I just feel like I need to weigh in on this issue in some form or another. I like donuts. 'nuff said.
While there were close to 40 in the 3/4 field less than 15 were cat 4 and again cat 3 women still have the opportunity to race so it's only the cat 4 women that have been impacted, that is why I singled out their participation numbers. How is it unfair to base attendance expectations on past year numbers...what else should be used? Why would you ask a promoter to assume that this year will be so different...so many more cat 4 women will show up than ever before even though there has been a consistently low turnout? Cat 3 women can still race, will it be easy? No. But that does not mean it can't be done. Were all of the local women's team consulted? No they weren't, and clearly that's something to consider in the future, but that does not change the fact that based on the number of participants this race has not historically been a big draw for entry level women. So why is it so unreasonable to try something different for one year? Yes I understand that it gave more opportunities to some men while it took away from some women and that this imbalance is unacceptable to some people, point taken.
In terms of what message is sent to women...I would like to send a very clear message to every woman and girl on the sidelines...LGBRC will always support women's racing at all levels through its' various events. I hope you watch the women 1/2/3 at Cat's Hill and walk away inspired to race just as I did years ago after watching it with my daughter. I can't guarantee your participation as a cat 4 woman at Cat's Hill, but if your goal is to race it, then LGBRC will help you train hard, encourage you to race alot at great entry level venues such as Menlo Park, Ronde van Brisbeen, Coyote Creek, Timpani to name a few, and attend the Early Bird series where we mentor to build your skills and fitness so you can reach your racing goals.
From NCNCA pages and Cat's Hill archives
Starting Field sizes
Cat 4 Women Cat 5 Men
1995 11 50
1996 12 35
1997 11 finishers 23 finishers (starters not recorded that year)
1998 16 43
1999 15 50
2000 15 (3/4 combo) 28
2001 23 (3/4 combo) 49
2002 23 (3/4 combo) 41
2003 20 31
2004 36 (3/4 combo) 50
2005 49 (3/4 combo) 50
2006 37 (3/4 combo) 50
I apologize for the method the numbers appear on screen - I don;t know the secret web language to place the columns properly
Taking Warren's latest comment with respect - If you can't afford to buy a whole race, why couldn't interested Women competitors buy an individual category in a race? With advance commitment from participants, lots is possible. You become the sponsor. There are a heap of events for the balance of the year where categories haven't been announced - and they might jump at the chance to schedule your category if they have you as a sponsor - buy the field and invite your buds! You could see this as an opportunity.
Grandpa always said' "You don't have to got to Reno to gamble" - you can take the risk from promoters by advance commitments of your fellow competitors and in my opinion I think you'd have some takers.
Tom Simpson - Pilarcitos Cyclesports
The season is long here because the weather encourages it. We have more riders than any other region so it's natural that we have so many races that want to minimize conflict with other races that we spread them out over 10 months.
Promoting clubs are helping the sport when they put on events, but it also has to generate some profit to allow the event to go on, and protect their treasury from years when bad weather or a conflict with another race may result in a loss for that year. And clubs use their events to raise money to reimburse riders for their entry fees.
It's inflation. You charge me $25 to do your race so I have to charge you at least the same at mine so I can help pay your entry fee. And if my race has at least a few catgories that cost more than they generate then somebody has to pay for that. Who is it going to be?
The number of women riders at Cat's Hill has not grown. Look at the results at NCNCA.org going back to 1995. Men's categories have grown, and are sometimes at their field limits-especially the cat 5's who have never had "tiny" fields.
It is not so much "adding another race for masters" as it is adding another race that can now be attended by riders who didn't attend in the past. A 45 year-old cat 3,4 has no chance at all to be competitive with the 35+ 123's on the Cat's Hill course, and the elite fields are already full or near full as it is, so many riders have stayed home in the past. And who wants to say that the new masters field won't be significantly larger than the field it replaced?
Don't assume that just because 10-20 women have shown up for a race every year that the promoter will continue to take a loss on that event at their race. Instead, YOU reach out to the promoter before the race events are decided and offer to subsidize the race to make it more feasible. Promises of x number of riders attending are not as reliable as dollars in advance.
The hard truth is that if the promoters will continue to subsidize the women's races that lose money at their event there needs to be some compensation in some way. Or maybe the promoters' continued charity is taken for granted?
Maybe the women riders should be volunteering at the events where the women's fields operate at a financial loss, or help the riders in other categories who's entry fees subsidize the women's races that lose money. Or the women's events can have higher entry fees to balance out the cost/expense of their races to equal that of the other races at the event?
And finally, from this discussion it appears that the women's races that are less likely to lose money at an event are the ones on easy courses, and that hard courses will almost always result in small fields that lose money.
Take things for granted and there is always the option of adding another field that won't lose money and will attract more riders to the event.
(Please don't shoot the messenger.)
Hi, Jen --
Thanks for your response. I appreciate hearing from someone involved in the organizational side. I'm sorry that some of the responses you've received have been disrespectful, but I am glad that LGBRC is hearing from people who don't agree with the decision. Despite being a woman who IS eligible to race Cat's Hill, I am still disappointed about the way this decision was made. I really feel that it's bad for the sport (and not just the women's side of the sport), when the beginning women's categories are left out. I, too, consider myself a newcomer to the sport, but I still feel a responsibility to speak up when I see something that doesn't seem right to me.
When promoters completely remove a beginning women's category, eliminating one entire category of racers from racing, while certain other categories have several choices about races they can do, it upsets me. When the justification for doing so is that not enough beginning women were showing up almost ten years ago, or last year for a combined category, it sounds like the easy way out. Even though I've only been in the sport for a couple of years, I've heard many racers and promoters discuss the removal of women's categories because not enough women show up without considering other factors like combined fields or high entry fees. Last year as a cat 3 I paid $40 to race for ten laps maximum. If I'd been a cat 4, I probably wouldn't have wanted to pay that much to take on a combined field on such a tough course and for such a short race. I don't think it's necessarily fair to base the decision to eliminate category 4 women on the number who showed up to race last year (or in the late 90s, for that matter). Also, for the record, Barry has sent emails explicitly stating that he would not put on the race if it only broke even, so while I'm sure it is a labor of love for the volunteers, per the race director himself money is definitely a priority (as for most races).
Last year the promoter of the Burlingame crit claimed to be eliminating all beginning categories when they dropped the category 4 women. While there was no men's cat 5 race, there were open categories where cat 5 men over a certain age could race. I wrote the promoter a letter explaining why I would not race in their race, just as I wrote a letter to LGBRC this year. Of course the promoters can do whatever they want at their race, but they shouldn't be surprised to hear from the racers who are affected.
Also, I want to mention that I don't get upset when the pro/1/2 categories of either gender are left out. Why? Many reasons. Because typically if they are left out there is a legitimate reason; for example, the Menlo Park crit provides an alternative for lower-category racers while the NRC-level CVC race features higher-category races this weekend. I'm not traveling to CVC but I'm still going to race Menlo Park (with the men cat 3), because I appreciate what they're doing for development and I want to support that, and because I recognize that I wouldn't have been able to upgrade as quickly as I've been able to without the separate-category races that they are trying to provide for beginning women. The Zamora road race cut their men P/1/2 road race to make way for a women's 4 road race. On the same weekend, the Sequoia Classic will again feature NRC-level racing for the pro men (and women, for equal money!), as well as separate categories for W3 and W4. I plan to write both promoters and let them know I appreciate and support their efforts to provide a quality racing experience for women on both ends of the spectrum, and to express my hope that they won't see decreased turnout in one women's category as a reason to eliminate that category next year, since these two fantastic opportunities are directly competing with one another, and someone is bound to be disappointed by their turnout.
My fear is that if we don't speak up, promoters will think we don't care, we're not here, and that it is good and dandy to eliminate more women's categories. I hope that LGBRC receives many, many (even-toned and respectful) letters from racers and other promoters supporting the women's 4 category. It seems like promoters do listen if enough of a stink is raised (witness the battle for the 45+2/3/4 category -- that must have gotten through to Barry!), and I hope that promoters are hearing the disappointment regarding this decision (and the Burlingame decision, and and and). We are lucky to have one of the most women-friendly pockets of racing in the US, as far as I can tell, but to me that doesn't mean that we are out of a spot where we can lose one women's category and still have opportunities for all women to race (like we could with, say, any master's category). Until then, I will write the promoters who eliminate women's categories to express my displeasure, and promoters who add separate categories for women to say thanks. And I hope that everyone who feels similarly does the same.
See you at the races.
thesupervisor wrote: I just hope that the w/pro cat fills up, that might help in attracting more w/3&4 cat riders next season.
I think you have that backwards....
jv had the best reply so far here, and level headed at that.
I am sure they looked at every option on how to include the 4's into a race safetly, before they came to there final conclusion. I will admitt one thing I love about being here in north ca is watching the woman race. Woman's racing here is at such a higher level then southern ca, nevada, utah arizona, etc.... its as much fun as watchin the men! I am sorry to see any field eliminated from a race schdule especially one like cats hill. I just hope that the w/pro cat fills up, that might help in attracting more w/3&4 cat riders next season.
My two cents:
* When clubs promote races, they're doing their part to support the sport, not just raising revenue. It's really important for the sport, most would feel, for beginning women to have a chance to start competing, without responding to Christine Thorburn attacks (heck, I can't even respond to Christine Thorburn attacks...). I'd much rather see a W3/4 race than yet another master's field.
* the season is too long already, and there's too many categories. I suggest reworking the schedule, splitting categories between concurrent races. Then they'll be more opportunities for people of a particular level, more opportunity to do races like Snelling and Pine Flat in decent weather, and fewer riders burning out in April and May. Move Early Birds to March instead of January, and start from there. Nobody else in the world has a season as long as ours.
It'll encourage riders to build a bigger base, sustain more interest in mid-season races, and give people more chance to be competitive in fields of their own ability.
The 37 women.
There were 37 women registered in that category last year and 49 the year before. You have no idea how many Cat 4 women alone would register if there were a Cat 4 only race, so to pull out those numbers, or base them on attendance of many years ago, is unfair.
There were only 32 Women 1/2/3..following your logic, why weren't they cut?
Because that would be bad for women's cycling.
And for a race as prestigious as Cat's Hill, its not just the women Cat 4 eliminated, its all the potential women who are on the sidelines. Cat's Hill attracts a large audience. Far larger than most. And who knows how many women or young girls might be on the sidelines wondering if they too could someday do this wonderful event. Only to discover that while there are two opportunities made available for beginner men, there are none for beginner women. What is the message there?
Thats not bad for women's cycling?
And that right there is why I am so vocal about my disappointment. Cat's Hill is a special race in its visibility and ability to reach out to the community, and as you put it celebration.
We women's teams stand ready to help in this endeavor. I am certain that if the women's team that sponsored this event in the past, or our team, were contacted, we would have offered whatever support we could to keep the category as its been for the past decade. We don't want to risk losing the event. But no one reached out. It just wasn't important enough I guess.
Best of luck to you and your team at the race. Its a wonderful event and I am sure it will be a success.
This is my fourth season racing. I do about 30-35 races per year, so I feel I'm fairly new to the scene. I'm sure I have benefitted from the efforts of women who came before me promoting and advocating racing, and for that I am grateful. I appreciate the need for women to voice their concerns and to be heard, but I don't agree or appreciate the tone and attitude that some have taken regarding this issue. For people to suggest that Barry and the other volunteers, who are donating their time to organize this event, don't care about developing the sport and are only concerned about making money is not only inaccurate, it's disrespectful. To clarify for everyone, there is no profit made on this race, the goal is, and always has been, to break even financially so we can continue to have the race at all, and it's run by volunteers...people who have families and jobs but are willing to take time away from them to plan and execute a great day of racing. When they make a decision that impacts potentially 15 cat 4 women, people start posting to this forum and blogs slamming them and the club they represent, sending angry emails..the question should be why would they ever give their time to promote an event for people who behave this way? I'm not saying that opinions should not be expressed, they should, respectfully.
Honestly, I personally see both sides of this issue. I've felt the disappointment of not being able to race at times, but I also see the financial reality of this race...people have to remember the venue is in downtown Los Gatos, arguably one of the more expensive areas to hold a race and we're talking about a field size of 15 or less people that was eliminated. I am sorry if you and any other women feel disregarded due to the decision making and race announcement process that was used. Of course it was not anyone's intention to make you or anyone else feel this way, obviously there's a lesson to be learned here, an area to improve.
However, I can also understand why there wasn't an effort to solicit everyone's opinion. I mean if this race was so important to cat 4 women, where the hell have they been? They haven't been showing up in hordes to race that's for sure, and because of that a decision was made to try something different this year, this one year. Is that really so unreasonable?
You are absolutely correct that racers have every right to support the events they feel develop the sport in the best way. I am sad to think that anyone would boycott our race when I know the countless hours that our club/team puts into this event with the sole intention of celebrating our sport.
For dinosaurs who used to listen to rock 'n roll music in the Bay Area, Scoop Nisker was news director for - I'm not absolutely sure but KSAN comes to mind as his station or KFOG - but his end line at the conclusion of every news broadcast was, "Hey, if you don't like the news, go out and make some of your own".
I hope I live long enough to hear male racers griping because they can't get a ticket to dance at one of the classic events that the Old Girls network organizes, staffs and operates, just like races the Old Boys network created 30 years ago that are the crux of so much discussion today. (30+ years? - Cherry Pie, Davis, Santa Cruz, Giro, Burlingame, Nevada City, Cat's Hill and we haven't even mentioned RR's) The best way to see a race run the way you want - criterium, road, cyclocross, track - you name it - is to be the promoter. Then you can subsidize and market to the fields of your dreams.
Maybe I was thinking too hard about what I'd do with my Power Ball gazillions this week, but, since Northern California has a pretty extensive calendar already, in order to get what you want - why not buy somebody's existing race? It could come complete with all the knowledge of the course, how to obtain permits, labor requirements and maybe even the staff to operate it for you. Then you get to run it the way it should be - your categories, your music, your name here!
If you bought an event it comes with a date on the calendar and history. There may be an event today where the promoting organization is getting tired or doesn;t have any new team talent stepping up to assume leadership - they might consider selling the event to maintain it's history. It's sort of a "Ready Made" bike race, you don't have to re-invent anyone's wheel. What do you think? Or perhaps several teams/clubs/organizers could combine their forces, buy a race and off you go in the World of Promotion! You would have guaranteed categories for whatever Elite, Junior, Masters fields you could imagine. Capitalism - I just love it.
I remember tiny Cat 5 mens fields in the past and I don't recall anyone ever cutting that field due to low turnout. Cats hill was the place people went to get their points as a 5 because you could easily leave with a top 10 due to a small field.
I for one don't think cutting the womens 4 field was very cool and think its a shame. As much as I hate mixing fields they could be at least be thrown in with the juniors or start 2 minutes back. Just seems silly to write off a group.
Other promoters have been faced with these low turn outs in the past and instead of cutting a group they reached out to local clubs and shops to help stir up interest. Many found that this would help bolster up the numbers pretty easy. The Bay area is littered with Womens cycling clubs for amateurs that could have been asked for help.
I hope you reconsider.
Thank you Jennifer for the most reasoned response to have come from LGBRC. I am being genuine when I state that your response to this is very much appreciated.
I think the stink is raised because an 11+ (maybe more but I can't see results back that far) of offering racing for Women 3 or 4 at Cat's Hill was suddenly and unceremoniously broken.
And it was broken to accommodate a 3rd masters men category.
And this is the second time in this short year that we have seen a promoter drop the beginning women's category at a prestigious event, in favor of adding yet another masters men category.
No mention of the drop was made in the race announcement to the NCNCA. That led me to think that the Cat's Hill promotors did not even consider that women would be upset.
So we had to let them know we are. We are hoping that other promoters are paying attention and will consider other choices, if faced with the same economics that Cats Hill was faced with. And we hope to have some influence over future LGBRC promotion decisions.
I don't know how long you have raced at this region, but when I first started there was a movement that made the kind of stink I am making right now. And offered help to promoters.
The result was an increase in category offerings for women and in women racers. You might have even benefited from some of the Cat 3 and 4 races that were established in response to our efforts.
What we are doing now, by speaking up, is what we did back then. Its a constant effort that those of us interested in growing women's racing participate in. We need to speak up and offer our assistance to promoters of races that matter to us. And due to its prestige, this race matters.
I see no problem when a race only offers 4-5 categories and in that, one group is left out. But it does become tiring to see so many options for men at an event at the price of excluding some women.
The Menlo Park event that excludes racing for Cat 1/2 men and women seems a wise choice because there is an NRC event in our region at the same time. And there is another event on the same day as Ronde Van Brisbeen that does offer racing in the categories not offered at RVB.
But there are no other choices for Cat 4 women that day. And because of the prestige of a race like Cat's Hill and its Premiere Series status, there likely will not be.
And you are correct, due to the nature of the course, it is unlikely that it will ever draw a large Cat 4 women's field. As it is, it does not draw a large Women's 1/2/3 field either. Their numbers are even lower than the 3/4. Perhaps LGBRC should eliminate that category as well?
And I do feel that LGBRC has let women's cycling down as it relates to this event (but not as a club in general). They made an economical choice to break a long history of inviting women Cat 4 to their event. It is fine, its their choice. But it is what it is.
However I agree that there should not be punitive actions. (Boycotts are not punitive, that is simply voting with $) Every promoter has a right to offer whichever categories they want. And every racer and sponsor has an opinion of what they think about that, and how they choose to spend their money.
And how we choose to grow our sport.
I wish the Cat's Hill organizers had reached out to us before making this decision, as we would have done all we could to preserve the category. We just really love this event.
please get Barry away from the keyboard. that boy can't hold a candle to you in describing the reasonings and thinkins behind promoters' decisions.
i reckon the brujaha stems from Cat's Hill being such a popular race for the region (though, i find it a rather boring sit n' sprint affair, myself :wink: ). And, being so popular (like the pretty ones on tv) ... i guess folks just want a chance to touch the hems.
1 woman's field and 7 men's fields are what jump out at you when a first glance is taken at the reg sheet (i think that's right). At first blush ...? It's not all that hip of a comparison between the genders. But, it is what it is - and, as has been said many times in this thread, it's for those who do all the work and sweat that get to decide how the day is run.
So, thanks for posting such a well-reasoned response. I'm sure it'll go far in untweeking noses and dawning a bulb, or two over heads.
Still ... i was just looking for a reason to go do Gila, anyway.
geezer who could have raced twice at MeowBoxHill
I think suggesting that the elimination of the w 3/4 race greatly undermines women's racing in general is a bit overstated. Here's why...although the women 3/4 had close to 40 registrants in 2006, of those, less than 15 were cat 4. In the past when women asked for a separate 4s field the races had 15-20 people which eventually led to the combined 3/4 field. It's a very hard technical race that intimidates newer racers and because of this I don't think it will ever attract really large fields like Snelling etc. So by not offering the w 3/4 race this year, based on prior years numbers, we're really talking about 15 or so cat 4 women not having the option to race. The cat 3 women can still participate in the 1/2/3 field. I understand that the 1/2/3 combination makes for a very hard race since the level of competition is so high, but it is still a valid option for cat 3 women (I say this after getting dropped and pulled my first year racing it as a 3). So I understand this concern, but that is the reality of racing in our district...it is freaking fast, hard, and unforgiving. I've realized that some races I will never place because the caliber of womens' racing is just so high in this area...on those days I put on the big girl chamois, pedal hard, and enjoy the opportunity to race with some of the best female cyclists in the country.
Also, not every race provides participation for every category, I don't see how this is any different, nor why it should be. The only choice I have to race this weekend at Menlo Park is with the men since there is no option for cat 2 women, same goes for Ronde van Brisbeen. However, I would never suggest these promoters don't support women because they're not offering upper category womens fields which result in over half our team not being able to participate. I understand that we need to support the lower cats to grow the sport...but at the same time why continue in the sport if races aren't available once you upgrade? At the Giro last year juniors were eliminated so cat 3 women could have their own race in addition to being able to race in the w 1/2/3....another example of supporting one category at the expense of another. This situation is no different.
While people may disagree with the decision for the categories offered, I take offense with the suggestion that LG has let women down and there should be punitive actions such as elimination from the various series or boycotting the race. The fact remains that LG puts on two well run races throughout the year...with Cat's Hill showcasing some of the highest level of female talent and Timpani being a great safe course for newer racers...how is this not supporting the women at all levels in our district?
Womens Team Leader
Tripp wrote:I thought I'd point out a couple of things re: women's fields.
First, Land Park is no longer an "easy" course. Come out and race the new course and see if you think it is easy. We've lost folks the last couple of years because the course is harder, but so be it, as the course is much safer.
Second, women are not turning out for Land Park this year, at least not according to our pre-reg numbers. With a week to go, we have 7 women registered for the Womens 1/2/3 category. My experience is that for fields that won't fill, day of registrations will range between the number of pre-reg'd riders you have to two times the number of pre-reg'd riders. So if you have 10 pre-registered, the field will likely be 20 to 30 (Elite 3s being the exception from time to time, as you can get 20 pre-reg'd but have 60 more show up on the day of the race).
We are bringing a large team to both Landpark and Zamora. I don't think a single one of us have pre-registered yet. Unfortunately it conflicts with Visalia who is offering an amazing $10,000 Women's 1/2 purse! So our team will be split between those two races.
In fact, our team had a little rumble over this as some want to go to Visalia and support the great prize list and some want to go to Zamora/Landpark to support your change to a Cat 4 only field.
Its a shame that on one weekend that are two fabulous options for women, and on other weekends there are none.
I agree that the course isn't easy anymore and it's certainly safer. The harder the course the harder it is for the not-so-fit to keep up with the fit, and some people stay away.
Would it be a bad idea to offer some groups the easier course to encourage more reasonable field sizes and probably more competitive racing for at least most of the entrants in the group, especially early in the year when some people haven't been able to train as much as they'd want to before racing on a not-so-easy course?
The low Land Park numbers are interesting, given that there are 24 women pre-reg'd for the Cat. 4 road race. I wonder if we aren't doing a good enought job at the Early Birds raising the comfort level of the new crit riders?
I thought I'd point out a couple of things re: women's fields.
First off I think its a bad idea every time to cut out the most experienced riders from any age bracket, just does not make for good racing.
What would make sense to all of us in the upper bracket would be to start having M35+ 1,2 races and let the 3's race with the 4's and 5's.
They could get the experience they need to be competitive and safe at the next level. And the racing would be better.
On the topic of promoters not giving the women a catagory I just have to say I think its bad business.
I know when I was a young buck I went to MANY more races just because my girlfriend wanted to go and race also.........that meant well never mind........
Anyway, A womens 4 or even a 3/4 race at an event that caters to so many others is only a good thing and to leave it out of a race thats been going on for 30+ years is a shame.
Now back to the topic of having 35+ 1,2 races...........thats what I wanna talk about!
You picked a bad sample....
Martinez and Apple Pie were both offered on the same day, splitting the field. I think we had about 30 in the 3/4 at Apple Pie last year. In addition, it was exceptionally stormy and rainy that day. Not too many Cat 4 women are interested in racing a technical crit (martinez) in the rain. I think attendance was down in all categories at that event.
As for Cherry Pie, the women 4 were combined with the women 1/2/3. Not too many beginner women are interested in racing alongside national champions. As it was, those Cat 4 women who were brave enough to race alongside the entire Colavita racing team, were rewarded by being pulled within 10-20 minutes (even after being told at registration that they would not)
And yes, there is probably some merit to the course issue. But I think it has more to do with location and category offerings.
And we do work with promotors on promising courses. Velogirls was successful in convincing the Zamora race promotors to include a seperate Cat 4 for women this year. Velogirls will be sending 10 just from their team alone to that event. And we'll be sending at least 5 (and another 5 in the 1/2/3). So thats 20 racers just from two teams as our thanks for considering it.
Also, if a race has a history of not attracting enough women racers, I wouldn't raise such a ruckus. Velo Promo only offers one category for Women at the Dinuba crit, but that race just won't attract a large field so who can blame him?
However, Cat's Hill has a recent history of attracting a field large enough (in my opinion anyway) to justify it. Which is why its such a shame.
Am I Jesstering this thread?
WarrenG wrote:PeterPen summed it up nicely...
"Gerrymandering race categories so good (but not really good) geezers have a better chance of winning."
Isn't everything other than racing straight cats gerrymandering? It's just about whose ox gets gored when somebody tinkers with the formula.
Why do grown up men with jobs and families and no future in the sport (beyond the amateur glory of a special T shirt) get to do multiple races most weekends but a 21 year old cat 2 of either gender needs to drive four hours to do a single one hour crit? Well, because that's how we do it.
But that doesn't make it logical or necessarily the best way.
And I'm neither a 45+ Cat 1 nor a W4, so take my comments for what they're worth...[/b]
sabine wrote:I don't know where you have been racing lately Warren, but the days of 10 women at the more popular races are over.
I've been at hundreds of races, but before I wrote that I looked at the NCNCA web page for race results. In 2007 the Women cat 3/4 race at Martinez had 19 riders, Apple Pie had 8, Cherry Pie had 10 cat 4's,and Pine Flat had a W3's race with 5 riders.
So, what do you suggest to encourage the promoters to continue to offer W3 and W4 races at these events?
Am I right that the W3's and W4's tend to show up in reasonable numbers more often for the easier courses, like Snelling and Land Park, and for races where they're not combined with the 1,2's? If so, then maybe those are the promoters that should be targeted for offering W3 and W4 events because you can assure them that they'll get more than 10-20 riders to show up (and pay).
To be more clear,
Continual complaining about a relatively trivial issue when others all around you have more legitimate complaints, is whining. To be able to compete reasonably well with guys you would also like to eliminate from some of your age group races is weak.
I suggest you go back and read your own post that preceded my suggestion yesterday that you take a nap, as in get a grip, slow down, relax, etc., and then re-read the comments from Mike and PeterPen and "Yermama" and a bunch of others in these threads for some perspective from guys who have been in this sport quite a bit longer than your 2 years. If you stay in the sport you'll be racing with these guys for a long time-those same guys you are eliminating from some races they would like to do, or otherwise making some of their races less fun and less safe.
ststein wrote:From a strictly economic point of view, the promoter should eliminate the juniors. They pay less to register and never fill the fields. Yet we accept it as gospel that the Pro/Mstr/Elites fund the Juniors to grow the sport.
One thing to consider, Masters are of the age that they have children that are old enough to race in a Junior fields. I've often though it to be sensible to combine a Master's and a Junior's focus at a single event.
I must say that I'm impressed with the quality of Women's riding we're producing in NorCal right now.
I believe we've stacked the top-10 with home-grown's in these 2007 NRC openers and ... well, there's that whole Brooke Miller/Tibco juggernaut going on right now. And then there's the Webcor team as one of the, if not the, best team in the US for the past couple years.
I dunno ... it just seems like it's worth investing some dollars in the development of women's cycling.
But, i'm biased. i like the way they look in spandex.
Looking more and more forward to handing feeds out at Kern County this year,
What do you propose to the race promoters who must be considerate of the number of race entries and that income? E4's and E5's are guaranteed money for a promoter. So, hold a race for 50 E5's with a wait list and no prizes, or offer a race for half that many W3's and their prizes?
What suggestions and incentives are there to encourage promoters to offer the W3's and W4's? And how does a promoter ensure that 40 or more women show up for the race when they can look around and see many races with only 10-20 riders?
What if W3's and W4's raced for no prizes and paid higher entry fees to balance out their income vs. cost ratio closer to that of most other categories? One prize awarded for roughly each 10 riders like most other categories? If these are options, let promoters know.
Something that I can't figure out, why are there so many W4's at EB's, and then right after that only small numbers show up to race? Why aren't all those women at EB's moving into the races that follow, along with the W4's who are returning from previous years?
When it came to offering junior and women categories at an already crowded Surf City schedule I knew I would lose money on those categories.
But I love this sport enough to care about developing it in the non-money making categories. And yes, participation in the more popular men's categories subsidized that choice. But that was our choice to make as promotors, I know I can't expect the same from everyone.
And women 4 do not care about prizes. They care about a valid racing experience. A tshirt, a medal and a great time racing is all thats needed. The prize list at Snelling was $0 and 60 Cat 4 women turned out. In addition 36 cat 3 women turned out for a prize list of $50. Thats almost 100 Cat 3 and 4 women! They turned out because they knew they were going to get a great day of racing, not because of prizes. Promotors should not worry about prize lists when it comes to Cat 3 and 4 womens racing. (Although its nice when it happens, thank you City of Martinez!)
I don't know where you have been racing lately Warren, but the days of 10 women at the more popular races are over. Women Cat 4 categories sell out at the most popular events. I think we had over 70 women in our field at Merco.
Attendance does fall as the season wears on, but this is true for all categories, not just Women.
In the past two years, an average of 40 women showed up for the 3/4 race at Cat's Hill. While that is not as large as some other races, it is significant enough to keep the category open for them. If numbers alone are an indicator, then we should also cut Women's 1/2 and junior racing as those categories typically receive even fewer entrants than Women 3/4 racing. We should offer nothing but various twists and turns on Cat 3 4 and 5 mens races. (Talk about a swordfight!)
And we are more than happy to work with concerned promotors on ways to make it work. And sometimes it just doesn't and I can accept that.
And I can accept that promotors who do the work, can offer whatever they want. Its their race, their choice. Just voicing my disappointment because Cat's Hill is special.
WarrenG wrote:Your continual whining about this falls on unsympathetic ears throughout the 45's, and virtually all of the other categories, sexes, and ages of riders. You've only been around for two years, and have already scored places against riders you'd like to keep out of some of your races. That's weak. Bike racing is not for the weak.
Warren, if I was too subtle in my last e-mail, please allow me to say it again con fuerza:
There is no cause whatsoever to use personal attacks in this Forum! I am not "whining" by arguing an opinion, and I am certainly not "weak." I have been debating a very simple point. Period. Go ahead and disagree, support your position with data and compelling logic, but the gratuitous public attacks end now.
Great, you've caused me to lose my humor.
From a strictly economic point of view, the promoter should eliminate the juniors. They pay less to register and never fill the fields. Yet we accept it as gospel that the Pro/Mstr/Elites fund the Juniors to grow the sport.
Women 4s are getting a raw deal.
W4's in the men's races... 170-pound E4 does something dumb and bounces into the 120-pound W4... which one is going down?
Being in a race surrounded by riders bigger and taller, for a beginner? Not realistic.
I've seen a few women in the 35+ 123's and Linda E. once in awhile in the 45+ and they seem to like it for the speeds, average skills of the riders and low risk of a crash, but the women that I've noticed in these races were cat 1,2's.
SanJoCycle wrote:Upgrade points are of interest to many of the 45+ cat 3's; their ticket into other fields that "eliminate" cat 3's.
That's not correct. First, the only fields that "eliminate cat 3's" are the p1,2 races and those races are just not important to very many 45+ 3's, and second, the field sizes alone in the 45+ make it much harder to get upgrade points than racing with the E3's. The guys I know who are 45+ and have then upgraded to cat 2 are pretty much pack fill in the p12's, and mostly don't do much in the 35+ 123's either.
End result, if the races are all 45+ then the 1's, 2's and 3's don't worry much about upgrade points because they can do all the 45+ and 35+123 races anyway. If we see more than a few races for 45+ 2,3,4 and 45+ 3,4 then there will be more incentive for the faster riders to keep their current category or downgrade to remain eligible.
An automatic upgrade is 30 points in 12 months. With the field sizes in the 45+ averaging under 50 riders that's quite a few top placings before a guy is no longer eligible for the 45+ 3/4 races. Spread the points around the team's riders... you get the idea.
OK I know this is going to come across as me being flip but so be it. Women have more choices and options to race than any other category. At Cat's Hill this year a Cat 4 women has the option of riding in the Cat 5 race, the Cat 4 race the 35+ Cat 4/5 race and the 45+ Cat 2/3/4 race. That is 4 races to choose from. A Cat 3 woman can do the women's 1/2/3 race. The Cat 4 men's race the Cat 3 men's race the 35+ 3/4 race and the 45+ 2/3/4 race. The women have lots of options and chances to party , more so than the men have.
Yes I know most women will not be competitive with the men and so it will not be enjoyable to enter only to get dropped and pulled. And yes I realize that the men's racing is a different style that most women probably wouldn't enjoy. Of course the same might be true for a large number of 45+ men. If a 45+ man doesn't feel he is competitive with or like the style of racing in a 35+ age group ( for what ever reason) then a 45+ male hasn't had the opportunity to race at Cat's Hill since... ( I don't know if a 45+ group has ever been offered at Cat's Hill).
The promoter of Cat's Hill has said they dropped the Cat 4 women because they have never gotten a significant number of Cat 4 women entries, even when the race had a separate Cat 4 women's race. Maybe the Cat's Hill promoters would be more inclined to offer a race for Cat 4 women if a whole bunch of them took advantage of their options to race and flooded one of the categories at this year's race with their entries.
Racing with the men is not a valid option, especially for Cat 4 women. They are already scared to death of racing against other women, you think beginners want to race with men? Who would want to pay $30 to be scared to death and then get pulled in 10 minutes? What kind of race experience is that? I wish people would stop mentioning that as an option. Its bullshit. It really is. I am sorry for cursing, but I am soooooo tired of hearing that. Just because something is allowed, does not make it reasonable.
And it is not the same as the 45+ hullabaloo. If a 45+ Cat 3 man does not feel competitive in the 35+1/2/3, then he can race the Cat 3 Men. It is his category after all. What choice does the Cat 4 woman have to be competitive?
And Cat's Hill received 38 entrants last year and 46 the year before in the 3/4 category. It is unfair to count how many cat 4 women they attracted in a combined field. Who knows how many Cat 4 women they would attract in a 4 only field now after considerable growth in Women's Cat4 participation.
The 3/4 category was a good consolation for that race. At least women 4 were invited to something that they could participate in. There is not a huge difference in abilities between most Cat 3 and 4 women. NOw there is no choice for them, and no choice for all but the most talented of 3s.
And women will ALWAYS lose out if promoters only consider demographics.
And I know promoters can choose what they want, but that will not stop me from expressing my opinion on those choices. And offering our support to those promotors who do consider us.
What do you propose to the race promoters who must be considerate of the number of race entries and that income? E4's and E5's are guaranteed money for a promoter. So, hold a race for 50 E5's with a wait list and no prizes, or offer a race for half that many W3's and their prizes?
WarrenG wrote:Why would the upgrade points be of interest to the "~100 [45+] cat 2's", and why would upgrade points be a consideration for who is allowed to race?
Just my point! There are NO upgrade points available for 45+ cat2 in any 45+ field, so the point is moot. Upgrade points are of interest to many of the 45+ cat 3's; their ticket into other fields that "eliminate" cat 3's.
The problem Jess, is that 45+ 3's do NOT have an "equally valid" argument compared to Women 3's, Men E3's, under 35 3's, 2's, and 1's. They each get one race or none, they have to race against the best in their category (not just the older riders like in 35+ 3's or 45+ 3's races) and they are almost always grouped with riders above their own ability level.
The 45+ 3's ALWAYS get at least one, sometimes 3 races to choose from, and if you have your way, they don't have to race against guys who might be faster than them.
Your continual whining about this falls on unsympathetic ears throughout the 45's, and virtually all of the other categories, sexes, and ages of riders. You've only been around for two years, and have already scored places against riders you'd like to keep out of some of your races. That's weak. Bike racing is not for the weak. If you want to win more than you do now then race with the E3's, or the 35+ 3/4's, but leave the 45's alone because some of us don't want the 45's to decline in quality like it has in other parts of the country. We barely have enough 45's races around here as it is.
Not everyone gets to win, and those who truly appreciate the sport have plenty of fun anyway.
And don't try to race at the track. There's way too many nat's and world champions around your age out there. Of course, some of us like it that way because racing with really good riders helps us to become better bike racers.
casey wrote:Since the NCNCA premiere series is suppose to focus on the 1/2/pro men, 1/2/3 Women and 35+ 1/2/3s it makes sense that the races in the series has these events. I don't think it makes sense that we require the Premiere series promoters to have other categories that aren't part of the premiere series. Like wise since the BAWC is a feature that focuses on Cat 3 and 4 women again it makes sense that the races in the BAWC series has races for Cat 3 and 4 women (preferably as separate events) but that doesn't mean that he BAWC series events should also be required to have events for 1/2/Pro men or women. Different series have different focuses. to me it seems silly to start throwing in additional requirements onto promoters for additional categories that aren't a part of the series in question. you start doing things like that and pretty soon you don't have any series at all since no promoters will want to jump through all the different hoops required to be part of any of the series.
I have no problems with category choice when only 3-4 categories are offered and several groups are excluded. My disappointment comes when there are multiple options for some groups and none for others.
Its like not being invited to the party that everyone else is going to. And since we're a team that likes to party, we're disappointed.
In the end, the promotor should have final say as they are the ones taking the risks and putting in the effort.
And we'll spend our money and do our partying elsewhere.
I really, really didn't want to respond to this post, but I am compelled. I will try to respond to the content and ignore the insults.
Elis wrote:Well, Jess, as far as I can tell, YOU are the biggest force acting on peloton diversity right now. Only you're not really causing anyone except yourself to applaud, and you're wreaking havoc on other fields. Thanks to your need for "diversity" and your unwillingness to get out and race with your cat 3 peers (because cycling is divided into categories, and your only peers are the people in your category -- age is a nice excuse for some folks who need them, but it has nothing to do with peer groups) one entire category of already often-overlooked racers can't race at all. Yeah, your dedication to diversity really humbles me.
I am impressed, not by the mocking ire, but by the exaggeration of the importance of my opinions. I am not "a force" and I am not "wreaking havoc." I have simply expressed an opinion and sought to back it up with numbers and logic -- sometimes with humor. That's all.
Quote:And if you were still truly cat 3 caliber, you would suck it up and race with the cat 3s. Most of us have jobs and work, regardless of age, and there are few of us who would be so arrogant and ridiculous as to demand his own category because he doesn't want to go against the people who are his designated peers. If you can't hang with the 3s, downgrade. Don't cry and whine until some racers are kept from racing at all.
You needn't call someone with whom you disagree: "arrogant," "ridiculous," a "crier" or a "whiner" to achieve your purpose. This is a forum. It is designed to encourage reasoned discussion of issues relating to our sport, not to mock or belittle those with whom you disagree.
Conclusions about me are really irrelevant to the merits of the discussion and are petty attacks. Not that it's relevant, but your assumptions are wrong about my "caliber." I raced 65 road races last year - only 21 were 45+. Twice as many were Elite 3, 35+ 1/2/3, and other combinations. So please don't tell me to "suck it up." I will upgrade to a 2 on the first day that I am eligible. I am dying to race against more talented racers, and I love racing against them in the 45+ opens. I am simply in favor of diversity of race experiences. That's all.
Quote:And don't give me this "I just want a chance to win". Leave that for the cat 3 women who are forced to race with current Olympians and National Champions, or the cat 4 women who can't race Cat's Hill at all.
I don't have to "leave it to the[m]." The Cat 3 women have an equally valid argument in favor of diverse fields, and I support their logical argument. They should not always be forced to race against national champs and pros. Neither should old guys. That's my point.
Not every race can answer everyone's needs. There is no one perfect menu of races. Hopefully everyone can agree on that. So lets' not hound promoters of individual events for the choices they make; instead lets' encourage diversity so everyone will get their preference sometimes.
Why would the upgrade points be of interest to the "~100 cat 2's", and why would upgrade points be a consideration for who is allowed to race?
How many 45+ cat 2's have upgraded to cat 1 in the last few years?
KevinMetcalfe wrote:When I saw the 45+ 2/3/4 race listed I had to laugh. How many 45 year old cat 1's are there in Nor Cal? Wait, I just looked on Casey's web page and as of Feb 2006 there were NINE.
I could not agree more. It would have made more sense to have "eliminated" the ~100 cat 2's as well; since they can not garnish any upgrade points in this field.
Sorry if this upsets some people but I don;t see a problem if some ( or many) of the top level events don't have categories for some or any of the entry level riders. I think it is a good thing if we have some top level events that are open to Cat 3 and above only riders. I think one of the things that made Nevada City a better event back in the earlier days was the fact that you have to be a 1/2/pro level rider on the elite side to get into the race. it gave the race a certain mystique and it gave riders another incentive to work hard and earn their upgrade so they could get into the big show. I think the Nevada City promoters made a mistake when they started having additional elite races besides the 1/2/pros.
Likewise I think it is a good idea to have events that only have categories and focus on the entry level riders like the old Cat 4 ( or 4/5) challenge. I remember how some people bitterly complained that it was a silly idea to have a weekend of racing that treated Cat 4/5 riders like they were 1/2/pros ( with a large prize list and features like Pro level technical support and follow cars/motors).
Since the NCNCA premiere series is suppose to focus on the 1/2/pro men, 1/2/3 Women and 35+ 1/2/3s it makes sense that the races in the series has these events. I don't think it makes sense that we require the Premiere series promoters to have other categories that aren't part of the premiere series. Like wise since the BAWC is a feature that focuses on Cat 3 and 4 women again it makes sense that the races in the BAWC series has races for Cat 3 and 4 women (preferably as separate events) but that doesn't mean that he BAWC series events should also be required to have events for 1/2/Pro men or women. Different series have different focuses. to me it seems silly to start throwing in additional requirements onto promoters for additional categories that aren't a part of the series in question. you start doing things like that and pretty soon you don't have any series at all since no promoters will want to jump through all the different hoops required to be part of any of the series.
Casey will tell you that the NCNCA doesn't get involved in telling promoters which categories to promote, but you would think that with races that receive support from the NCNCA, there should be some involvement in the restriction of categories (or eliminating that).
I am disappointed and suprised that Barry Gordon and LGBRC (who in the past has been so supportive of Womens 3/4 racing) made this decision.
When we planned our season and picked Cats Hill as a team focus race, it never even occurred to me that there would not be a category for our riders. Silly us.
Hold the show!
Elis said "If you can't hang with the 3s, downgrade."
Isn't that the essence of what Casey says about riders holding on to Cat 1 and 2 licenses as a trophy of accomplishment for days long past?
Isn't that statement also the essence of what Jess is saying about the older Cat 1s?
Maybe your subconscious is suggesting that we implement an automatic downgrade program similar to the upgrade program.
I am not saying I agree with the removal of the Women's field, I am just pointing out a discrepancy in the dialog and the categorization system.
Perhaps we need sub categories? Maybe a person can be a Cat 1 Master age grouper, but only a 3 when racing in the Elite groups.
I'm a 45+ racer who was a Cat 2 in the early 90's. I downgraded to a 3 when I realized that I wasn't going to do any more 1/2 races. I could still go to Nationals and race any 45+ race.
I want to race with the best, not a watered down field who will give me a false sense of how good I reallly am. I've accepted the role of early race attacker, break chaser, and worker. I get my gratification when a team mate wins and thanks me for all the work I've done. Maybe it's experience that tells me that my days of glory are over. If someone starts racing during his twilight years as an athelete maybe they are looking for the victory that maybe should have come 10 years earlier, when the body was able. Don't forget, you're trying to train a body at 45 to be competitive with a body that has been training/racing for 20+years.
Put everything into perpective...work, family life, friendships, cycling. Be careful who you admire or aspire to be. Many time there are very high prices to pay.
Loving cycling for what it is....
I am going to kiss Elis.
What irks me (beyond the obvious elimination of an important category) is that clubs that do things like this are rewarded by the NCNCA anyways. Burlingame Crit (no CAT4 women last year) and Cat's Hill (no CAT4 women this year) are both part of the NCNCA premiere series -- receiving additional support (and heightened registrations) because of this designation. LGBRC also promotes Timpani Crit (which has a W3/4 event, at least in past seasons), and is designated as one of the BAWC series races again this year (receiving additional support and heightened registrations).
It's clear to me that the NCNCA and BAWC could put some qualifiers on their premiere and series races that would support the mission of developing women racers (ie having events for all cats or the promoter's race can't be part of the series.)
Casey will tell you that the NCNCA doesn't get involved in telling promoters which categories to promote, but you would think that with races that receive support from the NCNCA, there should be some involvement in the restriction of categories (or eliminating that).
Lorri Lee Lown
damn Phipps is gonna totally spank me at the next crit.
... oh wait, he's under 140lbs, sandy haired, and rides in a blue jersey ... thusly, not eligible to race in my division.
Quote:Well, Jess, as far as I can tell, YOU are the biggest force acting on peloton diversity right now. Only you're not really causing anyone except yourself to applaud, and you're wreaking havoc on other fields.
FINALLY...a well reasoned (and excellent) response. Thank you...although I know that the half-life of this thread is well beyond my life span (not to mention my patience).
Coming from a running background I find this really strange. I can understand separating 1/2/3's & 4/5's because of skill level or because there are too many racers in a particular age group to race in one field, but to specifically not allow a few riders in a race doesn't make sense to me.
I know this is not apples to apples, but for example XC running usually has 3 fields at each race, open men, women and masters (40+) men.
The same 4 guys won every XC race on the PAUSATF circuit last year. I can imagine the uproar if someone suggested that these 4 runners had to run in the open division because they were too good and should give someone else a chance to win.
There are a lot of guys who never win any races or never even finish in the top 10, but they keep coming back because they love the sport and love competing against the best. Iâ€™ll probably never win a crit, especially with guys like LaBerge, Nolan & Hernandez in there, but Iâ€™ll keep trying and if I ever do manage to win one it will be that much more satisfying if they are there.
Quote:Geez, whatever happened to applauding DIVERSITY?
Well, Jess, as far as I can tell, YOU are the biggest force acting on peloton diversity right now. Only you're not really causing anyone except yourself to applaud, and you're wreaking havoc on other fields. Thanks to your need for "diversity" and your unwillingness to get out and race with your cat 3 peers (because cycling is divided into categories, and your only peers are the people in your category -- age is a nice excuse for some folks who need them, but it has nothing to do with peer groups) one entire category of already often-overlooked racers can't race at all. Yeah, your dedication to diversity really humbles me.
Quote:If they are truly still Cat 1 caliber, they have a talent advantage there anyway.
And if you were still truly cat 3 caliber, you would suck it up and race with the cat 3s. Most of us have jobs and work, regardless of age, and there are few of us who would be so arrogant and ridiculous as to demand his own category because he doesn't want to go against the people who are his designated peers. If you can't hang with the 3s, downgrade. Don't cry and whine until some racers are kept from racing at all. And don't give me this "I just want a chance to win". Leave that for the cat 3 women who are forced to race with current Olympians and National Champions, or the cat 4 women who can't race Cat's Hill at all.