finished a race when the front of the front tire passes the line or the plane that extends up from the line perpendicular to the road.
The length of a criterium is determined by a preset time limit, usually between 30 minutes and an hour.
In a criterium the one with more points wins, if it is a road race, the last kilometer can be re-raced I think, if it is for first, if not I think they are equal.
A free lap (or two laps if on a course shorter than .6 miles) is when a racer does not have to race a lap so he or she is caught up with the race and is in the back of the group she or he was in. This lap can be granted if the rider had
a mechanical issue not caused by him/herself, or was taken out in a crash that he/she did not cause, if s/he stays down and doesn't immediately get up, I think. I'm not so sure on what qualifies a free lap so I will go over that. The
free lap rule is no longer available inside the last 8 km I think, but it might be 8 mi. I'm leaning towards 8 km.
you crash - yes
you get caught behind a crash - no
- you drop your chain - no
- your saddle breaks - yes?
- you have a flat tire - no
You are allowed to push another rider if you are on the same team and are on the same lap.
yes, always wear a helmet.
yes on the socks? I always wear socks anyway, but are they special socks? I really have no clue.
Not unless you are on the pro team in the race.
Yes on the plugs?
I was pretty iffy on the last 4 or so, but other than that I felt like I knew most of them. Please correct me on everything I got wrong and I will reread and study specific sections.
Road bikes can't have flat bars (mtb) or bars that end facing forward or upward (TT bars, aero bars, mtb bar ends).
Crits are usually up to 2 miles long per lap, typically 0.5-1.2 miles. They can be timed or they can say it's "x number of laps".
In a dead heat in a crit they can rerun the last lap. I haven't seen that happen in the one crit I saw that ended in a dead heat. At Worlds when Taylor Phinney got 3rd he and another rider shared the podium for third. The reality is that usually a dead heat is kept a dead heat.
Free lap is void typically 8 km or 5 mi to go.
Mechanical failure justify a free lap, so a flat tire, broken saddle, etc. Things that don't justify a free lap is if you drop your chain or if you get delayed by a crash.
You're not supposed to push or otherwise assist another rider except for a particular track event. However if you are doing a polite thing (you give your teammate a small shove to give him a prime etc) then it's usually okay. Giving your teammate a slingshot is not okay.
Yes on bar plugs, your bars much be plugged when you start a race.
Socks aren't required. Your shoulders need to be covered in mass start races (TT sleeveless is okay).
You're supposed to wear your team colors or plain (manufacturer logo only) if you're not on a team/club. From Cat 2 up you have to wear matching kits. In Cat 3s and down you'll sometimes see riders on the same team wearing different versions of their kit, like last year's shorts or whatever. Cat 2 and above that's not allowed. This is to make things fair so everyone can identify someone on a given team.
Remember that whatever the official says at the line goes, supercedes the regular rule. For example at one race the official said there was a free lap rule in effect, even though the course was technically too long to have a free lap. The official knew it was too long but decided to allow it based on other circumstances.
thanks for the help :)
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