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Timid kids, cross race, and ideas on what to do....too old for "fun lap"

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Timid kids, cross race, and ideas on what to do....too old for "fun lap"

Old 09-10-21, 08:17 AM
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Timid kids, cross race, and ideas on what to do....too old for "fun lap"

Just looking for ideas or opinions what to do.

My kids are 8 and 10 and both a bit timid. I signed them up for the free 5 or 8min kid's lap at the local cross race. The director emailed to ask me to move them to the junior field. I did sign them both up for free USAC under my account so they could sign up for the 5 to 8min race. The director said for the first race a group comp'd the entry fees.

That's fine, but really, my kids aren't fit enough and don't own bikes of a style they're going to enjoy lining up for a 30min race. They have heavy kid's mountain bike things, have to push a good amount on a few of the little rises, take a good bit to figure how to get a bike over a barrier when I bring my practice ones out, etc......... I can usually get a jog workout lap in easy at the pace they ride the practice course at.

I had told them they're coming with me to this event. Now don't know what to do.

Knowing my kids I know they would not be down for suddenly lining up with the local light bmx bikes that do this routinely I don't know what to do.

Maybe ask when they take the tape down and bring them back before they do and just ride as a family with the tape up?

I just feel they aren't there yet to get in the junior race. I'd have to tell them just to bow out under the tape when they're "done" and I come find them and walk them back. Which feels stinky.

I can't find any fault on the part of the race here, is what it is. Just wondering how you would handle this or how your local area handles "in betweener" kids too old for push-bike laps but not ready for a 30min junior entry.
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Old 09-10-21, 08:59 AM
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I'd probably just have them line up with the Juniors field and tell them they don't have to do the full 30 mins if they don't want to. Maybe just do a single lap? They'll get a DNF, but if they cared about that you wouldn't be asking.

The juniors in my series are broken into two groups. There's a 9-14y.o. field that is 2 laps only, with a 30(ish) minute time limit. Some of the younger kids on street bikes and first timers go slow and only do a single lap, and the older kids on cross bikes will go full-gas and do 2 laps in 15 mins.

The race director is likely bound by USAC rules on this. USAC defines juniors as 9+, and "youth" as younger than 9. This is based on "racing age" so your 8 year old might actually have a racing age of 9 and therefore be required to race in the juniors category. The 10 year old should definitely be racing in juniors.

Even if the kiddo race is an informal thing, if it's happening at an otherwise USAC sanctioned event they're probably bound by USAC rules.
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Old 09-10-21, 09:05 AM
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Explain the situation back to the race director.

Or maybe beg the 8yo into the kids race and leave the 10yo to get dusted and see the cool bikes and get a taste of racing?
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Old 09-10-21, 09:15 AM
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Thanks both!

I think what I'll do is with there being routine weeknight meetups is see if I can rally some other folks I know perhaps in a similar situation to do a "kids lap" at weeknight cross practice.

And build them up to doing a full lap.

When I take them to where I practice and setup, I show them the route and such and just tell them "if you get tired, ride over to the car and sit in our chairs". Whereas in a race, there are spectators everywhere just outside the tape and the tape might not be setup in a way for them to abandon easily in parts of the course and get back to me or the car.

That's my primary concern. Having a kid need to abandon without finishing a lap and needing to navigate a zoo of spectators and tape and not be able to get back.

The older kid? Yeah, I can see it being a poop or get off the pot moment. Either go more often to practice with me and do the junior race OR don't do it. I totally can see that.

The younger one? I may beg the case there. I mean, the "race age" thing is by a month due to birthday timing and he's also always been in the lowest 10th percentile for height his whole life.

FWIW......ripping a lap on good conditions at this place for me is like 6:45. 6:45 is me ripping a workout hot lap even, not multiples in a race. So, given my kids are 4x slower they're pushing ever finishing a lap given the course's length. I doubt they would.
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Old 09-10-21, 09:31 AM
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I don't know how your series works, but at mine there is usually a 10-15 min period between each race where we have "open course" time throughout the day. Anyone can jump in ride during these times (even people not registered for the race) - so this might also be a chance to let the kids try out some of the course and pull off wherever they want.

As for riding at the end of the day, our last race ends around 4:30-4:45pm, so the teardown of the course is usually starting immediately after in order to get everything packed up before the sun goes down. This is more of a problem later in the season. That said, no one would care if 8-10y.o. kids were riding part of the track during this time, they just might not have barriers or tape in some areas. The track will be well worn by the end of the day so they could take advantage of early season daylight and still ride the course.

You could also probably take them out to the course the following day and still follow most of it even after the tape is all down - if you waned to just practice with them a bit and gain some confidence.
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Old 09-10-21, 10:33 AM
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I think I may just do the warmup thing with them. Get there early enough to catch the break between more than one race and follow them around for one of them, then warmup myself the other open period.

One implication of accepting the free junior race they're doing for race 1 is I would have to buy them a number and not forget that as well. I mean that's cheap, just one extra thing I wouldn't have planned on.

I realize juniors exist all over that can finish either the laps in the time limit OR go for the whole time limit. But if it were me I would open a piece of tape across part of the course for the youngest age bracket to loop them back to keep their lap about as long as an adult lap is. Using just a third of the adult course if you will. If that was it, I'd just have them do it.
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Old 09-10-21, 10:53 AM
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep

I realize juniors exist all over that can finish either the laps in the time limit OR go for the whole time limit. But if it were me I would open a piece of tape across part of the course for the youngest age bracket to loop them back to keep their lap about as long as an adult lap is. Using just a third of the adult course if you will. If that was it, I'd just have them do it.
This is one of those things that is simple in practice, but when USAC is involved it's a lot more complicated. You have to consider that there are juniors also competing for points and call-ups for Regionals and Nationals, etc - maybe not at your race, but at others, and once you start letting some kids cut the course and not others it gets messy.
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Old 09-10-21, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by msu2001la
This is one of those things that is simple in practice, but when USAC is involved it's a lot more complicated. You have to consider that there are juniors also competing for points and call-ups for Regionals and Nationals, etc - maybe not at your race, but at others, and once you start letting some kids cut the course and not others it gets messy.
Oh no. I meant all kids in same race do same shorter than adults lap. Like juniors do the 1/2mi loop and adults the 1.5mi loop. Just thinking out loud. Just ignore. We’ll figure it out.
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Old 09-13-21, 07:05 AM
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Both kids went in the 30min. Younger did 2 laps. Older quit after one.

They chose to start both the youngest age group and the doggone 12 to 14 year olds on course at the same time. They let the older off first. Then there was a solid delay to getting the youngest group off.

So, the older group starts lapping the youngest group on first half of the younger group's first lap. A teen ran into my older kid and knocked him down good. Then he wanted to quit. I mean, the youngest group was doing like 6mph and the oldest kid group was doing like twice that. The older group probably could finish mid or front 1/3 pack in the adult 4/5 race.

Needless to say that might be it for this experiment for him. We'll see.
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Old 09-13-21, 07:20 AM
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What tyres did they use? you may be able to save a bit of weight and reduce the rolling resistance which helps.
With my daugther, I got her of a cycling training plan that involved ice cream... I wanted to see her physical limitation, not the mental one hence the ice cream rewards that added some determination. Then I tailored the bike to her need and where possible, everything swapped bit is pink... on gravel, she runs 47x406 mtb tyres. on tarmac, she's on 35-406 kojaks... gearing is customised to her abilities...

racing on tarmac is fine for her, she loves speed... going down a bumpy rocky hill, nope, we are not there yet.
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Old 09-13-21, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep
Both kids went in the 30min. Younger did 2 laps. Older quit after one.

They chose to start both the youngest age group and the doggone 12 to 14 year olds on course at the same time. They let the older off first. Then there was a solid delay to getting the youngest group off.

So, the older group starts lapping the youngest group on first half of the younger group's first lap. A teen ran into my older kid and knocked him down good. Then he wanted to quit. I mean, the youngest group was doing like 6mph and the oldest kid group was doing like twice that. The older group probably could finish mid or front 1/3 pack in the adult 4/5 race.

Needless to say that might be it for this experiment for him. We'll see.
Glad to hear that your kids got out and gave it a try. Bummer about the crash. I'm not surprised to hear that a few of the 12-14 year olds are lapping everyone right off the bell. Hopefully a parent or coach talked to that teen about better passing technique when it comes to younger lapped riders.
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Old 09-13-21, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by msu2001la
Glad to hear that your kids got out and gave it a try. Bummer about the crash. I'm not surprised to hear that a few of the 12-14 year olds are lapping everyone right off the bell. Hopefully a parent or coach talked to that teen about better passing technique when it comes to younger lapped riders.
No idea. I jogged from viewable area to area to monitor their progress. Going back to other area it felt a bit too long for the older one. Then he rolled past crying.

Still, easier crashing there than on a paved greenway or cul de sac IMO. I crash probably once per practice and once every other race. I don't get to race as much as I want to, so there is no "long game" points chasing. I'm after podium or nothing.

I may try them again at the lower pressure Christmas event. Ain't nobody going for points or upgrades or series wins there.

Either way, the oldest's bike is such a POS even the bike race hating wife suggested we do something about it. It's one of those bomb proof disposable Specialized kid's mountain bikes with a front shock. So we'll see. Maybe fix that, have him keep coming with me to practice. Then try again later when everything at home has cooled off.
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Old 09-14-21, 09:32 AM
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep
So, the older group starts lapping the youngest group on first half of the younger group's first lap. A teen ran into my older kid and knocked him down good. Then he wanted to quit. I mean, the youngest group was doing like 6mph and the oldest kid group was doing like twice that. The older group probably could finish mid or front 1/3 pack in the adult 4/5 race.
yeah, I was worried about that. It can be such a sh*t show with beginners - half the group thinks they are a hot shot and will run you off the course shortly before they blow up.

I figured one lap would be plenty for them. Glad they got out there and tried it. Your best bet is probably to rally people to bring there kids to a race and do a 12 and under or something. Doing a lap with dad between races might work too.

And yep, the non UCI races I go to are a lot more laid back and fun. Shoot, we often hand out shots on every lap. I loved it when my friend brought it grandfather's Schwinn Tandem to the race - they had more fun than anyone!
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Old 09-26-21, 08:07 AM
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Originally Posted by burnthesheep
Just looking for ideas or opinions what to do.

My kids are 8 and 10 and both a bit timid. I signed them up for the free 5 or 8min kid's lap at the local cross race. The director emailed to ask me to move them to the junior field. I did sign them both up for free USAC under my account so they could sign up for the 5 to 8min race. The director said for the first race a group comp'd the entry fees.

That's fine, but really, my kids aren't fit enough and don't own bikes of a style they're going to enjoy lining up for a 30min race. They have heavy kid's mountain bike things, have to push a good amount on a few of the little rises, take a good bit to figure how to get a bike over a barrier when I bring my practice ones out, etc......... I can usually get a jog workout lap in easy at the pace they ride the practice course at.

I had told them they're coming with me to this event. Now don't know what to do.

Knowing my kids I know they would not be down for suddenly lining up with the local light bmx bikes that do this routinely I don't know what to do.

Maybe ask when they take the tape down and bring them back before they do and just ride as a family with the tape up?

I just feel they aren't there yet to get in the junior race. I'd have to tell them just to bow out under the tape when they're "done" and I come find them and walk them back. Which feels stinky.

I can't find any fault on the part of the race here, is what it is. Just wondering how you would handle this or how your local area handles "in betweener" kids too old for push-bike laps but not ready for a 30min junior entry.
Where are you racing? My kids are getting involved and would like to meet up with other kids as well. We're racing the NJ, CT, eastern most PA and Hudson Valley but only on Saturdays. Have to work Sundays.
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Old 09-27-21, 11:03 AM
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Just as another point of reference, one of our local races here in Chicago yesterday had 29 kids in the Juniors 9-14 field. The winner did 2 laps in 14:12. That pace would've been good enough for 2nd place in the Men's Cat 4 race.

There were 3 kids at the tail end who only got one lap in. The winner had lapped them twice before they finished. Most of the kids who did 2 laps had times around 18-22mins.

There's just a huge gap between a 9-10y.o's. doing their first races and a 14 year old who's done a few dozen races.
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