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Combining Fields

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Old 07-12-18, 04:57 AM
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Poonjabby
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Combining Fields

We has a local Crit that every year combines the womenís 1/2/3 field with the menís 60+ field. They gap the start and obviously score them separately. Last year there were 8 men and 9 women. In 2016, there were 9 men and 8 women. So, very small fields.

Iíve raced it this way two years now and have never felt like it was unsafe or that the combined fields influenced the outcome of the race in anyway. I race womenís cat 3. However, many of the local women are upset by the combined field saying itís unfair and punishes women. But I can see why with such small fields why the promoter does it.

What are your thoughts?
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Old 07-12-18, 05:37 AM
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I don't think there should be races with fields of less than 10, personally, and they should combine fields more often.

I realize it's one thing to say that as someone stronger in a field versus someone weaker in a field, but at the same time you're being scored separately so if someone in your field is strong enough to ride away with someone in another field, then that's sort of your problem anyway.

With all that said, though, I'm not sure about combining women's fields with men's, regardless of their field size. I'd want to combine men's 60+ with another master's field and just let all the women race together, but again, I'm in neither of those fields so...
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Old 07-12-18, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Poonjabby View Post
We has a local Crit that every year combines the women’s 1/2/3 field with the men’s 60+ field. They gap the start and obviously score them separately. Last year there were 8 men and 9 women. In 2016, there were 9 men and 8 women. So, very small fields.

I’ve raced it this way two years now and have never felt like it was unsafe or that the combined fields influenced the outcome of the race in anyway. I race women’s cat 3. However, many of the local women are upset by the combined field saying it’s unfair and punishes women. But I can see why with such small fields why the promoter does it.

What are your thoughts?
If they gap the start, then it isn't really like a combined field. It is just two separate races sharing a course. However, if they really combine the field, such that the mens 60+ and W123 start at the same time, and can thus draft off each other, then it changes any race strategy that the women might have gone in with. To win, the women need to get in the mix with the men. The strategy then is to ride the men's wheels until you are off the front of the rest of the women's field. Then you don't need to do any more work. You can sit in the "break" and let the distance grow while the rest of the women's field needs to furiously try to bridge to the men that are dragging you to finish line... this is much more difficult than bridging to a break of only women, where the women are actually needing to work to make the break stick.

Note that the men's race dynamic doesn't really change in a field combined with women. The men race the men regardless of whether they started with women or not.
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Old 07-12-18, 02:48 PM
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Here the promoters have started saying if there are not at least 10 in W1/2/3 they will be combined with the Cat 3 men. Some hate it, but the fastest women like it saying it's better preparation for bigger races than just riding away from a few other ladies.
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Old 07-12-18, 03:09 PM
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Race day is a long day so anything to shorten that time works for me. The first things that get cut out are 3's, or Masters 3/4/5 races which typically have good representation.
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Old 07-12-18, 05:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Enthalpic View Post
Here the promoters have started saying if there are not at least 10 in W1/2/3 they will be combined with the Cat 3 men. Some hate it, but the fastest women like it saying it's better preparation for bigger races than just riding away from a few other ladies.
Where are you from?
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Old 07-12-18, 05:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Poonjabby View Post


Where are you from?
Alberta, Canada
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Old 07-12-18, 05:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Enthalpic View Post
Alberta, Canada
So, go to Alberta, and the old Geezers can ride with the hot young babes? Unless they embarrass one.

You said "gap start", so I assume the rules discourage mixing pelotons. So, they are just using the same course at the same time. Nonetheless, there likely is some passing happening on a short course.

So, I could imagine it could be annoying passing the slower riders

How many races do they run? How long does each race last?

I think if I was doing it, I'd try to match rider performance, and then mix pelotons with a single mass start, unless it is as special national qualification race like state finals.
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Old 07-12-18, 05:47 PM
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Old 07-12-18, 06:35 PM
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The problem with this is there are times when there are multiple races in the same field, and no way to distinguish who is who. I lost a race to TKP's coach back in the day because I was racing against him and the 35+ guys, while another guy in the break was seemingly dying. Only he knew he and I were in the 45+ race and I was only concerned with winning the race. I got attacked and countered and down the stretch I lost the battle. And then this guy outsprinted me for the 45+ win.

The NYS and NJS state RR were actually the same race, and then had 40+ and 50+ combined. So they were pulling four separate races from one field. Gets confusing in hurry from a tactical perspective.

In NYC it's been standard issue to combine masters and women, but it never works very well. I hate to sound sexist, but so it goes, they mostly get in the way, and in the case were pretty sketchy. One women ended my buddies career causing a crash that shattered his elbow. It, of course, could happen in any number of ways (I have two surgeries caused by men, and one by my own ineptitude!) but in his case it happened that way and left a psychological mark. Issue is the courses aren't selective so they can sit in and then just tend to get in the way. Rotate up but not pull through...stuff like that.
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Old 07-13-18, 11:36 AM
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I think combining men and women's fields at least make it easy to determine the people you're not racing. But that's about the only benefit.
Are you a woman in the lead pack and a dude attacks? If no woman follows, simply ignore it and enjoy the draft of the group pulling it back.

In the example given, it's much more likely the W1/2s are attacking and the 60+ men are watching it go. In P vs P, the men are likely faster. But I'm not sure how often that's true when it's W/P/1/2 vs M60+. Hell, WP/1/2 are probably faster than most M4/5s and some 3s.

I can see why promoters do it. Larger fields mean more drama, more racing, and allows them to get more fields in a shorter amount of time. Meaning shorter duration of closed roads, less corner marshal time, less Police fees, etc.
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Old 07-15-18, 08:32 PM
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In one of my crits, with a pretty technical course, I jumped off the front with about 40 seconds left in the race. To my chagrin a woman was slowly going right through the apex of the turn as I arrived. I lost time because of it. It didn't make a difference because I still won. But it could have made the difference between first and second, or getting caught or not. It was just bad luck. But that can also happen in races were they don't pull dropped riders.
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