At the Cross Crusade debut, there were some dudes racing Beginner that were pretty fast. Eighteen of them were at least a lap faster than the remaining 120 or so racing in that class. I’d say that those Eighteen ought to move on to a higher category and I would recommend the Bs as a reasonable destination.
I suggest the Bs because those guys completed 6 laps in the 40 minute race and the Bs finished 7 laps in the 45 minute race. I think those races went a little longer than advertised and the leaders of both those races were putting in lap times around 8 minutes. Shoot, I was racing 8:30 laps in the 35+A race so those guys were going faster than I was and I’d be racing Bs if I weren’t age grouping it. The winner of the beginner race was making some weak argument about being worried about getting in the way in the B race. If that’s his concern, he should just line up at the back of the Bs and race hard.
I started my first Cross Crusade race as a B. I’d gone to a couple of the clinics and had pretty good fitness — probably like a very fit recreational rider. I’d raced some mountain bikes a while back and I’d done a couple road races too. A few years ago when I started, the Cs were essentially the beginner category and I figured I really wasn’t a beginner. After all, I was decent at the skills and knew how to race. I got my ass kicked in the Bs but I wasn’t last.
I’m not saying I’m mister perfect especially since I dropped down to the Cs the next year. However, over the next couple seasons, I managed my way up to the 35+A race where fast guys show me what’s what on a weekly basis.
Isn’t that what competition is all about? There are a bunch of guys way faster than me on the line every week. There are some really fast A racers starting ahead of me too. Last weekend, I only got lapped by two As — Shannon Skerrit and Erik Tonkin. Some folks racing who didn’t lap me? Adam McGrath, Carl Decker, Aaron Olsen, Molly Cameron. Last year, I would have gotten tagged a lap by a bunch of As and this year in the first race it was two.
So maybe I’m not finishing in the points but I know I’m getting faster. I’ve got goals like not getting lapped by anybody. I’ve even got a bigger goal of finishing top ten and there are a couple races where that might actually happen.
So what cat should you start in? Dunno. I guess you just have to make a gut check and decide what your goals are. Where does your satisfaction come from. Do you get your jollies beating down on some weekend warriors racing their out of shape hearts out? Or do you want to jump into the flames and get your short hairs singed — where you might just learn more and get faster. You just never know what you are capable of until you get pushed to your limits.
I vote for racing hard against the tough guys.
And to all you racers out there stuck in USCF land? Bummer, dude. Earn those points and get your butt up the ladder.