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Tandem race question(s)

Old 09-16-09, 11:00 AM
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Murf524
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Tandem race question(s)

A local group is considering hosting a race next fall. There has been some discussion regarding about having a tandem category for Time Trial and Road Race. Other than reading about the Co-Motion Classic are there any other sources of information? Any particular pitfalls to watch out for?
The race would be in Northwest Florida and most probably utilize the Pensacola Beach for both races.
This would make the road race a draft fest since there are virtuallly no turns other than a turn-around point.
The organizers are excited and want to include categories for recumbents and hand cycles as well. I'm not sure what you do with a Rans Screamer .
The main organizer threw out the idea of starting the recumbents and tandems together. My personal opinion was this could be a disaster.
Any thoughts or insights would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Murphy
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Old 09-16-09, 02:05 PM
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Great you're doing this.

+ 1 on tandems and recumbants not being started together.

A number of races in Oregon have tandem categories. Henry at Webcyclery, https://www.webcyclery.com/home.php, is involved in organizing some of those races. I would give him a call at Webcyclery.
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Old 09-16-09, 02:28 PM
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We have competed in many USCF and non USCF tandem time trials. We have not competed in any tandem criteriums or road races. We do not plan to compete in any tandem road races or criteriums but will continue to compete in selected TTs.

Our racing club hosts a practice TT series each year and it is open to all categories including tandems and recumbents as well as teams. It is a lot of fun and we call it a training ride and not a race. At least in California, if you call an event a race then in order to get insurance, everyone must be a licensed rider and the insurance is more expensive.

At the US Nationals, there is a tandem road race and time trial. To be in the road race, the captain must be a Cat 3 racer or better. For the TT, any licensed rider can be a captain. In the USCF TTs which we compete in, there are no restrictions on the captain but I suspect if there were a road race or crit, it may be a possibility.

I cannot visualize mixing recumbent with either regular road bikes or tandems in a mass start race. I think the recumbents race together.
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Old 09-16-09, 06:51 PM
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Thanks for the input. I think sticking to the time trial is the way to go and if anyone wants a road RIDE we can provide directions or provide place to meet and the routes. I'll pass all your comments along to organizers. We have a couple hardcore recumbent riders in the area to help the barcolounger crowd. Troy rode 427 miles at the 24 hours of Sebring this year before succumbing to cramps. His goal for next year is 500 miles.
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Old 09-16-09, 07:51 PM
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In the tandem event you may need to specify some sub-categories like male/male, female/female or mixed teams. Also age category (combined ages of pilot/stoker).
Recumbent tandems could be another sub-category as would trikes (yes there's a few 3-wheeled 2 seaters around) or even triplets.
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Old 09-17-09, 07:00 AM
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Originally Posted by zonatandem View Post
In the tandem event you may need to specify some sub-categories like male/male, female/female or mixed teams. Also age category (combined ages of pilot/stoker).
Recumbent tandems could be another sub-category as would trikes (yes there's a few 3-wheeled 2 seaters around) or even triplets.
If you do decide on categories, my guess is that you will need to be fluid with them. Another sport I participate in is generally geared toward the younger crowd. When I can find a tournament that allows post high school or post college age groups, we typically find "Madison" systems. In this case it is weight based, subdivisions. I am typically the lightest but at least I get to compete against others. Much better than winning the obligatory only entrant in category gold.
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Old 09-17-09, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Murf524 View Post
Thanks for the input. I think sticking to the time trial is the way to go .
I think you'll really need to work on marketing to get much turnout. The Florida State TT championship typically draws fewer than 5 teams, if that.

Getting any sort of turnout is going to be difficult I think.


Also, if you just do a TT, it will be harder to get people to drive any distance to do it. Whereas, I think more people are willing to travel to do a road race.

Conversely, however, more tandem teams are likely to give a TT a try than do a RR.
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Old 09-17-09, 09:23 AM
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Not many tandem teams race. The turnout for sanctioned TT races that have a tandem category is low. For example the Berkeley TTT is a fabulous team event (300 teams) where most racers race as two person teams including the few that own a tandem and could race the tandem in the event. We get 6 to 8 tandems each year and we compete as an open division i.e. all ages, gender and race category. With Berkeley the exception, given the choice to race ITT versus TTT, my wife and I will choose ITT.

With respect to road races and crits, there is not enough money or other incentive to get us in a tandem race with unlicensed inexperienced captains. What's the point. You may lose an entire season or worse with a crash. And there are no upgrade points or credit for the stoker and probably not the captain either in a race. The only aspect tandem racing offers licensed racers is championship events such as state and US Nationals. I think most experienced racers will come to the same conclusion.

TTs offer a completely different risk profile and I encourage other tandem teams to try them since IMHO, they offer no more risk than riding on the road and may in fact be less since the road conditions may be more controlled. And it is a chance to work together as a team toward a goal.
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Old 09-17-09, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
I think you'll really need to work on marketing to get much turnout. The Florida State TT championship typically draws fewer than 5 teams, if that.

Getting any sort of turnout is going to be difficult I think.
+1

At the last PBP there were over 5,200 riders with approximately 150 in the "special" category. The special category also included recumbents, HPVs, one triple, tricycles and antique bicycles from all over the world. I would guess that they had fewer than 90 tandems or about 1.7%. Hence, this would indicate that with a field size of 100 riders you might get two tandems.

On PBP the first 50+- miles feels like a race with the specials, who start in a wave before the standard bikes, all running in a large bunch. All I can say is that it was crazy! A lot of crashes and a lot of jockeying for position in the rolling terrain due to the different advantages/disadvantages of the various bikes. The pouring rain, wet cobblestones, roundabouts etc. did not help. It was just nuts.

Just be aware of the fact that bikes of different wheelbases and configurations corner differently (maybe not a problem on your straight course) and mixing tandems and recumbents on the same course is dangerous in my opinion.

Good luck on your event, I hope it works out for you.
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Old 09-17-09, 01:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
With respect to road races and crits, there is not enough money or other incentive to get us in a tandem race with unlicensed inexperienced captains. What's the point. You may lose an entire season or worse with a crash. And there are no upgrade points or credit for the stoker and probably not the captain either in a race. The only aspect tandem racing offers licensed racers is championship events such as state and US Nationals. I think most experienced racers will come to the same conclusion.
Hermes,

You should try the Co-Motion Classic. Both the crit and the RR had to be the least dangerous races I've done, and much less sketchy than you average crit or RR on single bikes. In the B Race, I don't think there were any Captains that weren't at least Cat 4's. And the nature of the event and the competitors I think made everybody just a bit more careful to race safely.

I would definitely rather race against a bunch of "mature" tandem teams, than against a bunch of 18 year olds who think they're the next Armstrong.

Besides flying over rolling terrain with a bunch of fast tandem teams was a blast.
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Old 09-25-09, 12:26 PM
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We are looking forward to this one. Nice course and area, on the same results page with Armstrong. You gotta look at the opposite end of the page to find us...
https://www.tourdegruene.com/TTT/index.html
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Old 09-25-09, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by merlinextraligh View Post
Hermes,

You should try the Co-Motion Classic. Both the crit and the RR had to be the least dangerous races I've done, and much less sketchy than you average crit or RR on single bikes. In the B Race, I don't think there were any Captains that weren't at least Cat 4's. And the nature of the event and the competitors I think made everybody just a bit more careful to race safely.

I would definitely rather race against a bunch of "mature" tandem teams, than against a bunch of 18 year olds who think they're the next Armstrong.

Besides flying over rolling terrain with a bunch of fast tandem teams was a blast.
I guess I am biased from all the crashes that have occurred this year within our racing club and with other friends on other teams. The crashes have been in all categories in road, crits and track and the injuries severe beyond simple road rash and bruises - broken hip, legs, pelvis, wrenched knees, skull fracture, broken necks, collarbones and etc. I have a friend who got squeezed in a turn of a cat 3 crit and cartwheeled. He landed on his head. Luckily, he just got a concussion (Lucky????). I saw him the other day and after 6 weeks, he is now beginning to get dizzy which hopefully will go away. A very experience masters racer somehow slid in a turn going 15 mph, crashed and broke his neck. He is now fine and racing again. An experienced masters women flatted in a race. She stopped to fix her tire and decided to finish the loop of the road race. A Cat 3 peloton goes by and one of the men touches a wheel veers right and t-bones the woman. She crashes and breaks her pelvis. This is on an uphill section of the loop maybe 12 to 15 mph. Most of the people have recovered and are back to racing. However, we are all a little concerned by the events and realize that there are many things completely out of ones control when racing.

Enough about crashing....We think the Co-mo classic would be a blast and it is good to hear that the participants are experienced and try to race safe. For now, an organized tandem crit / road race is not appealing.

Thanks for the encouragement and maybe we will change our mind in the future.
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Old 09-25-09, 10:48 PM
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For an out 'n back TT it can be problematic if the road is not wide enough for an effective U-turn for tandems. We recall one such TT on a frontage road in Tucson area; we had an extremely short wheelbased tandem (60 1/4") and just managed to make the U-turn. A much younger tandem duo just behind us went off into the dirt and did not fare as well.
Agree, try the TT tandem category; less hassle and you can run a mix of tandems/riders.
We never had more than 2 or 3 tandems for our local TTs.
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