Sawing the violin for the 45+ 3/4 category.
"In the world of men's racing, no group is more disadvantaged than the 45+ 3's." - Zebraman, circa 2006
In the NCNCA there are only 14 Cat.1 45+ riders. As shown below, they won almost all of the open 45+ crits last year.
There are 642 cat 3/4 45+ racers. They won once.
The 2006 inequity:
In crit's in 2006, the numbers tell the story. First of all, Velo Promo doesn't offer a 45+ field at all. C'mon Bob, get with the program!
In those races for which results are available online, the inequity is startling! In 45+ open cat races, only one crit last year was won by someone other than an "uber" (cat.1/2)! That was Bernie's win at Land Park in a 4-man non-uber breakaway. (The ubers did take the top spots in the pack sprint, however.)
In fact, there was only one other race in which the ubers did not take both first and second place (Dash 4 Cash), and only three others in which the entire podium was not ubers!! (Coyote Crk, Burl and Fremont - Cat 3's took third place).
Please don't get me wrong. I think the world of Larry, Peter, Steve, Bubba and Marc, and I'll continue to race them as best I can. But the results show that those five guys always take the crit prizes. Some sports think that balanced competition is a good thing.
Present a 45+ 3/4 field. Equity makes for good racing. The 45+ 3/4 races at last year's EMC and this year's Cherry Pie were great, evenly-matched competitions.
Many more 45's will enthusiastically participate in racing crits knowing that there's a chance they'll get to podium. And they'll ride harder for the win, knowing they won't automatically get plastered by an uber in the sprint. Thus, it's good for the sport.
The NorCal demographics strongly support a 45+ 3/4 field. 642 racers makes the 45+3/4 category bigger than the Elite 3's, the Elite 4's the 5's or the combined womens' cat's!!
It's just plain logic. It's not for me or my team or anyone else. If I can get the points, I'll upgrade to uberdom and race against the younger and the stronger con gusto until I'll too old or too slow to do so. This is just about numbers and keeping the sport vibrant and competitive.