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Low turnouts for cat 5 this year? Is there a zwift effect going on?

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Low turnouts for cat 5 this year? Is there a zwift effect going on?

Old 03-07-16, 09:37 AM
  #26  
rankin116
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Originally Posted by topflightpro View Post
Eh, road racing turnout across the board has been going down for a couple years now. It's one of the big issues USAC is trying to tackle. Some areas remain stronger than others. But there has been a lot of growth in gravel racing and cyclocross, which makes some sense. The initial entry costs are lower - you can use mountain bikes - and in the case of cross, it's much more spectator friendly. Also, the perceived risk is lower.

And let's be honest, road racing is a fairly brutal sport. It's horribly demoralizing to put all those hours in training and then get your ass handed to you in your first race.
You rang?
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Old 03-07-16, 09:39 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by Ygduf View Post
The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise.
Amazing that children have been ruining society since ancient Greek philosophers!
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Old 03-07-16, 10:32 AM
  #28  
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Well I'll do my part by doing some races this year. Will start next week with one of those training races and then two crits and a TT during the weekend. I have no clue what I'm doing but I look forward to it.

Originally Posted by andr0id View Post
There are now a lot of strong riders with absolutely terrible bike handling skills
That sounds like me, except for the strong part.
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Old 03-07-16, 10:37 AM
  #29  
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It was mentioned that it takes lots of hours and hard training to be mediocre, or dropped, or whatever. But that doesn't make sense to me. I actually settled on cycling over running, tri, spartan race, because it's easier to do well, at least at the lower levels (well also it turned out to be super fun). Even in cat 3 I have a shot at the win. With running I know ahead of time where I stack up, and I aint gonna be top 10. Ever. It's all fitness, genetics. Cycling is at least a bit more balanced. At least there are multiple energy systems and skills involved.
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Old 03-07-16, 10:39 AM
  #30  
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The cost issue is that the crashing and getting hurt is expensive relative to other sports. Other sports, if you tweak and ankle or sprain a wrist playing tennis or basketball or soccer, it's not that big of a deal. But breaking a bike is expensive, and not to mention the opportunity cost of missing work by getting seriously hurt, which has happened to a large percentage of people here. At worst, in other sports, a torn ACL or achilles will suck and sideline you for months, but it won't cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars in sports equipment.
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Old 03-07-16, 10:42 AM
  #31  
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I'd say that's frivolous, recovery from a torn acl is a bit better than a broken collarbone in that you can schedule when you're out a bit less urgently, but is a similar amount of time out of work, and the medical bills are expensive compared to fixing bikes.
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Old 03-07-16, 11:34 AM
  #32  
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IMO, social media, the loss of an entire generation of pro cyclists to PEDs and sanctions and the lack of an emerging winning USA pro cyclist or group of pros are the reasons.

The drugs dried up the sponsorship money and Lance turned out to be not just a doper but a bad guy. Without a promotion machine and star power, many prospective new entrants have little to fantasize about. Most know they do not want to be like Lance and his entire gang.

Add in all the endless social media about all the negative aspects (including doping) of bike racing and one would wonder why anyone would do it.

Those of us who are in figure out what we like and do our best to manage the risks and have a great time with the sport. We have a lot of sunk cost and specific training so why change to another sport. New entrants have a lot of competing choices.

If you look at British cycling and the lottery money spent in conjunction with the success of Sir Chris Hoy and Sir Bradley Wiggins, cycling is exploding in the UK. The queen knighted those guys. USADA destroyed our guys. Hell, Wiggins and Cav just won the UCI World Track Madison again in London and it was amazing to watch. I can visualize a lot of young men (and women) wanting to race at the track and be like Wiggins and Cav.
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Old 03-07-16, 11:47 AM
  #33  
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Countdown till someone associated with Team GB or Sky gets popped...

Also note that GB failed in all the real events save for Kenny's sprint win. Wiggins himself said before that Madison is an afterthought and now that they've won its turned into this fairytale story by the cycling media. If Cav were honest he'd trade his win for Gaviria's in a heartbeat.
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Old 03-07-16, 11:48 AM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by grwoolf View Post
I don't know if this is just a central texas thing, but I've seen pretty low turnouts for Cat 5 races this year. Normally, these are the first to fill up.

My team puts on one of the big texas races every year and we normally have 2 different cat 5 groups because 1 can't handle all the demand. This year, it was at least 50% dropoff on cat 5 numbers, despite nice weather. There might be some other factors (change in venue), but I've seen the same thing in a couple other races and was wondering whether this is a trend.

I was thinking zwift might be enough to keep some people from trying the real thing. If I had tried a zwift race first, I could see being discouraged from trying a real race. I find hanging with the "C" race in zwift harder than a real Cat 3 or Masters Open race, so that is not an appropriate level to start at from a fitness perspective. If an aspiring racer is getting dropped constantly on Zwift, I could see them not wanting to pay $40 and brave the real world if they think they have no chance of hanging on. Many aspiring racers also tend to focus too much on whether they are fit enough to race before trying (and don't think about the other skills). I think Zwift is only going to compound the "fitness focus".
What part of Texas? all races ive been seem to be full esp in Austin and Houston.
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Old 03-07-16, 11:52 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by Hermes View Post
IMO, social media, the loss of an entire generation of pro cyclists to PEDs and sanctions and the lack of an emerging winning USA pro cyclist or group of pros are the reasons.

The drugs dried up the sponsorship money and Lance turned out to be not just a doper but a bad guy. Without a promotion machine and star power, many prospective new entrants have little to fantasize about. Most know they do not want to be like Lance and his entire gang.

Add in all the endless social media about all the negative aspects (including doping) of bike racing and one would wonder why anyone would do it.

Those of us who are in figure out what we like and do our best to manage the risks and have a great time with the sport. We have a lot of sunk cost and specific training so why change to another sport. New entrants have a lot of competing choices.

If you look at British cycling and the lottery money spent in conjunction with the success of Sir Chris Hoy and Sir Bradley Wiggins, cycling is exploding in the UK. The queen knighted those guys. USADA destroyed our guys. Hell, Wiggins and Cav just won the UCI World Track Madison again in London and it was amazing to watch. I can visualize a lot of young men (and women) wanting to race at the track and be like Wiggins and Cav.
Thing with the USA is it is an entirely different can of worms to most of the road cycling hotspots of the world.

A) Roads in the USA are badly maintained as a rule.
B) Drivers on those roads are maniacs as a rule who as a rule, rightly or wrongly, believe that anything with fewer than 4 wheels shouldn't be on the roads. And will make your existence as a cyclist on those roads a very nerve-wracking experience. Further, a driver can negligently hit and kill a cyclist and not even get jail time in the USA more often than not.
C) Folks in the USA work the most hours and get the fewest off of most 1st world countries in the world. Hard to train and motivate yourself to race when you finished one 8 hour/day job only to have to work another.

For kids, the high cost of entry in equipment alone is a huge barrier. Most parents won't blow $1000USD on a road bike for the kiddo that odds are 99% will just get broken, or stolen from school, or worse not even be ridden. Hard to have adults excited to cycle and race when as kids they never even had a nice bike they wanted to ride.

D) For kids, many places have gotten so overprotective of kids that they don't even want them walking or riding a bike to school. We've all seen the stories of parents getting charged with crimes over such.

A, B, and C are enough to make many adult roadies not want to be roadies and forget about racing. I know many folks who refuse to ride on any road without a shoulder due to A/B/C....which in these parts of the Great Plains means that 99% of roads going anywhere are off their list. Couple all that with the inherent dangers of a Cat5 race to body and bike.... we should be asking "why would people want to race?" rather than "why aren't they racing?". Myself, I just enjoy riding a bike and heck with needing to compete with anyone.
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Old 03-07-16, 11:59 AM
  #36  
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It also seems to me that cycling in the US has a bit of an 'old person sport' aura. Lots of older guys doing it, or at least it looks that way. These older folks also tend to have really nice rigs, which could make one think that you need a $5k+ bike to be 'serious' about it. Plus unless you are in a few select cities, it is a bit hard to find any events, so most people are completely unaware such a thing as competitive cycling even exists.
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Old 03-07-16, 01:24 PM
  #37  
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USAC could significantly lower the cost barriers to entry by banning carbon wheels and TT bikes in Cat 5 and Cat 4 fields. I got a good laugh on Saturday seeing not one but two S-Works Venges with deep-dish ENVEs/Zipps lined up at the start for the Cat 4 field in Central Park.
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Old 03-07-16, 01:29 PM
  #38  
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But did the guys riding the s-works venge go 1-2?
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Old 03-07-16, 01:40 PM
  #39  
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Originally Posted by FFJ View Post
USAC could significantly lower the cost barriers to entry by banning carbon wheels and TT bikes in Cat 5 and Cat 4 fields. I got a good laugh on Saturday seeing not one but two S-Works Venges with deep-dish ENVEs/Zipps lined up at the start for the Cat 4 field in Central Park.
wut
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Old 03-07-16, 01:44 PM
  #40  
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Greenville Spring Series Cat 5 turnout seems to be up this year from last year (based on my quick look). Hell, the women's P123 field had 20-30 riders each race.
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Old 03-07-16, 02:23 PM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by FFJ View Post
USAC could significantly lower the cost barriers to entry by banning carbon wheels and TT bikes in Cat 5 and Cat 4 fields. I got a good laugh on Saturday seeing not one but two S-Works Venges with deep-dish ENVEs/Zipps lined up at the start for the Cat 4 field in Central Park.
I don't get this. The only thing you NEED to enter a race is a license, helmet, and a bike.
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Old 03-07-16, 02:28 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by TexMac View Post
What part of Texas? all races ive been seem to be full esp in Austin and Houston.
Central Texas. I'm just going off what I saw at Copperas Cove, Apache Pass, and Pace bend where I saw the low Cat5 numbers despite awesome weather. I was at Lago Vista and attendance was OK in the 35+ 4/5 races, but I didn't note the numbers in the pure 4/5 race or what the mix of Cat 5's were compared to Cat 4's.

I didn't do any careful analysis, but I know Copperas Cove only had ~30 starters in their only Cat 5 group. I drove the follow vehicle for one of the Cat5 races at Apache pass and we had 14 starters and I think our other Cat 5 race had less than 30. All of these races had unseasonably warm/dry weather, which makes the drop off seem strange. Maybe people are looking to suffer in the cold and rain this time of year.
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Old 03-07-16, 02:35 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by rankin116 View Post
I don't get this. The only thing you NEED to enter a race is a license, helmet, and a bike.
You know that. I know that. But most Cat 6's don't. Just see the 41.
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Old 03-07-16, 03:06 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by caloso View Post
You know that. I know that. But most Cat 6's don't. Just see the 41.
I think that's the not so well known Cat 41
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Old 03-07-16, 03:27 PM
  #45  
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My open pro/105 wheels and 25 gatorskins worked perfectly for me. Zipps and fast tires wasn't going to keep me from getting spit out.
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Old 03-07-16, 09:59 PM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by FFJ View Post
I got a good laugh on Saturday seeing not one but two S-Works Venges with deep-dish ENVEs/Zipps lined up at the start for the Cat 4 field in Central Park.
I remember when the Venge and DI2 were first released I did a group ride in Mississippi and there were two of them present. I drooled all over them, because I'm a shameless gear-*****. The owners were dropped by the first overpass (what passes for a KOM in those parts) by what was a decidedly C group while the pack was warming up. Harder to buy an engine, I guess, although that seems to be easier these days.

Banning equipment would likely drive away more riders than it would attract. Better to get the big spenders hooked before they realize they can't buy talent. They'll either stick with it until they develop or there will be a lot of expensive gear at deep discounts.

For the record, I try to buy my way into speed all of the time. It rarely works, but I keep doing it. Fat carbon wheels make me look skinnier.
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Old 03-07-16, 10:22 PM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by grwoolf View Post
All of these races had unseasonably warm/dry weather, which makes the drop off seem strange. Maybe people are looking to suffer in the cold and rain this time of year.
Our participation seems to fall off on nice summers, mainly because the MTB trails dry out quicker and the potential racer pool spreads out. When people have a lot of options for recreation, they don't always go for the ones include descriptive words like "suffer", "pain", and "road rash". I don't understand this mentality, but I support and defend their right to express it.

We're changing up our race series for a lot of reasons this year, but one of the reasons is to try to draw in multi-sport athletes or riders who don't focus on the road. Organizing our calendar to sync with others (e.g. TTs a week or so before big triathlons) is one of our efforts to get more bodies in the door. A weekly crit series to get some sort of rhythm to our often stop-start road season. Free race entry with the purchase of a road bike at local stores. Outreach to the local military bases (a fit, if transient population). Trying to create a more inclusive atmosphere like the local 'cross series (without all of the costumes)... I have no idea if any of it will work, but we recognize we need to start focusing on the lower levels in order to have a sustainable top. It can't hurt to try.

I remember when I started racing it was completely by accident. It didn't occur to me that amateur bike racing was "a thing", and I'd been riding on the road for a few years by that time. A lot of people don't realize it's an option at their level of fitness, even if they know it exists. I figure out of every 10 people I see exposed to racing, maybe 1 or 2 will stick with it for a year or more. Maybe a couple out of 20 will really catch the bug. We're making the push to get as much exposure to as many of those oddballs as we can.
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Old 03-08-16, 06:54 AM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by FFJ View Post
USAC could significantly lower the cost barriers to entry by banning carbon wheels and TT bikes in Cat 5 and Cat 4 fields.
I was thinking about this for my races, meaning as a promoter.

I was thinking that I should limit Cat 5s and Juniors to only aluminum rims, max some mm in height (32mm? I didn't want to exclude those that had taller aluminum rims), no carbon fairings (like Jets, Cosmics, etc). Pretty much zero bikes come with carbon or faired-aluminum wheels, and those that do are way up there in price.

Although from a handicap/benefit point of view it wouldn't be huge, from a psychological point of view it would be huge. Fine, although an aero wheel is of some benefit, it doesn't change the performance of a bike exponentially, so the performance drop wouldn't be huge. However, from the mental point of view, you'd be saved the whole agonizing "should I buy aero wheels" thing. It would also eliminate one more "but that rider had blah blah blah and I don't" excuse/justifications out of the way.

I also think that a gear limit would be interesting for Cat 5s, but the potential for confusion I think would outweigh the benefits. Benefits would be a more even playing field across the ages, emphasis on pedal speed (good for the higher categories). Confusion potential would include exactly what gear (53x13? what if you have a 50T, or a 52T, or a cassette that goes 12-14, etc etc etc.). I would not impose a gear limit on a Cat 5.

I think us more advanced riders smirk/smile when we see a mismatch between bike and rider, like an obviously unfit rider on a $15k bike, but for me the more poignant sight is when there's a kid that's on an absolute entry level bike who is trying his hardest and just can't help but look in wonder at all the high zoot machinery around him. A few years ago I watched some of the more resilient kids on such a machine (it was a circa-80s touring bike complete with ratcheting bar end shifters) make one of the last moves in a race (he got swarmed just before the line). I wanted to track him down but I was unable to do so. I hope he's still racing.

I'm not so sure on limiting Cat 4s. For some riders that's their peak/limit, and it may not be worth the time/energy necessary to become good enough to race Cat 3. Sort of like me in Cat 3 - I can upgrade to Cat 2 (I did, once). However it required me to sacrifice everything else. I stopped racing that season and we basically had a year of chores/to-do stuff to do because we hadn't done anything house-related for a year. As a 3 I'm more balanced in life. Of course even as a fully committed racer I avoided hilly races, so I'm already talking about a sniper approach (target narrow and deep) instead of shotgun (every race, all the time).
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Old 03-08-16, 07:29 AM
  #49  
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I'd be against those kinds of regs ^.. I don't race much and when I do (crits) my high dollar wheels come off the bike and I race on Al clinchers...hell I even have an Allez that I am slowly building up to be race/winter only. People should know better that equipment does not mean that much, with those kinds of regs you are basically saying it does.
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Old 03-08-16, 07:53 AM
  #50  
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And some rec rider with bling would be discouraged from trying out racing.

if one feels the need to mock / laugh at people with gear you might consider some alternative perspectives. To my mind you're misguided. One such perspective being that hobbyists purchasing high end gear is where the money really comes from for sponsorships and research around improving equipment. Most of us will go a lifetime without ever lining up against someone who proves to be a player on the international stage.
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