more ranting on the question of the classes...

more on the question of the classes...
earlier this week I got some gentle pokes from a dcmtb team mate about my racing in the Clydesdale Class
at times I can be thin skinned... even with my thick belly
the joke was in front of the whole team rather than one on one
I have been teased enough on this
teasing face to face is different than being teased in front of a group
I got angry at the attack
I got defensive

I got ugly... which is not far off from my default setting

I am sorry for my over reaction... but I do not think my team mate/friend knew what she was talking about

never have I thought that a Clydesdale needs to get out of the Clydesdale Class because they are too fast
I have accused some racers of being too light to race Clydesdale
but never have I accused anyone of being too fast
in fact... I have asked other fast big guys to join the Clydesdale Class in an effort to aid in bringing respect and competition to the class

let me see if I can get some thoughts out...

check out this MORE Forum started by Doug: Clydesdales are not Fat Beginners
(MORE: Mid-Atlantic Off Road Enthusiasts)

The Question of the Classes:
in a standard mountain bike race the classes are self selective
the basic breakdown begins with beginner, sport, and expert/pro
then there is the split by sex; male, female, and sometimes trans gender
then there are some fringe categories; single speed, age categories (ie 35+), and Clydesdale (200+ pounds)

most everyone starts as a beginner
your performance in your first race may direct you to another class
beginner is for beginners...
maybe not beginner riders... but at least beginner racers
true beginner riders do not need to be racing
if a person never moves up to sport... I suspect they will not continue racing
beginner is a stepping stone... there is not much to boast about in being the Series Champion
this rule of bumping up should go well for roadies transitioning to mountain who start in sport...
as a beginner... if you are dominating the beginner class you should bump up to sportCAT UP IF YOU ARE FAST

I am a dog person... I have very little love for the CAT

this would extend to the older racers new to racing as well as the larger racers new to racing...
start with beginner rather than the specific classes
there should not be a beginner class for Single Speeds or Clydesdales
the distances of these classes should be at the Sport level
the competition for these classes should be equal or greater than the top level Sport racers

if you are new to racing try the beginner class...
the course tends to be shorter and more fitting to those new to racing
if you destroy the competitors in your class... hang your head in shame... grab your prizes... and bump up to the next class

but what about those dominant in the fringe categories? should the winning Clydesdale race Expert? should the winning Men's Vet 35+ bump up to Expert? should the winning Single Speed racer move to the Expert Class?

it is hard to say
as the classes are self selecting...
it is up to the racer
perhaps it is an issue of the gap between the leader and the second place finisher should determine that
landing in first does not mean to move to a different class
in most races it is a battle between the top five
when I race Clydesdale it is always a race between the top
it is good to have a fast racer in the lead setting the pace and raising the bar
but... if they are untouchable... they should consider being in a more competitive class

there are some other things that should apply to the class self selection process...
how often do you ride? what do you ride? how expensive is your bicycle? how many bikes do you own? how long have you been riding? do you use a heart rate monitor? do you use a power tap? do you have a coach?

I personally believe that there should be some humility with the selection of gear
as cyclocross season approaches we will certainly see lots of gucci pit bikes in the C Class
someone needs to come in last... someone needs to come in first
there are not enough classes that everyone can be a winner


Jim said...

I don't like sandbaggers. A couple guys racing "C" cross last year were expert MTB'ers, I think one is maybe pro now. No frickin' excuse for that. One guy who finished near the front of the C a few times rode single speed, I think he is an Expert MTB'er but that's a bit different - much respect for him. Me, I raced SS on a 6 year-old Surly Crosscheck, I bought the frame from a roadracing teammate for $100, learned how to build the wheels, doing them over a sixer of Dogfish head at Jon S's shop. I usually finished middle to front of the last third. Taking cross more serious this year and hoping to improve the finishes by about a third, but aware of the limits of a clyde body, the same single gear setup and a 26 pound rig on hilly courses. I don't care too much - I spend 45-50 minutes absolutely redlined, try to find a pleasing flow, dice with a handful of other guys on singles and a few unfortunate souls on geared bikes in a race-within-the-race, and then drink a Hooegarden or La Chouffe and chat with rivals and watch the next race, having given everything, but taking more back in return.

Whereas if sandbag, win, and then leave, all you are getting is a little bit of money, some sorta pathetic bragging rights (like a grownup bragging they can beat a kid at pickup hoops) and maybe a swag bag. I think I'd rather have a midpack finish, a beer, and some self respect.

iconoclaSSt said...

Man, you bring a whole new meaning to the term "class war," ha.

Barnum's Dad said...


WaW Master's are Open classes for 35+ and 45+. However, many races, such as Cranky and Norba have separate Sport and Expert age classes. Most SSers are already experts, so perhaps there should be sport and expert SS classes.

gwadzilla said...


I think that Jim Harmon of the Cranky Monkey was in error splitting up the classes by age

especially Expert

Expert is a battle for KING FOR THE DAY
not young and old (king and prince)
but the fast person for the day

Jim and I spoke about this
I think we are in agreement that there should be an Expert Category
as well as a self selecting 35+ Category

NORBA is different
they may be breaking up the masses

if there are so many Single Speeders that you need to break up the classes... maybe
but I think one Single Speed Class and one Clydesdale class

I need to grab some lunch


(at the early days of Canaan there was one team always winning sport.. they never bumped up... then there were Experts on Sports teams winning at Snowshoe... Laird never punished them.... there should not be a reward for SANDBAGGING)