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Is amateur racing legit?

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Old 10-11-18, 02:57 AM
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Teamprovicycle
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Is amateur racing legit?

im just wondering , in america we have usa cycling that is basically the only , or at least the most popular organization , im not sure if they are connected to uci but they still register along side uci events . im curious as to how much " cheating " goes on in amateur race events . from what ive seen you don't even have to use your real name , a person could show up to an even in cat 5-1 , with a needle sticking out his or her butt cheeks , with a hidden motor bike , race as Adolf Hitler , and no one would ever check , i guess there is a protest period , but does that mean a rider will be forced to drug test . do uci register riders have to pass drug tests and get their bikes inspected before races .

when does a rider have to start passing USADA or what ever they are called screenings , to compete ???
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Old 10-11-18, 04:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Teamprovicycle View Post
im just wondering , in america we have usa cycling that is basically the only , or at least the most popular organization , im not sure if they are connected to uci but they still register along side uci events . im curious as to how much " cheating " goes on in amateur race events . from what ive seen you don't even have to use your real name , a person could show up to an even in cat 5-1 , with a needle sticking out his or her butt cheeks , with a hidden motor bike , race as Adolf Hitler , and no one would ever check , i guess there is a protest period , but does that mean a rider will be forced to drug test . do uci register riders have to pass drug tests and get their bikes inspected before races .

when does a rider have to start passing USADA or what ever they are called screenings , to compete ???


paging @Doge

You ask a wide array of questions. No, one can not show up with a syringe hanging out of their butt check and race. It would be uncomfortable to sit on the the saddle for one. Testing happens at select events only, typically unannounced, and off tips to the USADA hot line. You do not have to have a drug test to compete, though it's possible you might be tested at some point.

I've seen tons of cheating in the vein of guys cutting courses and taking free laps where there aren't free laps. Using parts of the road not allowed (i.e. over the yellow line). Sometimes they're relegated, often not. I do know a guy who had an international license of one category and a domestic of another and would race under both. He was eventually caught and suspended.

Equipment probably gets more complicated.

All said, sure guys cheat. But really it's american cycling. You could win a pro crit and 12 people would care. Most of them related to you or on your team.

Is it legit though? You go hard and get a great workout. The real question is what are you looking for?
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Old 10-11-18, 06:32 AM
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USAC openly sends emails to members about their target and to-date drug testing numbers, and catches of people.

The only RR I've ever done, they were checking photo ID at the sign in tent. In the US, that means government issued ID. Also meaning, if you're that intent on cheating an amateur bike race, you're willing to pretty much commit a US felony in obtaining illegal ID just to race a bike as a low level schmuck.

As for motors? Nobody at that low level in the US really cares THAT much like some rich Frenchman would put a motor on their bike. Catch the reference there?

Point is, it's low enough level in the 3/4/5 for lots of local things that cheating would be pretty pitiful.

Is it legit? Yes it's legit. They have motorbike escort with time-gap board, people blocking intersections, post results/standings online, etc.....

If anything, I'd say the 4/5 field has some "bloat" of folks who don't race often (like me) and don't accumulate points to advance. But, accumulate fitness. So, sometimes a 4/5 race can be as difficult as a Cat 3 race. Just one lap less.

Most 3/4/5's are going to be in the same local hammer group rides and you'll see them monthly and have a beer afterwards together. So you know them.
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Old 10-11-18, 07:25 AM
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I'm not really sure what the context of the question is, but yes, I believe it's legit.

There's a governing body, USAC; a license system based on experience and accomplishment; local associations, that do something, I can't remember what; races that are organized with a promoter, with licensed officials; and teams, with athletes that participate in said events. There are also national championship events for elite level and age graded (masters, juniors) administered by USAC.

gsteinb described the majority of cheating that goes on, which I concur with in my experience and observations. I've known more than one athlete who's been caught doping and was suspended from racing, and I've been tested myself after a local championship criterium where I finished 7th (they tested 1st and 2nd place, then me. the usada had decided prior to the race that they were testing 1st, 2nd, and they pulled a # from a hat to arrive at 7th. I can't imagine I was targeted given that my results scream pack fodder, but targeted testing based on "tips" is rumored to occur).

International licenses have created issues. My understanding is that someone with an international license, in the absence of a USAC license, is automatically supposed to be a Cat 1. But, I've seen guys with international licenses go outside the local association area and do lower cat (3/4) races for $$. Eventually they get caught and blackballed, but it can take a while.

Any race I've done, participants need to show their racing license at registration to participate. In local races, where the community isnt that large and everyone kind of knows each other, license checking doesnt always happen because it's not necessary.

I can't imagine there's much equipment cheating going on, and I honestly believe that actual performance enhancing drug use is de minimus in the sport at the US amateur level.
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Old 10-11-18, 10:54 AM
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Hammer time
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Old 10-11-18, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by MDcatV View Post
International licenses have created issues. My understanding is that someone with an international license, in the absence of a USAC license, is automatically supposed to be a Cat 1. But, I've seen guys with international licenses go outside the local association area and do lower cat (3/4) races for $$. Eventually they get caught and blackballed, but it can take a while.
Honest question out of ignorance.........there are 3/4 races with enough prize money to even justify your gas money and Motel 6 stay?

I thought most Cat 3/4/5 race prize money was in the ballpark of gas money within 100 miles and a meal and snack. The one's I've seen on USAC local to me anyway.

That'd be a horrible motivating factor to down-cat. Unless you want some jangle around your neck and a cool picture.

Now, in golf, I've seen guys sandbag a $60 entry fee at local tournament to the tune of like $250. I haven't seen a $190 prize for first in a Cat 3 race around here. When I played golf in HS, I could make enough "money" in a couple local country club tournaments each year to pay for some balls, tees, gloves, new shoes, and other yearly consumables. It was in credits to the club, not cash, but I'd buy either what I needed or I'd buy stuff with excellent re-sale and then sell it to buddies.
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Old 10-11-18, 12:04 PM
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Seems like most of the dopers caught by USADA are masters bike racers, so draw your own inference.
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Old 10-11-18, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
Honest question out of ignorance.........there are 3/4 races with enough prize money to even justify your gas money and Motel 6 stay?

I thought most Cat 3/4/5 race prize money was in the ballpark of gas money within 100 miles and a meal and snack. The one's I've seen on USAC local to me anyway.


That'd be a horrible motivating factor to down-cat. Unless you want some jangle around your neck and a cool picture.

Now, in golf, I've seen guys sandbag a $60 entry fee at local tournament to the tune of like $250. I haven't seen a $190 prize for first in a Cat 3 race around here. When I played golf in HS, I could make enough "money" in a couple local country club tournaments each year to pay for some balls, tees, gloves, new shoes, and other yearly consumables. It was in credits to the club, not cash, but I'd buy either what I needed or I'd buy stuff with excellent re-sale and then sell it to buddies.
from the DC area, there are races in Richmond or Va Beach VA, Central/Eastern PA, and S. Jersey, that all have very different regulars racing them, and are all within a couple of hours drive so no motel 6 involved. The cost benefit analysis doesn't seem to add up to me but it must to some people.
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Old 10-11-18, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
Seems like most of the dopers caught by USADA are masters bike racers, so draw your own inference.

everything about that is statistically dubious.
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Old 10-11-18, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
Seems like most of the dopers caught by USADA are masters bike racers, so draw your own inference.
It appears to me that most dopers sanctioned by USADA do not race bicycles. Mixed martial arts seems to get a lot as well as weight lifting and track and field. https://www.usada.org/testing/results/sanctions/ With respect to bike racers getting sanctioned for doping, most recently it is more masters racers. My conclusion is masters racers are less smart than elites. Or there are a lot more masters racers racing than elites such that the percentages for masters and elites are similar.

My favorite sanction is Lochte, Ryan olympic swimmer who received 14 months for receiving an IV. He posted a pic of himself on Facebook getting an IV at one of those IV places. IVs are allowed by USADA as long as the amount infused is less than 50 ml or administered in an ER / hospital and of course most IVs are more than 50 ml.. It was a vitamin IV but that does not matter. It could have been saline.
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Old 10-11-18, 04:09 PM
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Given how few tests there are, and how many racers cross a start line it’s probably hard to draw any useful conclusions.
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Old 10-15-18, 06:36 PM
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Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
All said, sure guys cheat. But really it's american cycling. You could win a pro crit and 12 people would care.
You're totally exaggerating that number just to feel good. It's far lower. Dare I say 1 or 2 if you count yourself oftentimes.

I went to USA Cycling a few weeks back to attend the Local Association Conference (Currently President of Illinois's LA). While there we got a full on dose of the talk from USADA and USA C. Derek BHall covered some of it in his remarks. I even wrote down his quote: "Our worst offenders are Masters men who are taking testosterone and (either steroids or corticosteroids?)."

They did something like 230 tests last year alone. That's a lot. They have pledged to do more and more and more. Here in Illinois (Chicagoland area for the most part) we have had them test multiple times a year.

In general I despise when masters racers complain about this stuff, especially because they are the largest group of cheaters. It's not going away. It will not lessen either. There are a lot of sanctions that are coming down. We only hear about the ones that are finished with arbitration. We were told that there are still cases in arbitration that are year(s) old. Those too will eventually come to light.

Oh and we were asked to share with all promoters to keep an eye out for racers that show and then ditch when they find out that USADA is there. We were told that the "rat a rider out" drop a dime phone line is 100% used to help target riders for testing and that all reports are investigated more thoroughly than we would think. "If we show up to test - it isn't because of some random reason. We have a reason to be there and we are going to be sure that the riders we want to test are going to be selected for testing among the other random riders tested."

Personally I disagree with cheating. None of us can say that testing is the only way to fight cheating or even if it's the best way but doing nothing isn't an option and currently this is a method that is widely accepted and funded.
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Old 10-15-18, 06:43 PM
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As for payouts I have personally worked for years to eliminate payouts for every field except the top men's and women's fields in races. I have been successful in that. We eliminated all payouts except for the top ones about 2-3 years ago for all of our races. I have been trying to convince Schuler to kill payouts for Intelligentsia and Tour of America's Dairyland. This season we finally killed the payouts except top ones in the Chicago Cyclocross Cup series (huge series with 500-1000 racers every weekend from August-December).
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Old 10-15-18, 07:41 PM
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
Honest question out of ignorance.........there are 3/4 races with enough prize money to even justify your gas money and Motel 6 stay?

I thought most Cat 3/4/5 race prize money was in the ballpark of gas money within 100 miles and a meal and snack. The one's I've seen on USAC local to me anyway.

That'd be a horrible motivating factor to down-cat. Unless you want some jangle around your neck and a cool picture.

Now, in golf, I've seen guys sandbag a $60 entry fee at local tournament to the tune of like $250. I haven't seen a $190 prize for first in a Cat 3 race around here. When I played golf in HS, I could make enough "money" in a couple local country club tournaments each year to pay for some balls, tees, gloves, new shoes, and other yearly consumables. It was in credits to the club, not cash, but I'd buy either what I needed or I'd buy stuff with excellent re-sale and then sell it to buddies.
I've been in too many races to count where I finished 3rd in the Cat 1 and got a smaller payout than the Cat 3 winner - usually a "sprinter" who wouldn't make it tot the line with the front group in 9 out of 10 Cat 1 races.
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Old 10-15-18, 10:51 PM
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so then what is the point of usa cycling because there is no other organization out there running events, if i want to race i have to go through them , as well as the event hosts , if a person just wants to compete they cant, they have to jump through hoops and pay money to be a racer , its kind of pointless , im having a hard time mentally finding a reason to get excited for an event knowing im just going to spend cash to get really not much rewards , i mean i get a piece of paper and 4 free pins , but damn could i get a headband or a key chain , it all seems like a scam where a bunch of people just do it to do it , and the usa cycling gets lots of free money and power ..
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Old 10-16-18, 04:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Psimet2001 View Post
As for payouts I have personally worked for years to eliminate payouts for every field except the top men's and women's fields in races. I have been successful in that. We eliminated all payouts except for the top ones about 2-3 years ago for all of our races. I have been trying to convince Schuler to kill payouts for Intelligentsia and Tour of America's Dairyland. This season we finally killed the payouts except top ones in the Chicago Cyclocross Cup series (huge series with 500-1000 racers every weekend from August-December).
It's funny because in New England there are guys working for the exact opposite. Masters threaten boycotts of races without payouts. For me, I've given up mass start stuff and am focusing on racing that costs more, and gives out tee shirts and on a good day medals. I'm tired of worrying some jerk off with 100 pounds on my is going to hook me in a sprint for the $40 check. I've had way too many surgeries.

As for the doping, a couple years back a guy missed at test at a NJ crit. It was the state championships, but he was doing a non championship masters race. He (claims) to have flatted, and as it was a corporate park he took the shortest route to his car and split. I have heard of promoters / folks trying to get him before he drove off. He got two years. He was back this year, raced TTs (primarily Eddy class) where he routinely beat me. He did one funny bike bike (state TT) where he won the 40 or 45+ (I forget which bracket he races). When it happened I was on the side of things where it seemed it could be an honest mistake. Racing against him regularly I now think he was probably dirty. Funny the way the mind works.

I needed a lecture from a statistician for me to understand at what point the results become relevant. I'm happy when guys I've raced against get popped, but there is so little of it (hell they did they even test at masters track nationals this year?) the evidence all seems anecdotal.
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Old 10-16-18, 06:35 AM
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Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
It's funny because in New England there are guys working for the exact opposite. Masters threaten boycotts of races without payouts. For me, I've given up mass start stuff and am focusing on racing that costs more, and gives out tee shirts and on a good day medals. I'm tired of worrying some jerk off with 100 pounds on my is going to hook me in a sprint for the $40 check. I've had way too many surgeries.

As for the doping, a couple years back a guy missed at test at a NJ crit. It was the state championships, but he was doing a non championship masters race. He (claims) to have flatted, and as it was a corporate park he took the shortest route to his car and split. I have heard of promoters / folks trying to get him before he drove off. He got two years. He was back this year, raced TTs (primarily Eddy class) where he routinely beat me. He did one funny bike bike (state TT) where he won the 40 or 45+ (I forget which bracket he races). When it happened I was on the side of things where it seemed it could be an honest mistake. Racing against him regularly I now think he was probably dirty. Funny the way the mind works.

I needed a lecture from a statistician for me to understand at what point the results become relevant. I'm happy when guys I've raced against get popped, but there is so little of it (hell they did they even test at masters track nationals this year?) the evidence all seems anecdotal.
On the boycott bit - I call that the great “Masters Bluff”. We had a couple of local teams imply the same thing. I believe they skipped the first year. Then they came back.

I have always seen it like this: I was putting on 3/5’s of our Illinois cup series - if they wanted to be the “best masters racer in Illinois” they had to show up. There aren’t enough actual races left to boycott - they’re only screwing themselves by missing one of the handful of races left on the calendar.

.....and finally and most importantly- racing a bicycle is an self-absorbed ego driven endeavor. They couldn’t stand NOT racing. As soon as the races happened they forgot there wasn’t a payout. Precedent set.

In reality there here is always a vocal minority of masters racers that get upset about no payouts. They are usually the ones that were winning those payouts. The rest of the field never cared (they didn’t win them anyway). So if you pull the payouts and the “top” guys don’t show then it gives the rest of the field a chance to win - which they love. Those top guys end up either coming back immediately (because they hate the idea that whatshisname won) or they become a footnote to amateur racing and we all move on.

Seriously there are no ends to the positives of eliminating them.

Oooooo.... and if they totally disappeared then you can move that time slot into having/adding a masters women’s race!
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Old 10-16-18, 06:36 AM
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Originally Posted by gsteinb View Post
(hell they did they even test at masters track nationals this year?) the evidence all seems anecdotal.
They did test at Masters Nationals. They had monitors following racers after almost every event, and I know several people who had to pee in a cup.

Sometimes, I wonder why bother with the Masters. Sure, they're the worst offenders, but does it really matter. It's masters racing.
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Old 10-16-18, 06:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Teamprovicycle View Post
so then what is the point of usa cycling because there is no other organization out there running events, if i want to race i have to go through them , as well as the event hosts , if a person just wants to compete they cant, they have to jump through hoops and pay money to be a racer , its kind of pointless , im having a hard time mentally finding a reason to get excited for an event knowing im just going to spend cash to get really not much rewards , i mean i get a piece of paper and 4 free pins , but damn could i get a headband or a key chain , it all seems like a scam where a bunch of people just do it to do it , and the usa cycling gets lots of free money and power ..
Bicycle races are incredibly expensive to put on, and they do not generate the participation numbers that running or triathlon events do. That's why you often don't get a t-shirt. I really wish that USAC had not stopped requiring all clubs to put on events, because there are a lot of people who have no clue how much work and cost is required to put on a race.

And you can look up USAC's finances online. They aren't rolling in it. A lot of the money that goes to USAC from racing fees goes to insurance coverage of racers. USAC pays out a lot to insure riders who are injured in crashes. Masters and Juniors nationals cover the costs of pro and elite nationals. (Pro Nationals loses money every year.)
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Old 10-16-18, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by topflightpro View Post
Sometimes, I wonder why bother with the Masters. Sure, they're the worst offenders, but does it really matter. It's masters racing.
Is “young guy” racing more significant? Does it matter more? Young amateur men is the most “important” demographic in bike racing? Or perhaps young men & women are the ones whose fields are important? I mean, here in the States we’re talking about amateur racers with essentially zero hope of turning pro, right? I’m just curious as to how you define in your mind whose races matter.

#askingforafriend

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Old 10-16-18, 08:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Heathpack View Post


Is “young guy” racing more significant? Does it matter more? Young amateur men is the most “important” demographic in bike racing? Or perhaps young men & women are the ones whose fields are important? I mean, here in the States we’re talking about amateur racers with essentially zero hope of turning pro, right? I’m just curious as to how you define in your mind whose races matter.

#askingforafriend

As a masters racer, I am mostly referring to the fact that it is just recreational amateur racing. Kind of like beer-league hockey, which I also used to play.

I guess it matters at big events where national and world champions are crowned.
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Old 10-16-18, 10:29 AM
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Why would you mix amateur payouts and race fees with pro/sponsor level stuff anyway? Or is the P/1/2 still low enough level that it is actually amateur.

I mean, it's either pro or it is amateur. I'm not understanding the concept of paying out more the higher the level if there is a "split" between pro and amateur.

Again, it's what I knew growing up, but with golf in the amateur field of adults the money split is actually usually based on the field size IN YOUR GROUP. So, if the championship flight field is only 5 guys, yeahhhh. You don't get "pro" payout at any tournaments with amateurs involved, unless it's an "open" event and they qualified.

I'd play in 1st or championship flight and get like 5th and get $200 to the pro-shop. The guy winning the last flight with a score of 92 often got more money. Just the way amateur payouts are done in golf.

It appears the payouts aren't vastly different in amateur cycling.

If you don't have something shiny for the hands or around the neck, and a few peanuts for a snack on the way home.........doesn't matter the amateur sport......if there's nothing on the line at all, people won't show up.
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Old 10-16-18, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by topflightpro View Post
As a masters racer, I am mostly referring to the fact that it is just recreational amateur racing. Kind of like beer-league hockey, which I also used to play.

I guess it matters at big events where national and world champions are crowned.
Well its racing. The core concept in a race is that you're competing in something with the idea of trying to win. Obviously people go race for a variety of reasons and not everyone cares about winning, or has a chance of winning. But still it you're calling it a race, you should attempt to organize it such that there is fair and reasonable competition. That means women's fields, or age graded fields, rules and a reasonable attempt to enforce them. Or just don't have races and make everything group rides or comparing yourself to others on Strava,

Bike racing could do itself a big favor IMO but worrying a little less about the "significance" of somebody's race field. If they're out there racing, its important- to them. In the grand scheme, not very important, sure. But, why even have bike races if we're worried about the global significance of them? Treat everyone's fields like its important, because it is- that's what the sport is comprised of. You want lots and lots of people to come out and go racing, that's what makes it viable.
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Old 10-16-18, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep View Post
Why would you mix amateur payouts and race fees with pro/sponsor level stuff anyway? Or is the P/1/2 still low enough level that it is actually amateur.

I mean, it's either pro or it is amateur. I'm not understanding the concept of paying out more the higher the level if there is a "split" between pro and amateur.

Again, it's what I knew growing up, but with golf in the amateur field of adults the money split is actually usually based on the field size IN YOUR GROUP. So, if the championship flight field is only 5 guys, yeahhhh. You don't get "pro" payout at any tournaments with amateurs involved, unless it's an "open" event and they qualified.

I'd play in 1st or championship flight and get like 5th and get $200 to the pro-shop. The guy winning the last flight with a score of 92 often got more money. Just the way amateur payouts are done in golf.

It appears the payouts aren't vastly different in amateur cycling.

If you don't have something shiny for the hands or around the neck, and a few peanuts for a snack on the way home.........doesn't matter the amateur sport......if there's nothing on the line at all, people won't show up.
The time commitment being competitive in a p/1/2 field requires is much higher than the other categories. The fastest riders in the p/1/2 field might only be working part time so they can focus on making cycling the center of their universe. You get a mixture of actual pros and amateurs trying to go pro. That prize money comes in handy for both.
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Old 10-16-18, 11:00 AM
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Gotcha.

So, it's difficult to be competitive and move up to the pro ranks if you aren't rewarded for the efforts to make it worth your while. That makes sense. Lots of money involved in travelling, hardware, etc...
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