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To sandbag or not to sandbag...

Old 02-12-07, 04:04 PM
  #1  
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To sandbag or not to sandbag...

I haven't done a mass-start USCF road race in about 4 years. I haven't had a license for 11 years. I was a decent Cat 3 in Colorado in the early-mid 1990's.

Now, I'm 36, and in the best shape of my life. Much better condition than when I was a 3. I've never stopped attending occasional training races, and feel my pack skills are up-to-date. Plus I've recently done a fair amount of coaching, including an elite woman, so my experience in the pack will be an imbalance with Cat 5s.

I'm not planning on racing much (maybe 2 mass-starts each year). I don't have time to drive all over TX, or even race locally every weekend. Just too many family priorities.

Anyway, I'm doing Pace Bend RR, near Austin in two weeks. Am I a big jerk for wanting to just race Cat 5? It's first thing in the morning, so I can get back to the family at a normal time without leaving a huge hole in the day.

I could get my license and race M35+, where I'd probably consider it a personal success to finish with the pack. That doesn't bother my ego, but it's longer, and in the middle of the day, which bothers my day :-/

What to do?
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Old 02-12-07, 04:10 PM
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Talk to your local rep, I bet they'll let you get your CAT-4 license. That's what I'd do. Not quite as sketchy as the 5s, and you won't be really sandbagging.

EDIT: Also, an additional word - hubris.

Think about if you enter the CAT-5 race and get dropped or perform badly...what'd that do to your psyche? If you get dropped in a 4 or 3 race you will be able to better justify your performance
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Old 02-12-07, 04:11 PM
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Would beating the crap out of Cat5s give you any satisfaction?

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Old 02-12-07, 04:14 PM
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I don't think anyone would be the wiser if you raced the 5 but with you pack skills and training why subject yourself to possible cat 5 issues unless you plan on leading out the whole way. Although I know you can downgrade yourself to a 4 what's the time frame to renew as a cat 5? Anyone?
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Old 02-12-07, 04:16 PM
  #5  
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Originally Posted by dl613
I don't think anyone would be the wiser if you raced the 5 but with you pack skills and training why subject yourself to possible cat 5 issues unless you plan on leading out the whole way. Although I know you can downgrade yourself to a 4 what's the time frame to renew as a cat 5? Anyone?
You can't downgrade to 5.
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Old 02-12-07, 04:19 PM
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thanks for the clarity Snuff.
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Old 02-12-07, 04:21 PM
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I was in a somewhat similar position, but not in your shape. Was a 4, didn't race for a number of years. Let my license lapse, and rather than trying to renew just got a new one, and now I'm a 48 year old Cat 5.
(I'm not sure this is actually technically correct. You're not supposed to be able to downgrade to a 5. So if the USCF knows your actual situation they may make you a 4.)

I wouldn't worry about being a sandbagger if you decide to race as a Cat 5. You would bring a good influence and some valuable experience to the race. The 5's would benefit from your presence.
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Old 02-12-07, 04:21 PM
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Sandbag. You're not going to contend for points leader at the end of the season, you get your race in, and you get on with your day. If you manage to crush the field, then upgrade. If you get the bug to race every weekend, then upgrade. For one race? Sandbag.
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Old 02-12-07, 05:02 PM
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There are plenty of newbie 5's out there who have enough to worry about without someone blowing their race apart. I vote for racing the 4 race.
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Old 02-12-07, 05:03 PM
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You're not allowed to downgrade all the way to 5- check the 2006 USAC rulebook, p6. Probably not changed for 2007.
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Old 02-12-07, 05:04 PM
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I'm not a linguist, but....

You didn't say, "My skills and fitness have eroded so that I believe in fairness I belong at the level of a Cat. 5".

You said "Sandbag".

A quick Google search turned up the following descriptions of the word "Sandbag":

... to ambush...

...to deceive...

...to use crude tactics...

...to treat unfairly...

...to conceal or misrepresent in order to take advantage of...

...to hide the truth so as to gain an [unfair] advantage...

And this decision is something that you even have to ponder for more than, like, 2 seconds?

Bob
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Old 02-12-07, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by bitingduck
You're not allowed to downgrade all the way to 5- check the 2006 USAC rulebook, p6. Probably not changed for 2007.
True, but if you really wanted to you could buy a 1-day license and fill out the little form. It's not like those are screened electronically against all past license holders or anything.
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Old 02-12-07, 05:08 PM
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Originally Posted by waterrockets
I haven't done a mass-start USCF road race in about 4 years. I haven't had a license for 11 years. I was a decent Cat 3 in Colorado in the early-mid 1990's.

Now, I'm 36, and in the best shape of my life. Much better condition than when I was a 3. I've never stopped attending occasional training races, and feel my pack skills are up-to-date. Plus I've recently done a fair amount of coaching, including an elite woman, so my experience in the pack will be an imbalance with Cat 5s.

I'm not planning on racing much (maybe 2 mass-starts each year). I don't have time to drive all over TX, or even race locally every weekend. Just too many family priorities.

Anyway, I'm doing Pace Bend RR, near Austin in two weeks. Am I a big jerk for wanting to just race Cat 5? It's first thing in the morning, so I can get back to the family at a normal time without leaving a huge hole in the day.

I could get my license and race M35+, where I'd probably consider it a personal success to finish with the pack. That doesn't bother my ego, but it's longer, and in the middle of the day, which bothers my day :-/

What to do?
I know a couple of fives who will be there and might give you a run....don't worry too much about waxing the field. Still knowing our local rep Bonnie as I do she's not so keen on handing out license upgrades to guys who haven't at least done a couple of 5's races and done really well in them.
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Old 02-12-07, 05:43 PM
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I think that as a matter of ethics and sportsmanship you should race the highest category you are licensed to race in. If, after 11 years, you can still race in cat 3, then race in cat 3. You may get your butt handed to you on a platter, but you'll race better, you'll push yourself harder, and feel better about yourself in every direction than if you deliberately downgrade to a category you KNOW you really don't belong in anymore.

Are the prizes so juicy that it makes it worth it to sandbag the Cat 5 race?

Is your inner sense of integrity worth less than that prize?

The Velodrome Phoenix

I've only done one race where, due to insufficient entries, I was forced to race "downgraded" -- and I got my ass pasted by a 10-year-old little girl. But what made me so mad about that day was that because I was "racing down," I didn't race my best. I dismissed my competitor as "just a little girl," and I didn't take the race seriously at all. And as a result, I missed the opportunity to really learn something and improve my racing. I could have really RACED instead of just marking time to collect my (second place) medal. since then, I try to race as hard as I can whenever I can, and take my competitors as seriously as if it was the world championships.
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Old 02-12-07, 05:54 PM
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Signs you've been reading BF too long. I read the title as "To seatbag or not to seatbag" and thought "oh no, not again"...
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Old 02-12-07, 06:16 PM
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As a newbie Cat 5 in Texas, I vote you move up to Cat 4.
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Old 02-12-07, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by waterrockets
I haven't done a mass-start USCF road race in about 4 years. I haven't had a license for 11 years. I was a decent Cat 3 in Colorado in the early-mid 1990's.

Now, I'm 36, and in the best shape of my life. Much better condition than when I was a 3. I've never stopped attending occasional training races, and feel my pack skills are up-to-date. Plus I've recently done a fair amount of coaching, including an elite woman, so my experience in the pack will be an imbalance with Cat 5s.

I'm not planning on racing much (maybe 2 mass-starts each year). I don't have time to drive all over TX, or even race locally every weekend. Just too many family priorities.

Anyway, I'm doing Pace Bend RR, near Austin in two weeks. Am I a big jerk for wanting to just race Cat 5? It's first thing in the morning, so I can get back to the family at a normal time without leaving a huge hole in the day.

I could get my license and race M35+, where I'd probably consider it a personal success to finish with the pack. That doesn't bother my ego, but it's longer, and in the middle of the day, which bothers my day :-/

What to do?
You bring the bags, I'll bring the sand. God help those Cat 5's.
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Old 02-12-07, 06:18 PM
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i have no idea why anybody would willingly opt to race with cat 5s. do i have to post the link to hiromian's "ayah...oh no" video?
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Old 02-12-07, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by botto
i have no idea why anybody would willingly opt to race with cat 5s. do i have to post the link to hiromian's "ayah...oh no" video?
Well going from the last season to this one the Central Texas 5's had about 1/3 there crashes as the 4's and even less than the 3's. After my last race I'd say my 5's races were a hell of a lot cleaner than the 4's race I was just in. My guess is that Bonnie won't give him an upgrade due to the fact that he's been away from racing for so long. She'll want him to do 1 or 2 5's races first.
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Old 02-12-07, 07:21 PM
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Any way to consult with Bonnie on this issue?
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Old 02-12-07, 07:27 PM
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Originally Posted by waterrockets
Any way to consult with Bonnie on this issue?
I don't know about Bonnie, but Tammy says "Kill them. Kill them all."
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Old 02-12-07, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by El Diablo Rojo
I know a couple of fives who will be there and might give you a run....don't worry too much about waxing the field. Still knowing our local rep Bonnie as I do she's not so keen on handing out license upgrades to guys who haven't at least done a couple of 5's races and done really well in them.
I was waiting for Diablo Rojo chime in. He has some good advice, the 5's in Austin will give you a good run for you money. I do not think you will give the shelling you think you will to the field. Plus the race you are in, is a pretty tough race!
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Old 02-12-07, 07:28 PM
  #23  
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Don't sand bag, your not a 5. Race Masters or cat down to 4.
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Old 02-12-07, 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by DrPete
I don't know about Bonnie, but Tammy says "Kill them. Kill them all."


Bob
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Old 02-12-07, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by waterrockets
Any way to consult with Bonnie on this issue?
Waterrockets here is her bonnie.walker@txbra.org Let her know your back ground and racing resume. BTW for those doing Pace Bend the course has been reversed from last year.
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