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Sandbaggers in "C" or is it me?(20 posts)

Sandbaggers in "C" or is it me?pitt83
Oct 20, 2003 4:13 AM
I did my first CX race yesterday; got lapped at the end. I had a great time, but finished about 6th from last of 40. I raced beginner MTB and had one third place this year and usually finish in the top 1/4 of the field.

I know technique means a lot in CX. If you're 5 seconds slower on a barrier than another guy, 10 barriers per lap means 3-4 minutes of total time lost. I didn't think I did that poorly; a couple of true misses re-mounting, but overall, OK.

So, was my C race overly competitive? Were some true A/B riders sandbagging? Using the C race as warm ups? Beating the rain and getting a race in early? This course not for me? Should I try masters next time?
to answer, yes and no.buffalosorrow
Oct 20, 2003 6:18 AM
Yesterdays race in Vernon Ct "fox hill" was a good example. The weather turned nastly and the course has an near impossible, well very difficult winding long hill climb. I heard in the parking lot a lot of riders dropping to the C race. Guessing they typically ride B's. The field was good, 49 riders and a light rain/drizzle, the temp dropped to the mid 40's and there was a chill in the air.
Note that at the start we had a show of hands of to whom this I a first cross race, and nearly half raised. Mostly road riders racing the off season training thing, I assume.

The race was great, well on my behalf. At least ten riders DNF, drivetrain, flats and a few accidents. And somehow by the grace of the singlespeed gods, I placed 17th and had another great sprinting, screaming, nose to nose finish. I got alot of support, and those first season cross roadies were verbally assualted by their coach for getting passed up on the incline by a skinny, tattooed, singlespeed'er.

In my opinion there are more riders this season, alot of first season riders, better show, bigger fields, more races and and overall grander cross season, that is getting more competative. I can race the B's, but place poorly in my opinion, so I decided to ride the C's and have a good competative finish. Although I promise if I start to place top 3 in the C's, I will bump up to B's.

Regarding your questions:

So, was my C race overly competitive? Yes, they are taking a turn for this, its not a romp through the woods.
Were some true A/B riders sandbagging? yes, they will depending on the course, weather, just to win the race (unfair as I see it).
Using the C race as warm ups? No, according to regulations, I do not think one can race both A and C , yet masters can race C and maters. (need to double check)
Beating the rain and getting a race in early? Sure, this can happen, but this seperates the men from the boys.
This course not for me? If it was the "Fok Hill" race, man that was difficult for all, dont sweat it and place better next race. Practice, practice, practice.
Should I try masters next time? Uh, nah, if you had a hard time with the 30min C, the maters is 45min.
That's the racepitt83
Oct 20, 2003 6:34 AM
Actually, I think the hill worked in my favor. I spent all summer training for Mt Washington and am in good climbing shape. That was the only place I passed anyone.

Since this was my first, I'm convinced it's technique. If you take 5 seconds of sucking at each barrier and multiply it out, you get a huge time gap overall. I chicken s#!tted the down hill on my first 2 laps, not good if you want to make time.

I just thought that for as much as I was suffering, I'd place better. Probably do better at Farmington.
That's the racecrosstrained
Oct 20, 2003 7:16 AM
I was there too.....It was my 1st bicycle race. I did hear some talk before the race about some sandbagging going on,but who knows? I got lapped also. It was a really fun race though!! I may try masters class just so I can be out there for longer. The course was a blast but the downhill was a little scary on the 1st lap....I will definitely do more races (and more training and practicing on barriers)in the future.
the downhill, next weeks race in CTbuffalosorrow
Oct 20, 2003 12:01 PM
I spoke with my friend (he placed 10th) about that downhill, he said just bomb it! yes it was frightfull, but you can make alot of time on it over some that were breaking down. True also on the other post, technique will get some culminative minutes. All these "shortcuts" makes one a better rider.

Next sunday: HVVC cyclocross Sunday October 26. at YMCA Camp Sloper, Southington CT.(All proceeds benefit the YMCA)

Course: Generally flat with a couple short climbs and plenty false flats. Run-ups moderate. There are 4 barrier sections (2 barriers ea.) The terrain consists of grass fields, woodchip running trails and pavement. There are two wooden bridges.

Hope to see you there!
Eric (orange and black CX singlespeed, black longsleeve skinsuit, perhaps a green fiat jersey if chilly)
re: to answer, yes and no.snwbdrhoon
Oct 21, 2003 10:14 AM
glad to hear that you placed so well BS...

keep it up!
re: Sandbaggers in "C" or is it me?skateparks
Oct 20, 2003 6:35 AM
Here are my thoughts as they pertain to my little corner of the world....the only people out there racing this time of year are the most dedicated from MTB and road, and generally the most dedicated are the fastest (generalization). Now consider that you don't actually go out and "RIDE" CX (you "ride" your road bike or MTB) and that it is a race-only sport (again, a generalization). No one walks into a shop and says "I want to go CX riding" for their introduction to cycling, it's always a road bike or MTB.

In a nutshell, CX has very few beginners to cycling. At every race, the beginner fields are full of faces that I have been seeing for years on the club rides and MTB group rides, and for the most part, they are all of the better guys and girls, that's why they're there racing at 30 degrees in the mud...they're dedicated...but they are beginners to CX.

Masters may be an alternative but the field is generally more stacked with second or third-year CX riders not ready to move up to "B" (or moving DOWN from "B"). The race is longer which may be better for some people.

Also, the nice thing about CX that I have found is that the winners from one week may not be able to excel at next weeks' course. Give it a few races, look for the riders that you are often close to and judge yourself against them.

Have fun,

Thanks for the encouragementpitt83
Oct 20, 2003 7:16 AM
I'm definately doing more. You've confirmed what I've been thinking; that CX has those riders who are least likely doing it "for the hell of it". Probably the top 10% of the racing group and I'm going with them.

I'll make some barriers and practice; see how it goes in a few weeks.
CX and competitiveness..dotkaye
Oct 24, 2003 9:58 AM
I think this hits the nail on the head: "the only people out there racing this time of year are the most dedicated from MTB and road, and generally the most dedicated are the fastest"

Same thing happens in running - I can place top 3 in my age group quite often in road races, in cross-country I'm lucky to make the top 50%. It's the fast strong dedicated guys/gals that race cross.. and of course wannabes like me.
Another new crosser checking inCoolhand
Oct 20, 2003 9:49 AM
My first cross race ever was 2 weeks ago. I raced both C and B (big mistake- I was wiped out at the end), so doing one race as a warm up doesn't seem too smart. The fast A riders pre-ride the course a bit then hit the trainer until right before the start- more controlled conditions and no chance of destroying yourself or your equipment.

I ended up pulling 6th in the C's without knowing what I was doing race-wise. So I decided just to race B's from now on. I won't have a chance to win now, but you get a longer race with more skilled riders. Riding some of the technical sections with the C's can be a bit scary.

I did notice a decent amount of sandbaggers running the C race. It's kind of silly to me, as you don't improve unless you ride with better riders. Plus a few friends ride B, so I can suffer with familiar faces!

it's not that simpleiktome
Oct 20, 2003 1:07 PM
you've got to understand the problems inherent in trying to use only 3 classes to separate a wide variety of talents and skill levels. there is no way that each category can be competitive from first to last. the first rider will always be well ahead of the last rider, or even those in the middle. of course, those that do well should move up, but someone has to win, and we shouldn't require everyone that does well in a class to cat up. if that were the case, C would be pretty small and slow, B would be equally small and contain those just faster than the Cs, and A would have everyone else. nor should you compare the C winners to middle pack or lower B racers. a lot of B racers would actually belong in a D class if one existed, but let their discomfort with racing in the bottom class overcome their good sense. so the C leaders would likely place well to decent in B in all circumstances.

of course, i don't know you nor the particulars of your race. if i were to get lapped, i'd wonder whether sand bagging were going on as well. so take this for whatever it's worth. i just think "sandbagger" is thrown around too much, and often not where it should be.
Agree...Dwayne Barry
Oct 21, 2003 4:57 AM
it's pretty hard to determine a sandbagger from a single race. How do you know it wasn't the front runners first race ever?

Sandbagging is consistently finishing at the front of a ability based class and not moving up when there is a faster class available.
Being lappedskateparks
Oct 21, 2003 6:22 AM
in a race with 5 minute laps is no big deal, but at 10-12 minutes you might have some concerns.

I've never been lapped but I have never raced a really short course either.

Be glad you have a C division...Farmpunker
Oct 21, 2003 9:23 AM
Where I race, there are three groups. 20-29 Senoir A Men. 30-39 Master Men, and a B group of everyone 30 and above.
I'm 28, and just race cross. I get lapped every race. Our races are generally an hour, or an hour plus a lap. I'd love to have a second tier of racing, but there aren't enough racers. There are fast guys, and slow guys.
I wouldn't worry too much about your first race results. Work on technique and find someone to level yourself against. Don't worry about what's happening up front until you get there.
I like that answerpitt83
Oct 21, 2003 10:26 AM
"Don't worry about what's happening up front until you get there"

I need that.
watch the mastersatpjunkie
Oct 21, 2003 8:53 PM
most of these guys are ex cat 1-2's and are faster than most B's.
I wish they had master's B's or better yet age group Clydesdale. It's tough when you are 40 and over 220, without a "B' masters I get my a$$ handed to me by the 'ex-pro' masters, if I run B's (or C's) I'm racing guys 15 years my junior and 60 or so lbs lighter. this year has been tough as I've had physical and mechanical jinxes so I'm trying to come into form now. oh well, it's all about having fun while throwing a lung anyway. yes, there are sandbaggers in the B's and C's divisions of cx.
i heard ya man!marcoxxx
Oct 22, 2003 12:22 PM
our local series ...masters will be all a/b riders...beginners/c class just as bad(look at all those shaved legged beginner team riders!) I do not cx race anymore, same ole,same ole every season.

The solution would be to add age brackets for each class like in mtn bike racing. I bet the beginners & masters fields would not look so sandbagged then and get a lot more riders racing.
Well, you can't sandbag...Dwayne Barry
Oct 23, 2003 6:44 AM
a Master's field because it's not an ability-based class, it's age-based. If you meet the age requirement you should be able to race it, guilt-free. If you meet the age-requirement and think it's too fast for you, then there is always the B (Lap times for Master's are usually slightly faster than the B race, almost never as fast as the A), or C race as an option.
age based and guilt freeatpjunkie
Oct 23, 2003 8:57 PM
but if you aren't an ex cat 1 or 2 you usually get lapped. Like you said Masters are faster than the B's and almost the A's. I've seen guys race their age group and win, then race A's and podium.
It's why I wish they'd divide age and class, have age group B's. Otherwise if you are 40 or 35 or 45 etc and a Cat 3-4 or 5 you either race against guys your age who are faster than the B's or
other guys your Cat but 15 years your junior. Most people just wanna compete and it's tough when you can't find a niche.
Well, I know in CADwayne Barry
Oct 24, 2003 5:06 AM
they do that for road racing. There are Master's 4/5 fields out there, but unless you have the numbers it's hard to have so many fields. Plus, there's nothing wrong with racing against guys that are younger than you and there is always the C race.