As a 45 year old cat 3. I love it when I dont have to race against the 45, 1's and 2's. I'll take a 3,4,5 field anytime. Let the 1's and 2's slug it out amoung them selves. Its the same guys that win week after week year after year.
Quote:The problem is we don't have 2 or 3 additional Early Bird type series going on at different points during the year. With over 960 Cat 5s in the region I would think that it would be easy to fill a 50 rider Cat 5 field at just about any time during the year.
This is a real problem too. Back when we had 2+ twilight series races to choose from, per week, all through the summer, it was a lot easier to get and retain group riding skills. If you only have the opportunity to race in a pack once or twice per week you're going to be limited in this respect.
The M45 open category, however, is a disaster for nearly all concerned. At the very least we should have M45 1/2/3 and M45 3/4/5 races. Whether there are enough M45 5s to justify a separate race is another matter.
Bottom line is that we simply need more promoters. In France they have different categories racing in different races (different promoters, courses, locations, ...) every weekend day throughout May-Aug. I know Casey doesn't believe the NCNCA should be proactive in this respect but it would be very simple to set limits on the number of categories that could be held in any single venue as is done in most of the rest of the world.
Last year we had almost 700 riders take out a USCF license for the first time at some point during the year. Most of those new riders took out their license after January.
This year so far we have had 398 people take out a USCF license for the first time. It isn't unreasonable to expect another 300+ first time licensees to take out a racing license during the rest of the year.
The problem isn't that new racers should start racing in January when the Early Birds are happening ( after all the Early Birds can't deal with 700 first time racers). The problem is we don't have 2 or 3 additional Early Bird type series going on at different points during the year. With over 960 Cat 5s in the region I would think that it would be easy to fill a 50 rider Cat 5 field at just about any time during the year.
Of course I know about time limitations and promoters having to pick and choose what categories they offer. I'm just pointing out that there are ore than enough Cat 5s to fill a cat 5 only field at this time of the year.
I do hope that you are promoting an event. When the event is the bread and butter of your organization you have to look at it like a business. While we would all love to be PC and provide fields for everyone, the reality is that there is only so much time in a day. With that limitation the promoter has to pick the fields that will yield the highest rider count.
In May, that isn't a Cat 5 only field, historically speaking.
This year we sacrificed juniors in order to promote Women's racing. Truthfully, the Women's 3/4 was a good, it stays. The Women's P 1/2, not so much, it may get cut. I am not convinced that there are enough numbers to justify a 45+ 1/2/3 event. Of course, the demographics change every year.
Again, the time to learn how to ride in a race is in January when there is instruction available, not May when you should have a few races under your belt. There is no arguement on the planet that will change my opinion on that one.
That's why you have SEPARATE Cat5 fields. Someone that gets into riding shouldn't have to wait until the next season to start racing. There's a lot that can be learned in half a season
Read it again. Not a rider, a "new" rider. The opperative words are "new" and "first race".
I am not talking about a rider starting a season, I am talking about a rider starting his racing career.
If a Cat 4 wants to start his season in May, that's his business. If a rider who has never ridden in a pack before wants to start in May(when the racing isstarting to get faster), that's everybody's business because he is a danger to everyone in the field and himself.
VERY different concepts altogether.
How can you dictate when a rider should start his season? This is a completely flawed way of thinking and I think you should seperate the 4s and 5s in the future.
While I agree with Richard, it is only to the point of early season races.
IHO: Cat 5s should not be starting their racing in May and should very well have 5 to 6 races under their belt by this time. Hopefully a few of them being Early Birds where they have picked up some critical skills.
As a promoter it scares me to death when I get an email saying "Hi, I am thinking about making your race my first race ever". I don't want to discourage anyone from racing, but I also don't want a newby crashing someone out at my team's event.
The 5's that are mixed with the 4s in May should be close to being a 4.
Well said, Richard. Please join the poll on the new thread, commenting on the EMC2 master cat divisions.
As 55 year old cat. 4, I'd merely like to put in my opinion on this topic in hopes of assisting promoters and others in gauging the sentiment of the riders. So these are just my opinions, based on my experiences and situation. I'll confess that sometimes I am amazed at the wide range of opinions expressed in these forums. I really wish more of the ridership contributed here as I think these discussions are important for our mutual understanding.
1. I would like to see cat. 5 racers be separated in their own event(s). If time and space allows, then further subdivide them by age. Isn't the definition of cat. 5 to be a "new" racer with less experience? Then give them a safe opportunity to experience pack racing. I just don't understand the typical "Cat. 4/5" event configuration. What is served there? Why even have cat. 5? Iâ€™d really like to see more clubs step up and hold very low key Cat. 5 races on safe, nearby crit courses to provide more learning opportunities for new racers. My Club, the Reno Wheelmen do this all summer long.
2. I, too, am of the opinion that oneâ€™s category should reflect oneâ€™s current racing ability, not some honor badge of achievement. So I would like to see all Masters races spit into 1-2â€™s and 3-4â€™s with cat.5â€™s as addressed above. Just as the 35+ age group grew to the point of (almost) always being split into two groups, so should all Masters age events. I think the reasons (whether you agree or notâ€¦) have been hashed out sufficiently in this forum. Itâ€™s hard enough to train and travel great distances to races. Iâ€™d like to think I have a chance at a little glory on the podium.
And while I appreciate the gesture of a race combining 45+ age group (all categories) with the 55+ and picking out the top 55+ finishers, having us race together sometimes puts an unnatural â€œspinâ€( if you will) on the race outcome. The stronger 45+â€™s (no names please), rip the field apart, taking some of the 55+ riders with them. Placing behind a veritable â€˜whoâ€™s whoâ€ of National Masters Champions is okay sometimes, but really not what I am training and competing for. I feel more older masters racers would participate if all the events were split more equitably based on ability.
So thanks for reading. Thanks to everyone for your insights and opinions as well, keep â€˜em coming. And thank you to all the Promoters who have responded by splitting all their Masterâ€™s fields, not just the 35+ age group, but the 45+/55+ as well. I know that this can mean more race groups on already limited venues, but I think it partially explains the full fields these events have been experiencing.
The Jesster wrote:Okay, Warren. Uncle.
You should really meet my friend Jim Rusk of Cyclesport.
Next time lets' debate over a beer, at least.
The promoters will make up their own minds whether my original proposal makes sense.
I think some ideas about how to divide the age group got some air time, and for some promoters that may have been helpful.
I'll look for ya at the races.
Okay, Warren. Uncle.
You should really meet my friend Jim Rusk of Cyclesport.
Next time lets' debate over a beer, at least.
The Jesster wrote:
Gee, Warren, if I'd known I was riding to the detriment of my own argument, I wouldn't have pulled so hard in the breakaway.
I still don't understand you argument why the 45+ 1/2's should be given the advantage of racing against 3/4/5's?
I have not said that. I have said I don't think the 1/2's should, or even want to race with the 4/5's and I suspect the feeling is mutual. I have suggested the 45+ races be 45+ 1/2/3, just like the 35+ 1/2/3.
The Jesster wrote:And I still have not heard a single logical argument that the 45+ 3's are not presently disadvantaged (by age or ability) in every field they can choose to enter. MOST of the 35+ and 45+ Cat 3's I know, including those on my own team, feel that to be competitive they are forced to race against younger Cat.3 riders than against similarly-aged Cat.1 & 2 racers. An abrerrant break-away at one race (albeit a heroic and masterful one :P ) doesn't diminish the logic of my suggested redivision.
So, you're a 45+ 3 but you don't want to race with younger 3's, but you want 45+ 1/2's to race with the younger 1/2's. That's logical/fair to you?
You've said you feel disadvantaged when you race in 45+ open races, and 35+ 1/2/3 races, and Elite 3's races... It sounds like you should be a cat 4.
So dividing it up to to 45+ 3/4/5's will make you and your "disadvantaged" buddies happier? Why would you and your cat 3 buddies want to race against 4/5's, and 45+ 4/5's at that?
All of this in spite of the fact that several/many 45+ 3's are competitive in 45+ open races.
What do you think the 5's will think about having to race against 3's who are good enough to be competitive with the 45+ 1/2's? I'll bet they would prefer a division of 45+ 4/5's. Maybe you can ask them after the race on May 7.
I think the CAT5s should always have to race by themselves. The most dangerous CAT4 races are the the 4/5 mixed. Why not let all the inexperienced riders ride together reguardless of age. Promoters can always do two groups of 50 riders to get everyone into the race and make the 35+ 4/5 group a 4's only race. I'm sure the 45+ cat 4s can race with the 35+ cat 4s.
A Cat 5 rider who is 45+ ( or 35+) generally has options. Then can choose to do the open race or they can choose to do the 35+ 4/5 race ( normally) or they can choose to do the elite 5 race. I think most Cat 5s who are 45+ will do the 35+ 4/5 race ( if they are getting good guidance from their friends and teammates. Cat 5s who have some experience and are getting ready to upgrade may opt for the harder open race as a way to try out their readiness for upgrading.
Cat 4 for women isn't the same as Cat 5 for men. You have a number of riders who are basically Cat 4 rider for life. They maybe don't race a lot, don't have enough time to train to be competitive at the 1/2/3 level. Because of this you can't treat Cat 4 for women as the same as Cat 5 for men.
From the feedback I have heard there re experienced Cat 4 women racers who don't really like riding with the new Cat 4 women. This is one reason why we broke the Cat 4 women into an A and B group at the Early Birds. The A group was for more experienced women. Even though this group was always small this year a number of the experienced Cat 4 women preferred to ride in a small group than be combined with the less experienced women. I think the beginning Cat 4 women appreciated being in a group of just beginning women
But Casey, what kind of experience is it for a Cat.5 to have their first races in an open 35+ or 45+ field? Not the sort of racing experience that the rule is designed to promote. And certainly a combined men's 5/women's 4 field is better than their omission, which seems to be a trend. I'm all in favor of forcing, de facto by the sparse available spots, 5's and women's 4's to participate in Early Birds or other race training programs before they join the melee. Having been a mentor this year, I saw the remarkable progress of those novices. Everyone should have to have those tools.
What value is it to line them up in their novice races against Larry & Peter, Caldwell, or Morgan Stanley? Great to watch, but getting dropped doesn't develop pack skills or self-confidence.
I still don't understand you argument why the 45+ 1/2's should be given the advantage of racing against 3/4/5's? And I still have not heard a single logical argument that the 45+ 3's are not presently disadvantaged (by age or ability) in every field they can choose to enter. MOST of the 35+ and 45+ Cat 3's I know, including those on my own team, feel that to be competitive they are forced to race against younger Cat.3 riders than against similarly-aged Cat.1 & 2 racers. An abrerrant break-away at one race (albeit a heroic and masterful one :P ) doesn't diminish the logic of my suggested redivision.
Women 4s can race with Cat 5 men. I don't think this is very appealing to women though. If we were to only allow 5s into an elite 5 only type race ( say all the master races were 1/2/3/4 events only then each race would probably have to run at least 2 fields of Cat 5s each week. Remember we have over 1,000 cat 5s. If you only allow 50 of those Cat 5s to race each day you might end up with a lot of frustrated riders who can't race due to field limits and you may drive a lot of riders away from the sport. At least with the 35+ 4/5 races and the open 45+ races more Cat 5s get a chance to race each day which is probably better than turning away a lot of riders each week due to field limits.
The Jesster wrote:Logically, it makes the most sense to include a 45+ 3/4 or 45+ 3/4/5 field and eliminate the 45+ open field.
Good idea...what about adding this twist to it...all 5's race in the 5's race? Or races - would need more than one under this plan.
Think how this would look. No more 35+ 4/5, no 45+ 3/4/5...just - if you're a 5, you race in a 5s race. Make Cat5 what I thought it was originally which was the gateway to racing, results not quite so important, easy to upgrade out (experience only, no points involved). Seems OK to mix ages if that's the point of Cat5 ya?
Could Cat4 women race in men's 5's casey? If so could M/W be picked separately in that race? If so this might also leave a place for beginner women who didn't want to do a 3/4. Make 5s kind of like Cs at Hellyer.
It seems possible this could help clear up some things. Relieves the overloaded 35+ 4/5. Avoids having 45+ 2s beside 45+ 5s. Gives new women a race to get into without bumping up against 3s or p12s. Basically 5s becomes where new people race. And some might just stay there b/c 4s is actually a noticeable step up, harder, requires some training commitment, and of course has a pack with carbon everything.
From what I've seen, the 55's racing with the 45's don't tend to do much of their own racing. They mostly follow the action and save themselves for the sprint. There are only a few 55+ riders as exceptions to this. I think if the 4/5's are mixed with the 123's it would be similar, as well as more dangerous for all. If the 45+ 4/5's have their own race (start) the racing will be more enjoyable for most all of the 45+ riders.
The 35+ 4/5 fields tend to fill up so an additional 45+ 4/5's race would probably allow more of the 35+ 4/5's a chance to race instead of being shut out by a full field.
Thanks for your input... I'm the 45+ guy that entered the 35+ 4/5's
on both days (Land Park/Zamora) because I felt that I'd have a better chance of of a better finish than if I raced the 45+ class. It's been my position that you can do like you've done with the 45+ and 55+ or as done
with the womens classes. Just seperate the classes at the finish! I'll race with the 45+ class, if I know that I'm racing for position with the 4/5 classes. A seperation of a couple of minutes on a Road Race or 15 to 30 seconds on a Crit. Would not create an issue with the classes... In lots
of 45+ 55+ races the classes race together and it is stated the 55+
will be placed seperatly, as is done with the Womens races. 4's are
Racing because it's FUN...
The Jesster wrote:But Warren, we're not talking about your preference, nor any one rider's who happens to speak with you at a race. We're talking about a more logical division of racers according to ability and age, both. Of course, any change brings some dissatisfaction, which is why the decision should be based on logic rather than reaction. ....For what it's worth, I do have to confess that I was one of the four riders in that successful break at Land Park. I believe it was 3 3's and a 2,
Your race in Land Park was a clear example that 3's can in fact participate in 45+ races. You three cat 3's and one cat 2 managed to hold off all those cat 1,2's back in the field.
My "logic" says divide the age group at 45+1,2,3 and 45+ 4,5, just like the 35's have been for years.
Then all those 4's and 5's who do not want to race with the 1,2's can race in the 45+ 4,5's race and they won't have to race against 45+ 3's like us who are already competitive with 1,2's, and 45+ 3's can continue placing in the 45+ 123 races like they have been.
If you, as a 45+ 3 don't like this format then you could race with the younger guys in the 35+ 123 just as you'd have others do, and/or you can race with the Elite 3's, which as you probably know, are generally less difficult than the 45+ races.
As far as I know Nor Cal is one of the few places where masters are broken down by category on a regular basis ( ie 35+ 4/5 races). In other parts of the country you either race your category ( ie the elite categorized races) or your age. Other parts of the country are coming around though and you are seeing more categorized masters racing in other regions.
But Warren, we're not talking about your preference, nor any one rider's who happens to speak with you at a race. We're talking about a more logical division of racers according to ability and age, both. Of course, any change brings some dissatisfaction, which is why the decision should be based on logic rather than reaction.
It simply makes sense to have the 45+ category be a 3/4 race. The 1's and 2's presumably have an advantage over the 3's in the 35+ field (otherwise they should downgrade). More cat 4 masters who now ride 35+ 4/5, the most overpopulated category, would be drawn to race 45+ 3/4 instead, thus helping to distribute the overcrowding.
This is not a matter of personal preference. For what it's worth, I do have to confess that I was one of the four riders in that successful break at Land Park. I believe it was 3 3's and a 2, but in present 45's scheme the categories really are meaningless, aren't they?
Now I have to ask you:
In another thread about womens' divisions, Michael Hernandez asked Casey this rhetorical question:
How about I ask this question one more time: Would you ever consider running a male category 5 cyclist in a category 1/2 race?
Would you, Casey?
To which I say with amazement and irony, it is done all the time in the 45+! So why is it less astounding that the present 45+ division makes 45 year-old 5's, 4's and 3's race with the Cat. 1/2's?There is clearly a more sensible division.
As a promoter you're certainly welcome to chose any group of categories you wish. I think it's fine if promoters want to try out different groupings but I think it's a very bad idea to simply tell the 45+ 1,2's that they're too fast so they must always race with younger guys. It's just as unfair as telling all the 35+ 1,2's that they can no longer race with their age group and have to race only with the pro 1,2's.
I certainly wasn't taking a poll, but at Land Park a 45+ cat 3 who was far outside the top 50 in the 45+ BAR last year said he'd read what I'd wrote about this and he agreed that he prefers to race with the 45+ 1,2's instead of without them.
Who were those guys in the winning 4-man break at Land Park's 45+ race? How many are 1,2's? How about in the road race winning break on Sunday?
As for Cat 3's upgrading, it's really tough to get the points in 45+ races given the level of the competition and the smaller field sizes.
Ego isn't involved in 1,2's who want to race with their own age group along with the 35+ races. If they downgraded themselves to cat 3 as you suggest so they could do your races it wouldn't make them slower.
You talk about "those who can do full-time training..." The 45+ riders you cite and all the top 45+ guys I know train 8 hours some weeks and up to 12 hours in other weeks-hardly full-time. Who, in the 45+ field trains "full-time"? Which 45+ guys placed in the 1,2 pro races this past weekend? Have a look at the 35+ BAR results for the 45+ guys.
I've done a few 45+ races where there weren't many of the 45+ 1,2's in the race and the racing was easier, less interesting, and not as safe.
The original vein of this discussion was the logic of replacing the 45+ open category with a 45+ 3/4 (5) category. After thinking about it over the weekend, I agree with Warren that the 45's need not, in fact should not, ride with the 5's. The 5's cat is not designed for achievement but for experience. Thus, the inclusion of cat 5's in the 45+ group is unnecessary. They should get their experience races in a Cat5 category or the 35+5. Getting shelled by Caldwell and the champs isn't the same sort of experience as riding in a peloton of 5's.
As for the AltoVelo track champs in the 45+ 3's, I can't help it if people don't upgrade. If they are that fast, they should be (and obviously are capable of) racing in the 35+ 1/2/3 or open pro 1/2 fields.
The fact that some 45+ racers work full-time and only have 8 hours per week to train, or have family obligations, is not a strong argument against the 45+ 3/4 field. In fact, it is a strong argument in favor of removing those with the advantage of full-time training. You tell me that Caldwell, Peter Allen, Larry Nolan, etc.. don't compete on par with those field. I rode in both races last weekend and know it's not true.
I agree wholeheartedly that those 45+ 1's or 2's who would feel slighted by my proposal should be heard from ... but none has said so. I also agree that they could downgrade to a 3 if they are too busy to train to keep their 1/2 status, and then keep age-group racing as their focus. Ego should not be used as a reason for illogical divisions and promoting competition on par.
The dilemma for the 45+ 3's and 4's is easily solved. And I'll be happy to discuss the logic of it anytime (after the races). I'm Jess, the Jesster, Zebraman, from the Berkeley Bicycle Club.
JoeRacer wrote:Upgrade to a 3 and then you can race with them all the time...
I don't think Casey takes 11th or 12th places into consideration for points even if they are earned in an open race.
Quote:I raced Snelling in the 45+ class and with'in short
order we caught the 35+ 4/5 B group and they had a 5 min. head start.
Actually I agree the 45+ are a normally a lot faster than the 35 4/5 pack but in this case this statement is not entirely true. It took the 45's 2 1/2 laps to catch the them, then they were overtaken again and refused to neutralize, the 35's then slowed down but kept on catching up to the 45 pack so one guy actually went to the front held both arms out and "self neutralized" the 35's until the 45's had put some distance into them.
Upgrade to a 3 and then you can race with them all the time...
I'm a 4 but regularly do the open 45+'s. I relish the opportunity to mix it with the older 1's and 2's and often finish in the top dozen. I like the idea of some of the races especially the hilly ones to have a 45 4/5 race but would be pissed if you took away my racing with the big boys.
Mad Axeman wrote:Casey, I can't help but feel that your opinion on many topics is just a bit out of touch with the riders and based only on the book. There are way too many "shoulds" and "supposed to's" in your messages.
I know there was a point in time when you raced, but that point is long before I ever even jumped on a bike, and that has been nearly ten years now.
It's just my opinion, but I really would like to see decisions and opinions about upgrades and things that directly affect what happens in the peloton to come from those who are actively racing. Even if it is only a little.
Organizational stuff, race promotion topics, and things that make the NCNCA the great organization that it is, you are the go to man and we all appreciate your endless work. Topics that directly affect the riders, uh...not so much.
If we didn't live in such a lawsuit happy society then maybe upgrades wouldn't have to be such by the book things. Unfortunately when bad things happen to a lot of people ( like being badly injured in a crash) they will look for any reason to sue someone. Up until this year riders could self upgrade in NORBA up to the expert level after doing only 1 race. This year for liability reasons NORBA upgrade guidelines have been pout in place that require riders to earn an upgrade to the expert level. In NORBA rider can now self upgrade only to the sport level. In road racing there are more safety issues involved that affect upgrading.
After talking with experienced racers and looking at patterns in upgrade numbers if I feel there is a need to address an issue then I work with USAC to address the issue. This is why we have the NCNCA alternative point system for 3 to 2 upgrade points.
78busman wrote:I raced Snelling in the 45+ class and with'in short
order we caught the 35+ 4/5 B group and they had a 5 min. head start.
The 4/5s would probably need a 20 minute head start to keep Caldwell off of their tails. That must be a fearsome group to ride in.
Casey, I can't help but feel that your opinion on many topics is just a bit out of touch with the riders and based only on the book. There are way too many "shoulds" and "supposed to's" in your messages.
casey wrote:People should remember that your racing category is independent of your age. Your racing category is suppose to reflect your current racing abilities, not some kind of lifetime achievement. If a Cat 1 or 2 rider who is 45+ can no longer be competitive in an elite 1/2 race then they really should downgrade. If you are a Cat 2 it doesn't matter if you are 14 or 40 you should be able to be competitive in an elite 2 race. if you are a 2 and you are no longer able to be competitive in an elite 2 event they you should be downgrading.
Then you'll have to do automatic upgrades after each of about 6 guys in the 45's each get their downgrades, just based on the upgrade points they each accumulate from the 45+ and 35+ races they do.
As a original poster requarding the separation of the 45+ classes
Warren I agree with you. Classes should be 45+ 1/2/3 and 45+ 4/5's.
Alameda should be an example as to the numbers that will show
for a 4/5 class race. Pre-Reg. showed that the class was almost
full, and I think full as of race day. This weekend I'm racing Landpark and Zamora in the 35+ 4/5's, only because I still feel the 45+ is still unfairly grouped. I raced Snelling in the 45+ class and with'in short
order we caught the 35+ 4/5 B group and they had a 5 min. head start.
Seem to remember seeing that LN just raced a 35+ 1/2/3 race and won.
"TUFF" to compete with that. 45+ 1/2/3 deserve to race in their own class
with out the fear of 4/5's, and 45+ 4/5's just deserve to have a chance...
Racing because I love to have fun....
I think the whole point of this growing sentiment amongst racers is that there ARE differences in ability in age-group riders. We've got to face the realities of our sport ... namely, that riders are racing (and putting lots o' dough into the sport) into their 'golden years.'
The category system of the USCF might need to be revamped at somepoint to adjust to this changing customer base, eh?
I see no reason that a 47 year-old should downgrade just because he can't compete in a pro/1 100+ mile RR. In that same vein, i see little reason for an entry level 45 year-old man to race against said same racer. And let me tell you, that 47 year-old very well might spank that snot out of a 23 year-old boy-O in a 90 minute crit, eh?
And similar-like, it's unfair to ask an entry level 43 year-old woman to compete against a 32 year-old pro/category 1 woman racer.
These are all organizational growth issues that can be addressed by a bit of sound planning tempered by rational dialogue from members and employees of the organization.
so, let's keep up the discussion, eh?
People should remember that your racing category is independent of your age. Your racing category is suppose to reflect your current racing abilities, not some kind of lifetime achievement. If a Cat 1 or 2 rider who is 45+ can no longer be competitive in an elite 1/2 race then they really should downgrade. If you are a Cat 2 it doesn't matter if you are 14 or 40 you should be able to be competitive in an elite 2 race. if you are a 2 and you are no longer able to be competitive in an elite 2 event they you should be downgrading.
What is your real name?
You're suggesting that 45+ 1,2's race with the 35 123 and pro 12's, instead of with racers of similar age. How is this fair to the 45+ 12's? Why not ask the 35+ 12's to race with the pro 12's also?
Asking the 45+ guys to race with the pro 12's isn't fair because they're up against some full-time bike racers, some of whom are 20+ years younger. The pro12 races are often so long that they are somewhat beyond the length that a 45+ guy can prepare for with the 8-10 hours a week most of them have.
Before you speak for all the 45+ 3's maybe you can ask them what they think because I for one, dsagree with splitting out the 12's and making the 3's race with 5's. And ask all the 45+ 12's what they think because I know for a fact that some would disagree with your proposal.
Better to split the event as 45+ 123, and 45+ 45. The skill levels will match better, and believe me this is really important for the 5's as well as the 123's.
Did you know there are 3 guys in Alto Velo who are 45+ Cat 3's who won masters track national championships last year?
Warren, you say:
"If you're upset because 4 of the top guys go off the front then form your own break behind them. If you're upset that you lose to the same top guys in the sprint then be satisfied that you were 6th and all the guys in front of you have been national champions."
My post wasn't discussing whether I am "upset," nor whether you feel safe racing with 4's. I proposed a more logical and fair division of the categories than what presently exists at most races.
Just because you have met your personal goals by finishing sixth to former national champions does not mean there is not a more fair and logical alternative that allows a more even playing field for competition -- an essential component of which includes competitors of similar abilities being matched together.
One wouldn't have to divorce Larry and Peter. One could always sign up for the 35+ 1/2/3 to get schooled by the champs.
Why? Because 45+ Cat. 1 and 2 riders are good enough to compete to win in the 35+ 1/2/3 field. Any disadvantage of age (which is arguably none at all) is overcome by the advantage of competing against a field containing 3's.
As it stands now, the 45+ 3's are getting the proverbial screw. The 45+ 4/5 riders can (and generally do) compete in the 35+ 4/5 field. But 45+ 3's have to choose between competing against 1's and 2's in the open 45+ cat or in the 35+ 1/2/3, or against all comers in the Elite 3's.
Thus, the most fair solution is to include a 45+ 3/4 or 45+ 3/4/5 field and eliminate the 45+ open field. Isn't that simply logical?
I'm a 45+ 3 and I would much rather compete with a 45+ 123 field than have to encounter the problems inherrent when the most capable riders have to race with 4's and 5's. If there is a 45+ 3,4,5 race offered I'd likely skip it for safety reasons and because I prefer competing with 10-20 very capable 45's instead of just a handful.
Just because national-class riders win most of the 45+ races doesn't mean the other riders can't test their own abilities in the race. If you're upset because 4 of the top guys go off the front then form your own break behind them. If you're upset that you lose to the same top guys in the sprint then be satisfied that you were 6th and all the guys in front of you have been national champions. Yours could be a fine race result.
FWIW, virtually all of the top guys in the 45+ average close to 9 hours per week of training. For the most part, their training methods are very effective so they can get maximum benefit from that limited amount of time.
Did you know that VO2max declines approximately 1 unit (~2%) per year after (approximately) age 35? Strength too.