Cross-country racing: Do the categories need a shakeup?

Posted: October 17, 2011 in 2011, General

Cross-country racing: Do the categories need a shakeup? » Bike Magic.

An interesting article but nothing new. When I was an active racer, the issue was not one of small fields/categories but more one of blatant trophy hunters. I wasn’t a slow rider, not lightning quick but not slow either, and when we were lining up for races, the fun class would often be filled with people who frequently ripped my legs off. I often wondered what I was doing in ‘sport’ when much faster guys were in fun. At the end of the day, a 2 lap race seemed much worse value for money than a three, or four lapper, even if I was dead beat at the end.

Age grouping works to an extent but, there are older riders who’d give anyone a hard time. IME age groupers of ‘a certain standard’ seem to flock together while the properly fast guys do likewise…but in a different group. I suppose you could also throw in another variable namely weight. Maybe we should adopt the US category for fatties….Clydesdales. As a life long ‘larger rider’ this would suit me down to the ground but would be equally unfair. I am not as skinny as once i was but, my body fat can’t be far off single digits.

The problem is ultimately one of organisation IMO. Unless and until mountain biking adopts the roadie licencing approach, fields are always going to be full of trophy hunters, there is no one to stop it. Licencing needn’t cost much and registration could easily be done online in a matter of minutes. Licence numbers need to be provided when you enter (in advance) or shown at sign on, for on the line entries. No licence and you get to race in fun or fun plus but are excluded from winning any prizes. It won’t happen though, and bandits will continue to inhabit the lower reaches of the sport, effectively ruining it for novices.

I may of course, be completely wrong!

  1. I totally agree. Last years Summer Enduro was classic case in point, where one in every 13 entrants was going to podium due to the large number of categories. This cannot be good for the sport. Ultimately good sport is about people of similar ability competing against each other. There is no joy in getting hammered and equally there is none in hammering (unless of coruse you have a personality disorder), but close racing agaisnt a worthy adversary, well thats a joy.

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