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  1. #1
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    Sport = Sand Baggers?

    So over in another forum I frequent, a racer posted about the problem with Sport Category is that people just sit there. They never push themselves to get any better and move up into Expert. But some of these racers could easily place in the mid pack of Expert if they did move up (he included himself in this assessment and in fact DID move up).
    So here is my question to what I assume will be a larger audience: Do you all agree that this really is a correct assessment of the situation in Sport? Is the main difference between Sport and Expert only about serious training (which is usually given as the main excuse for not moving up; "I don't want to train)? Thoughts on this?

  2. #2
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    I think it depends on the local riders. Our sport class riders would finish 15 or so minutes behind the leading Expert riders if they moved up.

    Sand Baggers can exist in all classes though.

  3. #3
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    Some race sport because the expert races are too long for them.

    Others won't buy a USAC license and have to race sport. I have seen "pro" skill level people in sport classes because of license issues.

    The rest are sandbaggers

  4. #4
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    A bit of both. We have some guys in my local series who won't upgrade because they don't want to pony up for a license. Pretty annoying, especially when they complain about it on the start and then blow the rest of the guys out.

  5. #5
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    Age old problem, Norba, now USA Cycling tried to assign a point system, that if a rider had a given number of wins or placings, they would be force to move up, this system works on the road, but for offroad, doesn't seem to work.
    Iv'e been expert/cat 1 since 1990, still see cat 2 riders that could easily finish up high in cat 1, guess they're afraid of failure.
    Cat 2 should be required to carry a license, first timers and beginners shouldn't, but you'll have those guys sandbagging also.

  6. #6
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    Is racing about using yourself or beating others? I race to see how fast I can go, other racers just give me incentive to push myself harder.

    Go as fast as you can, and who cares if others don't race to their true levels.

  7. #7
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    Age old problem. I thinks its worse in the beginner class. I can't believe how many people I see with team kits, $5000 29'ers and a copy of the training bible on the dash of their Subaru racing in beginner. To me beginners have entry level bikes and are thinking about trying out some of those fancy clip in pedals.
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  8. #8
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    My race partner for the last ultra endurance is a Cat 2, but easily runs a Cat 1 pace for upwards of 50 miles. He "can't" upgrade because the quality or quantity of races he completes do not qualify him for an upgrade. Plus he spits his time between CX and MTB. His best finish was 10th at Nationals XC last year, a top 5 is auto bump. He'd loving nothing more than to be a Cat 1 for ego reasons alone. Like many he'd rather be a non-winning Cat 1 than the fastest Cat 2.

    He is not a sand bagger. Fast guy, doesn't have issues about the licensing. But, yes, sand baggers are in every class in every sport.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by westin View Post
    He "can't" upgrade because the quality or quantity of races he completes do not qualify him for an upgrade. Plus he spits his time between CX and MTB. His best finish was 10th at Nationals XC last year, a top 5 is auto bump. He'd loving nothing more than to be a Cat 1 for ego reasons alone.
    Has he submitted a petition to USAC? Five top 5's gives you an auto-bump, but that isn't the requirement to move up. With his pedigree I'd be surprised if they don't grant him a Cat-1.

  10. #10
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    Another part of the issue in New England is that the Cat 1 races tend to be pretty empty at a lot of events. I could race 20 guys in Cat 2 or 5 in Cat 1. I'm still a Cat 2, but this is my first full year in the cat and I've been doing more road than mtb.

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    Yeah it's not that hard to get an upgrade. I just got mine using mostly collegiate races and a bunch of non sanctioned Cat2 races.

    Also to add my 2 cents. I agree with this to a point. There are several people in my local series that are consistent top 5's in sport and seem to stay there all season. I've always tried to move up as soon as I could, I get more racing for my money and better start times. I'm not expecting to do well in expert but it'll deff challenge me and provide a good workout,.

  12. #12
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    USAC is part of the problem. I petitioned to get upgraded from Cat 2 to Cat 1 a couple years ago. I had 5 top 5 finishes with 2 wins that year in an unsanctioned series where the fields were anywhere from 10-30 guys. I also placed 1st in a USAC sanctioned race that ironically had only 3 people in my age group and only two of us finished.

    The response from USAC was idiotic. If it wasn't for that one USAC race, I would have been denied an upgrade. The unsanctioned races weren't even considered even though they were more competitive.

    IMO upgrading shouldn't be an issue in mountain biking. If you want to race expert go ahead. I understand why it is important on the road side of the sport but someone without the skills doesn't create as much of a hazard for other riders in mountain biking.

    Like another poster said, Cat 1 also should have a one day license which could help stop people without a license from racing down.

  13. #13
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    I forgot. Stop giving out prizes for beginners and sports. Give them a cheap medal and tell them good job. Give money or nice prizes to experts and pro. The majority of us who race aren't doing it for prizes. A podium finish in a cat 1 race means more to me than any of the cheap prizes I received as a cat 2 or 3 racer.

    There are no categories in running events and it doesn't hurt the sport.

    The only people who get medals or awards are the top 3 overall runners for male and female and the top 3-5 runners in each age group depending on the size of the event.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by westin View Post
    My race partner for the last ultra endurance is a Cat 2, but easily runs a Cat 1 pace for upwards of 50 miles. He "can't" upgrade because the quality or quantity of races he completes do not qualify him for an upgrade. Plus he spits his time between CX and MTB. His best finish was 10th at Nationals XC last year, a top 5 is auto bump. He'd loving nothing more than to be a Cat 1 for ego reasons alone. Like many he'd rather be a non-winning Cat 1 than the fastest Cat 2.

    He is not a sand bagger. Fast guy, doesn't have issues about the licensing. But, yes, sand baggers are in every class in every sport.
    Maybe it's different for your region, but I'm guessing if he'd submit what experience he has, he'd get the upgrade. I was granted an upgrade from cat1 to Pro based on 2 tiny USA Cycling XC races (like, competing against <5 people in either one) and extensive NUE and Cyclocross experience.
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    It's pretty ridiculous that you even have to petition to move up to cat 1, maybe pro, but not cat 1. I moved up in 1990, even though I won and had high placing in cat 2(sport) I moved myself up, it was difficult at first, really just had to get used to the longer distances, but the quality of the riders were so much better. I believe part of the problem to be is licensing, cat 2 should be required to carry a license, but USA Cycling, should make having a license more worth while. They used to let you have either a road license or off road license and have the other for $10 more, used to have a monthly magazine that featured amateurs and amateur races, now it's take your $60 and don't do crap for the amateurs, everything goes to the pros.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by westin View Post
    My race partner for the last ultra endurance is a Cat 2, but easily runs a Cat 1 pace for upwards of 50 miles. He "can't" upgrade because the quality or quantity of races he completes do not qualify him for an upgrade. Plus he spits his time between CX and MTB. His best finish was 10th at Nationals XC last year, a top 5 is auto bump. He'd loving nothing more than to be a Cat 1 for ego reasons alone. Like many he'd rather be a non-winning Cat 1 than the fastest Cat 2.

    He is not a sand bagger. Fast guy, doesn't have issues about the licensing. But, yes, sand baggers are in every class in every sport.
    It is so easy to get a Cat 1 upgrade that I find this hard to believe. If he hasn't emailed his race resume in to USAC with a formal request then he should, as it's very unlikely he won't be upgraded.

    But my guess is that he hasn't requested an upgrade formally, or he'd have one.

  17. #17
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    In Canada the upgrade to cat 1(expert) to cat 2(sport) is really tough. We are licensed and the fields are close to 50 guys. On any given race there are a bunch of guys that could win. You have to earn points based on placing to be upgraded. So there are tons of guys that get close every year and then don't race any more so they don't get upgraded. These guys are sandbaggers. They don't want the additional mileage or speed or the risk of getting pounded. We also don't separate in age categories except for at Provincials where we then aren't separated by CATs. All in all it means that our expert and elite cats are small and sport turns into the dumping ground for everyone else.

  18. #18
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    In Colorado, (it seems that) the top of the Cat 2 Sport Classes can overlap the middle of the Cat 1 Expert classes regularly. Personally, I have no problem with this... as long as the racers that are on the podium week in and week out move up the following season. If they don't, well...

    As for some "beginners" being sandbaggers... in $5k bikes, etc... is a Cat 3 Beginner a beginner cyclist or a beginner racer? As long as they haven't pinned a number on more than once or twice, they can enter a beginner race no matter how there fitness is... and crush the field. Good on them! But after doing that a few times... if they stay in the Cat 3s, they are sandbaggers.

    Consider: the quality of the Cat 1 field top to bottom is going to be substantially better than the Cat 2 field (where the top half is going to be fast and the quality of racing good, but the bottom half, quite a step backwards). The racers at front of the Cat 2 races are constantly having to deal with the back of the class in front of them, and there is not too much experience at the back of the field. It's a PITA. A Cat 1 race is just so much smoother, with the entire field moving along at a more similar pace.

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  19. #19
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    Where I race I see sandbaggers but I also see lots of guys racing a cat up in sport. It seems that they don't want to be labeled a "beginner" or the beginner course is too short so they race sport instead. Combine this with sport riders that are too nervous to move to expert because the expert field has lots of near-pros racing and this leaves a wide range of abilities together in sport. I realize that this is amateur racing but it seems that we could use another intermediate level category, an uber-noob catagory, or encourage people to stay in beginner longer.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by westin View Post
    Like many he'd rather be a non-winning Cat 1 than the fastest Cat 2.
    Unless your in the PSE class there IS sandbagging in EVERY class there are guys that could race in the PSE class however stay in the CAT 1/Expert class forever.

    Here in Texas and our TMBRA series where we have quite large CAT1/Expert 40-49 class and have to split the CAT2/Sport into 40-44 and 45-49 just to accommodate everyone.

    What you will notice and what other have stated is that more often than not the "winner" of the CAT2/Sport class would be pack fodder in the CAT1/Expert class

    I've known folks who have moved back down to CAT2/Sport just because they didn't enjoy racing/riding for "blownteenth" and next to DFL in CAT1/Expert and would rather get their ego boosted racing for top 5 in CAT2/Sport and have no qualms about it either.

    Yeah life was good back when i was racing CAT2/Sport eons ago (see profile pix and note 26" wheels Ha!) and riding away from everyone just minutes after the start and seeing how many back markers in other classes you could catch. Well...after so many top five finishes i got my automatic upgrade to race with the "big boys"

    Talk about a b*tchslap of reality even when I training my butt off had a coach and was 30lbs lighter best i could muster was a top ten finish and a hand full of top teens in my new CAT1/Expert class.

    Talk about a recipe for burnout!

    However as easy as it would be to ask for a down grade and hit the reset button I'd take more pride into getting motivated again, getting back into shape and losing 30lbs and setting some goals of having a better time in CAT1/Expert than winning a CAT2/Sport race again.

    That's my 2˘ worth

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by jlmuncie View Post
    I realize that this is amateur racing but it seems that we could use another intermediate level category, an uber-noob catagory, or encourage people to stay in beginner longer.
    Here in Oregon, starting this year, OBRA has broken mountain biking down into four categories, Cat 1, Cat 2, Cat 3, and Beginner to mirror what we have going on in the cross races. The beginner classes are pretty small at the races, but they are really truly beginners.

  22. #22
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    I am a mid-pack CAT 2 guy and I decided to race endurance (3 hour) class this year. I think all of the divisions are pretty silly, especially with getting a medal because you were one of three people in your age group and division to show up and race. I feel that in reality you should compare yourself to everyone who showed up and raced, and not to just people in your age group or division. The endurance race still has super fast (CAT 1) guys as long with some pretty slow people, but the start isn't as sketchy as a CAT 2 race where everyone is going crazy fast in a huge group with some only having mediocre skills.

  23. #23
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    I know a guy who never podiumed one time as a Cat 2 and somehow he lines up with us in the Cat 1 field to finish last every race. What kind of "______bagger" is this.. LOL

    I was always under the impression that you had to earn your stripes sorta thing...

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by rydbyk View Post
    I know a guy who never podiumed one time as a Cat 2 and somehow he lines up with us in the Cat 1 field to finish last every race. What kind of "______bagger" is this.. LOL

    I was always under the impression that you had to earn your stripes sorta thing...
    Hey I resemble that remark!

    It's FIVE top FIVE'S and you get an automatic upgrade here in Texas.

    And yes it IS possible to be upgraded and never stand on the podium.

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  25. #25
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    I don't think another category is needed. In the last XC race that I did there were 8 pro men, 35 Experts, 65 Sport Riders and 15 Beginners. I would like to see the race series do away with age groups with the exception of U23 and 50+. Then if the goal was to have equal numbers in each group the top 20 Experts become Pros, The top 15 Sport riders become experts and the bottom 15 become Beginners. With all the age groups its just too many categories.
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  26. #26
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    Our local weekly race series has the four category grouping (no SS or age classes):
    Beginner; Intermediate (Just like it sounds; not a beginner, but not super fast either); Advanced Men (Pretty fast and more distance, but not the big leagues); Open (Fit and fast). For the most part, this seems like a good system and the organizers make it clear they will upgrade you if they think you're sandbagging (and have done so).

    I've been doing the Advanced category and usually I'm in the top 25% and would be last or near last in the Open. One guy in the Advanced was winning easily every time, disappearing off down the trail in the first 10 minutes of the 60 to 90 minute race. I asked a mutual friend why he wasn't doing the Open category and he responded "Yeah, he's fast but he can't go long". The Open races were typically another lap, approximately 25 to 33% more time/distance. And it was true -- at the local endurance race I was an hour faster (6 hours). Also, my wife reported in the shorter races that his lead was biggest about midway through the race, and shrank towards the end. Sometimes finding the right category is not about speed or skills, sometimes it's about the distance.
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  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pedalfaraway View Post
    I don't think another category is needed. In the last XC race that I did there were 8 pro men, 35 Experts, 65 Sport Riders and 15 Beginners. I would like to see the race series do away with age groups with the exception of U23 and 50+. Then if the goal was to have equal numbers in each group the top 20 Experts become Pros, The top 15 Sport riders become experts and the bottom 15 become Beginners. With all the age groups its just too many categories.
    Eh - depends on your area really. If we did that in TX, we'd have massive groups. For example, here are the numbers for the men in a recent race:

    Pro/Cat1: 32

    Expert 19-29: 8
    Expert 30-39: 25
    Expert 40-49: 25
    Expert total: 58

    Sport 19-29: 16
    Sport 30-34: 20
    Sport 35-39: 20
    Sport 40-44: 20
    sport 45-49: 24
    Sport totals: 100

    Beginner 19-29: 26
    Beginner 30-39: 43
    Beginner 40-49: 38
    Beginner totals: 107

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeT View Post
    Our local weekly race series has the four category grouping (no SS or age classes):
    Beginner; Intermediate (Just like it sounds; not a beginner, but not super fast either); Advanced Men (Pretty fast and more distance, but not the big leagues); Open (Fit and fast). For the most part, this seems like a good system and the organizers make it clear they will upgrade you if they think you're sandbagging (and have done so).

    I've been doing the Advanced category and usually I'm in the top 25% and would be last or near last in the Open. One guy in the Advanced was winning easily every time, disappearing off down the trail in the first 10 minutes of the 60 to 90 minute race. I asked a mutual friend why he wasn't doing the Open category and he responded "Yeah, he's fast but he can't go long". The Open races were typically another lap, approximately 25 to 33% more time/distance. And it was true -- at the local endurance race I was an hour faster (6 hours). Also, my wife reported in the shorter races that his lead was biggest about midway through the race, and shrank towards the end. Sometimes finding the right category is not about speed or skills, sometimes it's about the distance.
    Sounds like he needs to up his endurance training then. Not being able to do the longer distance at this point isn't really a reason to let them sit around beating everyone else. I'd move him up. He'll get more distance, and eventually get strong enough to do it.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by PeT View Post
    Our local weekly race series has the four category grouping (no SS or age classes):
    Beginner; Intermediate (Just like it sounds; not a beginner, but not super fast either); Advanced Men (Pretty fast and more distance, but not the big leagues); Open (Fit and fast). For the most part, this seems like a good system and the organizers make it clear they will upgrade you if they think you're sandbagging (and have done so).

    I've been doing the Advanced category and usually I'm in the top 25% and would be last or near last in the Open. One guy in the Advanced was winning easily every time, disappearing off down the trail in the first 10 minutes of the 60 to 90 minute race. I asked a mutual friend why he wasn't doing the Open category and he responded "Yeah, he's fast but he can't go long". The Open races were typically another lap, approximately 25 to 33% more time/distance. And it was true -- at the local endurance race I was an hour faster (6 hours). Also, my wife reported in the shorter races that his lead was biggest about midway through the race, and shrank towards the end. Sometimes finding the right category is not about speed or skills, sometimes it's about the distance.
    Unfortunately, they don't do the classes like that for women, which sucks. I get that there are less entries, but only having Beginner, Intermediate, and Open leave a lot of us girls in limbo. I really did like how they matched the men's classes at the Gowdy Grinder, I feel it helped the women's field accurately spread out more vs. having open-level women riding along with fairly new riders in an intermediate class.

    I do agree that race length comes into play. I know several people that want to stay Cat 3 for the shorter race distances. It can often be a very big leap between Cat 3 to 2, or to 1 in distance. It's one thing to hammer for 8 miles, another for 30.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by fontarin View Post
    Eh - depends on your area really. If we did that in TX, we'd have massive groups.
    Same here in our local South Florida race series.. Just our 30-39 sport class has 50 racers. No age classes and youd have a starting field in sport of no less than 100 racers.

  31. #31
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    I've actually enjoyed some small but competitive unclassed races just as much or more than the bigger classed races. The problem I see where I live now (I'd have upgraded to expert had I not moved last year) is that I'm in the top 25% of the 40+ sport group, but would be near last in the 40+ expert group. The gap is huge.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by fontarin View Post
    Eh - depends on your area really. If we did that in TX, we'd have massive groups. For example, here are the numbers for the men in a recent race:

    Pro/Cat1: 32

    Expert 19-29: 8
    Expert 30-39: 25
    Expert 40-49: 25
    Expert total: 58

    Sport 19-29: 16
    Sport 30-34: 20
    Sport 35-39: 20
    Sport 40-44: 20
    sport 45-49: 24
    Sport totals: 100

    Beginner 19-29: 26
    Beginner 30-39: 43
    Beginner 40-49: 38
    Beginner totals: 107
    What? Nobody 50 and over racing in Texas?

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    Quote Originally Posted by BruceBrown View Post
    What? Nobody 50 and over racing in Texas?
    The poster I was replying to said with the exception of U23 and 50+, so I left those out.

  34. #34
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    I think those totals like like great start numbers. I honestly think that racing against 100 people is way more fun than racing against 25. What's nice about it is that you never end up in no mans land, it's usually head to head against somebody with the larger start numbers. I agree that the age groups should go away...are they relevant anyway? You really want to be racing against people your skill level, regardless of age.

    Quote Originally Posted by fontarin View Post
    Eh - depends on your area really. If we did that in TX, we'd have massive groups. For example, here are the numbers for the men in a recent race:

    Pro/Cat1: 32

    Expert 19-29: 8
    Expert 30-39: 25
    Expert 40-49: 25
    Expert total: 58

    Sport 19-29: 16
    Sport 30-34: 20
    Sport 35-39: 20
    Sport 40-44: 20
    sport 45-49: 24
    Sport totals: 100

    Beginner 19-29: 26
    Beginner 30-39: 43
    Beginner 40-49: 38
    Beginner totals: 107

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by brentos View Post
    I think those totals like like great start numbers. I honestly think that racing against 100 people is way more fun than racing against 25.
    We have a Marathon series here in Texas if you want to race with 100+ people all at once.

    Personally I despise the mass start or even the le mans type of start because your always going to get caught up behind someone much much slower and it clogs up the entire trail for miles.

    Way back when they have had sport classes in Texas that would have 90+ racers line up if you were called up 70th no matter how you try and schooch your way up further your screwed before the race even starts.

    The gun goes off and if your on the 8th row by the time your clipped and rolling the top ten are 200 yards down the trail at top speed exactly how much fun is it trying to fight your way 50 or 60 other racers with another 30 to 40 bearing down on you in a long bike conga line in the singletrack?

    this isn't road racing with a nice roll out start this is mtb racing with a sprint start.

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    I would rather start with a field of 100 then 10 fields of 10.

    In a race where the pros have 40 minute lap times they are halfway done with their first lap before the last group even leaves the start line. This means the pro riders are lapping more then half of the riders in the race.

    In my sport races the first lap is very hectic. I start catching the slowest riders from the field in front 5-10 min into the race, and the fastest riders from the group behind start catching me around the same time. If we killed the age group, and just started as a field of 100 people would sort themselves out and after the first 10 min of the race there would be much less passing. I have done a number of races that have a prologue lap on wide dirt roads or even pavement to get things sorted before hitting the trail. Also the start would not take so long so the pros would not lap as many riders.
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    I have been in races where they do mass starts but score the different groups separately. This works well when the individual groups are small.

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    If you wanted to do a mass start, you'd need to keep track of all the riders to do fair call-ups or row placements (like in the UCI races - the people who start in back are pretty much screwed, but they can move up rows by getting better placings through the series) It's much easier with a field of 40 to call the top 10 for the series. I'd rather pass slower riders from other groups than to have to try to work my way up for 30-40th in the singletrack and have to pass 20ish other riders from the start.

    For groups with like 10 people in each category, I can see combining some. The fall series in Texas in previous years has had stuff like that (19-39 on lower turnout races). If you're getting 20-30+ per category though, I'd prefer to just keep it the way it is and not make it so reliant on getting good placement at the start.

    I think this will vary by geography too. In Texas, we have very few sustained uphills to start on. Most of our starting loops are fairly flat or have a short uphill then are flat/downhill. If we had a 1 mile climb to sort people out at the start, I can see having larger groups.

  39. #39
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    Anyone who "wins" a lesser category when they should be upgrading is absolutely pathetic. There's no excuse, if you can't "afford" to upgrade your license then you can't afford to race. They're nothing but glory hunters. Blaming not upgrading on not having the endurance to ride the next category is even more pathetic. The irony is that they can't let go of that "win" they're able to get in sport/open or whatever, yet the last placed rider in the next category is ahead of them by default, since they're in a higher category. Grow some balls.

  40. #40
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    Utah is clearly in a different arena since there are zero sanctioned races here. Utah takes pride in telling USAC where to go. So the petitioning isn't a problem here. But there are no automatic Cat bumps either. It's basically on the honor system. either a guy moves up where they are ready or they get told to after people in the field complain. Sport regularly has a guy winning by 10 minutes or more who disappeared within the first mile. I don't think the distance is an real issue. Are you fast or not? That's the question. The main reason why guys don't bump up here are: I don't want to train. I don't want to be in the bottom half of expert and I only do a couple races each year. All these excuses are moot IMO. Are you fast or not?
    I look at the breakdown like this:
    Beginner-Just figuring this out. Trying to loose my beer/couch gut. I can't warm up or I get too tired.
    Sport-I can beat the beginners and I don't feel like I'm going to die at the faster pace. Warming up helps.
    Expert-I know what I am doing and I am fast. I warm up by doing a pre-lap or jumping on the training in the parking lot.
    Pro-Bring it. Any type of race. I warmed up by doing a 50 this morning.

  41. #41
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    Ok...new thought to this;
    I am noticing guys who had raced in Expert the previous season that are now showing up in sport. Usually cause, "I haven't trained". Cool or not cool?

  42. #42
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    Cool if they finish off the podium and get beat by real Sports.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimPacNW View Post
    Cool if they finish off the podium and get beat by real Sports.
    I'd have to agree... I've seen this in my local series this year as well. People who use to do intermediate and raced lower in beginner due to fitness issues. Injuries, fitness, life can all factor in.

  44. #44
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    My 2 cents.
    If you are serious and want to be a cat 1 move up, and you should be the only class to get any prizes.
    However, at lot of sport guys 20 - 40 years old have families and can't devote their lives to riding a bike 12+ hours a week. I am competitive in sport and train about 7 hours a week and maybe 9 hours a week on holiday weekends, if I trained more than that I would have to sell my $5K bike to pay the divorce lawyer. I am strong at 20 miles but that is it, if I had to go 30 miles I could not do it because of the amount of time I can devote to training. All of the guys from my class that have had to move up in the last two years simply stopped racing. I have asked several of them what happened and they all say the same thing, they don't have time to train for Cat 1 with family and jobs. From a purely competitive stand point it seams you should move up. However from a reality standpoint being forced / asked to move up kills the sport of mountain bike racing in sport class. However, I think beginners should move up after a few podiums. Think about how competitive the sport class would be if the 6 or so fastest riders were still there from the past several year, there would be a different winner every week I bet you the same guys would not be on the podium every week.
    I just think some of you should think about racing from the view point of the reality of life, families and jobs and not like we are all pro racers.

  45. #45
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    Sport = Sand Baggers?

    Since practically none of us will ever earn a living doing this, lets not forget it's all about FUN.
    Who cares what others are doing, race to race and enjoy the fact that at this point in your life you are awesome. And that there are so many people who couldn't ever do a tenth of what we all do on bikes every weekend.

    In the end, the only person who will remember your race is you! Race for the memories you will exgerate to your grand kids in 30 years. And the memories that will make you smile 25 years later (me right now)

    Bill

  46. #46
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    RD's should be more diligent in booting people up (or out). Sandbagging is cowardly and bad for the sport and purposefully discourages other participants.

  47. #47
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    Open Class for Sport Riders

    Ok, I have been thinking about this for a day or two and here is my solution.

    Make a new Sport Open Category

    When the time comes to have to move from sport to Cat 1 give the riders the option to go into Cat 1 or a Sport Open Class that has no age limits but still races the sport distances. This open class will put all the people that want to stay in sport due to family and work obligations in the same highly competitive class. This solves several problems with the current class structures.
    1. It frees up age based sport classes for the up and coming riders to have a chance to compete and keeps them from filling cheated by people they think are sand baggers.
    2. Gives riders that want to move up to Cat 1 the option to do so
    3. Riders that don't have the time commitments for Cat 1 can continue to have fun and compete with other riders without being forced out of the sport.

    In the end it all boils down to a business decision for USA Cycling and the local promoter. By adding this class you keep more riders happy and coming back to races thus collecting more entry fees and making more money.

  48. #48
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    Why not just make all Cat 2 racers do the same distance as Cat 1? It certainly doesn't take 10+ hours/week of training to be able to race for < 2 hours at a time.

    Why is distance an issue at all? I know plenty of Cat 2 XC racers who do 6- and 12-hour racing (team and solo), and marathon-type racing as well. The distance isn't an issue there...

    Adding more classes won't help anyone, unless the Cat 2 fields are already too big to be manageable. We need less classes, not more.

  49. #49
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    I've talked to race organizers about distance and how sometimes it seems arbitrary. I was told that they often pick class distances based on how long they expect each class to take to complete the specific distance. They base the course or number of laps on this time so that the expected time between the first finisher and last finisher is within a certain period, say one hour so that the organizers can plan for awards ceremonies, food service, trail closure times, volunteer times, etc. Of course not all organizers are same but this is what I was told.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by peteuga View Post
    Ok, I have been thinking about this for a day or two and here is my solution.

    Make a new Sport Open Category

    When the time comes to have to move from sport to Cat 1 give the riders the option to go into Cat 1 or a Sport Open Class that has no age limits but still races the sport distances. This open class will put all the people that want to stay in sport due to family and work obligations in the same highly competitive class. This solves several problems with the current class structures.
    1. It frees up age based sport classes for the up and coming riders to have a chance to compete and keeps them from filling cheated by people they think are sand baggers.
    2. Gives riders that want to move up to Cat 1 the option to do so
    3. Riders that don't have the time commitments for Cat 1 can continue to have fun and compete with other riders without being forced out of the sport.

    In the end it all boils down to a business decision for USA Cycling and the local promoter. By adding this class you keep more riders happy and coming back to races thus collecting more entry fees and making more money.
    This is exactly what we have here in Indiana...our DINO series. First wave is Pro/Elite, 2nd is Cat 1, right after that is Cat 2 Open, then the Cat 2 age groups start in their waves. Cat 2 Open does seem to work...though there have been seasons where it seems like guys who really shouldn't be there were signing up just to avoid traffic. But this year the Open guys really are finishing at the front of the Cat 2 class.

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