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Old 12-06-17, 10:17 AM   #1
Radish_legs
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How does one do become a "race mentor" for USAC race?

Trainer Road podcast talked about this, and also made a blog post. From Cat 5 to Cat 1: How USAC Road Upgrades Work

So you have to be a cat 3, and you are I assume racing in a lower level category, kind of at the back, giving instructions and encouragement. Then you have a post-race meeting.

Where are the details on how this is accomplished? I'd never heard of this before.
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Old 12-06-17, 11:26 AM   #2
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I believe race mentoring is relatively new though clinics have been around for a few years (at least since I started). My neighbor is the SoCal Association President (SCNCA) and he talked about it a bit as if it was something planned and not implemented.

I'll dig up the video he did on it and try to find the section.

When I did my clinic (in San Diego Red Trolley Course) we had 3-5 racers on the course helping us out. They were all pros, but I believe you can be a 3 and do it as well. Find a clinic promoter and volunteer your services if you're a 3.
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Old 12-06-17, 07:30 PM   #3
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I'm wondering if we could have a 3 teammate race in the 4/5 weeknight crit as a mentor. And how that gets set up.
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Old 12-06-17, 07:32 PM   #4
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I would think (hope) that the mentor would be an impartial advisor in the race. If you have a specific person in mind who has a knowledge base you respect and he happens to be on your team, that's cool. If you're thinking of it as some sort of advantage I'd suggest you might be looking at it wrong.
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Old 12-06-17, 07:46 PM   #5
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I would think (hope) that the mentor would be an impartial advisor in the race. If you have a specific person in mind who has a knowledge base you respect and he happens to be on your team, that's cool. If you're thinking of it as some sort of advantage I'd suggest you might be looking at it wrong.
Of course it's an advantage to have a mentor in the race. Giving advice, telling you what to do. Not for pulling. Someone behind you or to the side of you.

I don't think the advisor can mentor all the racers at one time.
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Old 12-06-17, 07:47 PM   #6
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You're definitely looking at it wrong.
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Old 12-06-17, 11:14 PM   #7
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The mentor is there for the benefit for all, not for teammates. If they were preferentially aiding teammates, I'd suspect their mentor career would be short lived.
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Old 12-06-17, 11:37 PM   #8
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You're definitely looking at it wrong.
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Old 12-07-17, 12:54 AM   #9
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lol at how this thread turned out

it had potential to be legit
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Old 12-07-17, 04:44 AM   #10
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CRCA does something like this with their lower level club races. To be a club member each sub team needs to perform various team duties, along with mandatory marshall duty. One of the duties is that you can mentor the lower level races (club races are A, B, C) and offer tactical and safety advice while sitting in the field.
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Old 12-07-17, 09:16 AM   #11
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It's not like Cat 3 and under racers are Jedi. Except for maybe @mattm.
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Old 12-07-17, 12:26 PM   #12
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You contact the mentor coordinator for your local association. They will explain the program and what your duties are. That will vary from LA to LA.
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Old 12-07-17, 05:46 PM   #13
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You're definitely looking at it wrong.
Yet you offer no explanation.

Say I'm a Cat 3 and my friends are interested in me mentoring them in a 4/5 race. I don't know even know anyone else in the field. I don't know anything about them. They aren't expecting or wanting anything from me.

So please do explain how the race mentor guides the entire field of 35 riders. I'd like to hear this.
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Old 12-07-17, 05:54 PM   #14
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I believe race mentoring is relatively new though clinics have been around for a few years (at least since I started). My neighbor is the SoCal Association President (SCNCA) and he talked about it a bit as if it was something planned and not implemented.

I'll dig up the video he did on it and try to find the section.

When I did my clinic (in San Diego Red Trolley Course) we had 3-5 racers on the course helping us out. They were all pros, but I believe you can be a 3 and do it as well. Find a clinic promoter and volunteer your services if you're a 3.
We don't have race clinics in the Dallas area. Having someone ride around with you in a "clinic race", that's one thing. That's fake practice race. Having a mentor in a real race is another thing. My impression from the podcast was that it could be used in a real race.
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Old 12-07-17, 05:56 PM   #15
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You contact the mentor coordinator for your local association. They will explain the program and what your duties are. That will vary from LA to LA.
done.
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Old 12-07-17, 05:57 PM   #16
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Yet you offer no explanation.

Say I'm a Cat 3 and my friends are interested in me mentoring them in a 4/5 race. I don't know even know anyone else in the field. I don't know anything about them. They aren't expecting or wanting anything from me.

So please do explain how the race mentor guides the entire field of 35 riders. I'd like to hear this.
That's fair. I'll preface this with the fact the people commenting have more talent in their left toe than I'll ever have so take it with a grain of salt. I'm sure if I'm wrong they'll probably let me know as well (which I have been many times in the past)!

Going off the ones I saw this is how it should go:

Stay well off to the side of the pack and watch. The biggest priority is safety so if a rider isn't doing something right, you correct him (or have him pull off if its bad). If everyone is riding well then you start giving advice to the riders that are doing things wrong such as spending time in the wind, leaving gaps, not cornering well.

At least that's what our mentor did in San Diego. There were also 3 of them, and it was pretty impressive that during our 'race' they were able to keep up being off to the side and in the wind while barking out advice.
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Old 12-07-17, 06:11 PM   #17
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I didn't envision it as kind of "safety policeman" of the race. Although that could be part of the job. The stuff you are talking about is pretty basic.

Maybe someone's left a gap on purpose. Maybe someone's dying legs have opened a gap. Maybe someone is on the front "too long" on purpose. Maybe there are team tactics at play.

I was thinking it was more along the lines of "this is how you win" and "this is how you maximize your placing." Telling someone when to move up in the field, how to get better sheltered from the wind. When to chase the break, when to make the break, etc.
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Old 12-07-17, 06:14 PM   #18
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Yet you offer no explanation.

Say I'm a Cat 3 and my friends are interested in me mentoring them in a 4/5 race. I don't know even know anyone else in the field. I don't know anything about them. They aren't expecting or wanting anything from me.

So please do explain how the race mentor guides the entire field of 35 riders. I'd like to hear this.
I think FF is on point.

It has nothing to do with knowing people in the field. A mentor is there to point out things to improve safety, offer some tactical advice, and point other things out, say, things that might be unique to that course or situation. This is a small step in the direction of actually making an effort that folks aren't out there without any clue at all how ride safely and act in a field. It is not a team oriented thing to improve your team's personal odds or winning. This isn't a 4/5 version of having a headset. Since it's pretty unlikely that there will be a mentor for each team (it could get pretty congested out there) impartiality is key. Since the goal is insuring safety and knowledge in the rider base there's really no reason it should be set up in a manner which favors a given group of riders. Certainly a case where the squeaky wheel will get the grease (the rider all over the road, or over lapping wheels). If it's all smooth than advice can be offered about attacking or chasing, but I figure it would be a pretty tertiary concern.
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Old 12-07-17, 06:15 PM   #19
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Maybe someone's left a gap on purpose. Maybe someone's dying legs have opened a gap. Maybe someone is on the front "too long" on purpose. Maybe there are team tactics at play.
in a 4/5 race?
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Old 12-07-17, 06:20 PM   #20
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in a 4/5 race?
It does happen from time to time. Had a 4/5 crit where 10 out of 35 riders were on the same team. And a break did win. And yes, they blocked like crazy. And they had guys chase every person who tried to bridge.

A race mentor could help a team practice its tactics better.
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Old 12-07-17, 06:57 PM   #21
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My Experience with Mentored Races

The Cat 5 races I completed that included a "mentor" were aimed at all riders, not just friends/team mates.

In other words, the race sponsor, offered the mentored race (called Beginner Race Program) to everyone. For $50 you got:

1) Pre-Race on-bike instructional clinic
2) mentored race (cost included)
3) Post-race debrief

Pre-race pep talk, on bike clinic on the course, drills, etc.

During the race, the mentors just hung back and watched. I don't recall them coaching anybody during the race. i.e. "Hey close that gap!" or "Follow that wheel!" What I did see them do was help riders that had gotten dropped by moving them out of the way as they got lapped, or helped them (if there was more than one dropped rider) organize into a group so they could work together.

Post race debrief for Q/A.

These events are worth 2 points (events) for Cat 5.
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Old 12-07-17, 08:06 PM   #22
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It does happen from time to time. Had a 4/5 crit where 10 out of 35 riders were on the same team. And a break did win. And yes, they blocked like crazy. And they had guys chase every person who tried to bridge.

A race mentor could help a team practice its tactics better.
How could a race mentor help one team practice its tactics better while being impartial to all racers?

What you're proposing makes absolutely no sense.
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Old 12-07-17, 08:41 PM   #23
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How could a race mentor help one team practice its tactics better while being impartial to all racers?

What you're proposing makes absolutely no sense.
What I envisioned was someone in the race accomplishing the same thing that a race director in a car following would do. Like having a radio. Sits in the back, maybe moves up the side from time to time to give instructions.

The example given above actually seems to include no in-race mentoring. So what's the point of having a mentor riding in the race? Not much.
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Old 12-07-17, 09:12 PM   #24
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What I envisioned was someone in the race accomplishing the same thing that a race director in a car following would do. Like having a radio. Sits in the back, maybe moves up the side from time to time to give instructions.

The example given above actually seems to include no in-race mentoring. So what's the point of having a mentor riding in the race? Not much.
I think you're mis-using the term "race mentor" - what you're talking about is not what a race mentor is, at all.
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Old 12-07-17, 09:16 PM   #25
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What I envisioned was someone in the race accomplishing the same thing that a race director in a car following would do. Like having a radio. Sits in the back, maybe moves up the side from time to time to give instructions.



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The example given above actually seems to include no in-race mentoring. So what's the point of having a mentor riding in the race? Not much.
Mentor in the race is watching the riders, watching their lines, looking for erratic behavior, etc.

This information is then relayed and discussed in the post-race briefing. You know, tactics & stuff.
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