Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > General Cycling Discussion
Reload this Page >

Is it normal for non-competitive races to begin early?

Notices
General Cycling Discussion Have a cycling related question or comment that doesn't fit in one of the other specialty forums? Drop on in and post in here! When possible, please select the forum above that most fits your post!

Is it normal for non-competitive races to begin early?

Old 09-30-23, 05:03 PM
  #1  
histgeomaterial
Steel is Real
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2023
Posts: 3
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Is it normal for non-competitive races to begin early?

Hi all, first time posting here. I've recently gotten into doing some (non-competitive) road racing. Today I was supposed to do a race, but the race began early, volunteers didn't know the routes to help direct, and the route they created was only available to navigate with a subscription-based app. Honestly I was pretty frustrated with the entire situation, and let the race organizers know. But since I'm still new to this, I'm second guessing my reaction a bit. Is it a normal thing for races to begin 5-10 minutes early? Has anyone else ever had this experience?

Thank you for your thoughts

Last edited by histgeomaterial; 09-30-23 at 05:08 PM.
histgeomaterial is offline  
Old 09-30-23, 05:33 PM
  #2  
Iride01 
I'm good to go!
 
Iride01's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 14,149

Bikes: Tarmac Disc Comp Di2 - 2020

Mentioned: 48 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5838 Post(s)
Liked 4,456 Times in 3,072 Posts
I had some start late. Maybe some that started a minute or two early. But never 5 - 10 minutes early. However it takes 10 minutes for everyone to get across the start line on the larger rides I've done. So you should have been able to ride with them. Times aren't important on a ride that is not a race.

If it's not a competitive event, I prefer to just call them a cycling event, or a organized ride. If it was for a charity, then a charity ride. I only use the word race when it's a actual race to get to the finish line first. Which some do for just organized rides. And that can make them dangerous to those that aren't racing and especially for those that aren't experienced with riding around large groups.


Welcome to BF.
Iride01 is offline  
Likes For Iride01:
Old 09-30-23, 10:42 PM
  #3  
Maelochs
Senior Member
 
Maelochs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 15,158

Bikes: 2015 Workswell 066, 2017 Workswell 093, 2014 Dawes Sheila, 1983 Cannondale 500, 1984 Raleigh Olympian, 2007 Cannondale Rize 4, 2017 Fuji Sportif 1 LE

Mentioned: 143 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7452 Post(s)
Liked 3,138 Times in 1,677 Posts
I know my clandestine Cat 6 race starts as soon as my tires hit the pavement at the end of the driveway ... if you aren't ready, look out. I have smoked kids on Big Wheels, elderly people (even older than me) on tricycles, mothers pushing strollers (it has wheels, it counts) .... and when I hit the MUP ... whew. Dog-walkers, skaters, people ion wheel chairs ... no one can keep up.

If I start ahead of schedule ... that is just race strategy. Every ride is a competitive event.

As to the OP's issues .... sounds like you attended a very badly managed event. Most events start on time or a few minutes late, because ... well, people ... and if people are going to pay and show up, year after year, best not to have them chasing the peloton and then quitting. As fro the map .... most map services have a free version, but if I found an event which demanded I pay to see the route ... I would show them my .... well, never mind.

Events like that are supposed to be held For the Rider. Even if they are charity rides, the way they make money year-to-year is by offering riders good experiences. If the people running the show didn't bother to train the volunteers or course assistants, didn't make sure everyone had the ability to get the route, and then decided "Look, let's just start, I have been here for an hour already ... the rest can catch up ... " it is quite possible you will never have the chance to ride that event again.
Maelochs is offline  
Likes For Maelochs:
Old 10-01-23, 04:55 AM
  #4  
seypat
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 8,449
Mentioned: 67 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3010 Post(s)
Liked 2,305 Times in 1,385 Posts
Noncompetitive race? Is that an oxymoron? Anyway, probably should have been some que sheets available.
seypat is offline  
Old 10-01-23, 06:54 AM
  #5  
PeteHski
Senior Member
 
PeteHski's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2021
Posts: 6,933
Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3538 Post(s)
Liked 3,824 Times in 2,421 Posts
Originally Posted by histgeomaterial
Hi all, first time posting here. I've recently gotten into doing some (non-competitive) road racing. Today I was supposed to do a race, but the race began early, volunteers didn't know the routes to help direct, and the route they created was only available to navigate with a subscription-based app. Honestly I was pretty frustrated with the entire situation, and let the race organizers know. But since I'm still new to this, I'm second guessing my reaction a bit. Is it a normal thing for races to begin 5-10 minutes early? Has anyone else ever had this experience?

Thank you for your thoughts
My thoughts are that this was not actually a race and the ride event was just disorganised and badly implemented.

And no, Iíve never had this kind of experience.
PeteHski is offline  
Likes For PeteHski:
Old 10-01-23, 07:10 AM
  #6  
staehpj1
Senior Member
 
staehpj1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 11,680
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1174 Post(s)
Liked 655 Times in 495 Posts
Was this actually a race? I don't understand the term "non-competitive race". I am guessing you mean just an organised ride? Like the many fall century rides, or charity rides for a cause.

I have never been to one that started more than a minute or two early.

What app did it require?
staehpj1 is offline  
Likes For staehpj1:
Old 10-01-23, 07:18 AM
  #7  
work4bike
Senior Member
 
work4bike's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Atlantic Beach Florida
Posts: 1,863
Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3568 Post(s)
Liked 933 Times in 705 Posts
When I think of the term, non-competitive race, I think of a charity ride, such as MS150.... Of course it's NOT a race, but on the other hand, anytime you get a bunch of guys together...it's a race!!

I've never been to one of these events where the start was too off the mark.




.
work4bike is offline  
Likes For work4bike:
Old 10-01-23, 08:15 AM
  #8  
indyfabz
Senior Member
 
indyfabz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 38,084
Mentioned: 209 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 17725 Post(s)
Liked 14,036 Times in 6,666 Posts
Originally Posted by work4bike
When I think of the term, non-competitive race, I think of a charity ride, such as MS150.... Of course it's NOT a race, but on the other hand, anytime you get a bunch of guys together...it's a race!!

I've never been to one of these events where the start was too off the mark.




.
After 23 consecutive years participating, I retired from the second largest MS150 ride in the country because it got to be too much like a race. Some guy tried to squeeze by me on the right during a turn in an intersection. He was so far right he was riding in sand and brushing up against foliage. Nearly hit my bars and took me out. I said to him ďIf you do that again Iíll knock your teeth out.Ē Thatís when I knew it would be my last.
indyfabz is offline  
Likes For indyfabz:
Old 10-01-23, 09:06 AM
  #9  
rosefarts
With a mighty wind
 
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 2,475
Mentioned: 12 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1032 Post(s)
Liked 803 Times in 454 Posts
To the average person driving down the road and seeing bikes with numbers, most donít have any idea whether itís a race or a ride. I suspect you donít either.

A race has a winner. A lot of times that winner gets prizes, from a plate of cookies to cash, someone is trying to win.

A ride does not. These are organized, usually for some local cause. Centuries were the de facto tradition for years but these events exist in all distances. There is usually a group of racers who form a group and do the event very quickly, still doesnít make it a race. Lately, these have a starting window, like 7-9am or so, to avoid the chaos of the entire group sorting itself out at the start.

Sometimes it gets a little murky because in some races, only half or less than half of the participants have any desire to compete. They just want to do the event with the support available. Super common in gravel, triathlons, and running.

All of these things have varying levels of organization. Sometimes the volunteers will send you the wrong way. Sometimes there are no volunteers. Other times, there are so many rest stops that my stomach is about to burst from Oreos and pretzels.

Ride with GPS kinda sucks. I hate that I pay for it and I hate that it seems to be the only option unless youíre gadget savvy. Itís like $40 a year though, and it will work on your phone if you donít have a handlebar computer. Itíll work, just ignore it when it tells you to do a U turn, 40% of the time.
rosefarts is offline  
Old 10-01-23, 09:13 AM
  #10  
rsbob 
Grupetto Bob
 
rsbob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2020
Location: Seattle-ish
Posts: 5,347

Bikes: Bikey McBike Face

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2164 Post(s)
Liked 4,556 Times in 2,417 Posts
Have to agree that many neophytes believe that since they get a number, they think it is a race rather than an organized ride. But as work4bike pointed out, put a bunch of competitive people together and it automatically can become a race for the overly testosterone blessed. What the OP is describing sounds more like an organized fun ride.

When I used to do fun runs and organized fun rides and would get a number, people would ask me, How was the race? Uh… it wasn’t.
__________________
Road 🚴🏾‍♂️ & Mountain 🚵🏾‍♂️

ĒYour lips move but I canít hear what your sayingĒ DG







Last edited by rsbob; 10-01-23 at 01:26 PM.
rsbob is offline  
Likes For rsbob:
Old 10-01-23, 09:24 AM
  #11  
wheelreason
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 1,338
Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 344 Post(s)
Liked 354 Times in 204 Posts
Yes, "non competive races" often have the optionn to start early (and late)...
wheelreason is offline  
Likes For wheelreason:
Old 10-01-23, 09:30 AM
  #12  
Maelochs
Senior Member
 
Maelochs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 15,158

Bikes: 2015 Workswell 066, 2017 Workswell 093, 2014 Dawes Sheila, 1983 Cannondale 500, 1984 Raleigh Olympian, 2007 Cannondale Rize 4, 2017 Fuji Sportif 1 LE

Mentioned: 143 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7452 Post(s)
Liked 3,138 Times in 1,677 Posts
Ride with GPS has a free version and I have not had issues with it ... maybe stop paying?
Maelochs is offline  
Old 10-01-23, 10:53 AM
  #13  
Ironfish653
Dirty Heathen
 
Ironfish653's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: MC-778, 6250 fsw
Posts: 2,174

Bikes: 1997 Cannondale, 1976 Bridgestone, 1998 SoftRide, 1989 Klein, 1989 Black Lightning #0033

Mentioned: 19 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 881 Post(s)
Liked 893 Times in 525 Posts
Not being at / within earshot of the start chute with less than 5 minutes before Gun Time seems like cutting it pretty close, to me; but when I was starting out, I underestimated the time it was going to take to arrive and get ready a couple of times, too.

I I've also set up and run a bunch of events, so I can tell you that the volunteers haven't been on site and given their assignments much more than an hour before the competitors, especially at smaller events. There's usually not a big "master briefing" so they don't often know much more than the task they've been given; the Registration Table isn't going to know where the Aid Stations are, and the Aid Stations aren't going to know much more about course conditions than what it took to get to wherever they're set up.

Every open road / open course event I've done has published the course map and Strava/Garmin/RWGPS - compatible routing files well in advance, so i can review the route and get my electronics sorted out ahead of time. Signing up before you arrive at the check-in tent can eliminate surprises like that.
I wouldn't count on an on-course volunteer to know much more than the particular corner they've been stationed at.
​​​​​​
Also helps to know what kind of event you're going to; a smaller, grassroots event may be really well run, but will still require a little more self-sufficiency than a big, all-inclusive corporate do-up
Ironfish653 is offline  
Likes For Ironfish653:
Old 10-01-23, 12:18 PM
  #14  
Koyote
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Posts: 7,364
Mentioned: 36 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6566 Post(s)
Liked 10,274 Times in 4,407 Posts
Originally Posted by histgeomaterial
(non-competitive) road racing.
This does not compute. Please elaborate.
Koyote is offline  
Likes For Koyote:
Old 10-01-23, 12:33 PM
  #15  
dedhed
SE Wis
 
dedhed's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 10,265

Bikes: '68 Raleigh Sprite, '02 Raleigh C500, '84 Raleigh Gran Prix, '91 Trek 400, 2013 Novara Randonee, 1990 Trek 970

Mentioned: 39 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2615 Post(s)
Liked 3,144 Times in 1,916 Posts
you have to be early if you want a seat at the bar or patio...

​​​​​​https://www.fattiretour.com/milwaukee2024/
dedhed is offline  
Old 10-01-23, 01:01 PM
  #16  
LesterOfPuppets
cowboy, steel horse, etc
 
LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: The hot spot.
Posts: 43,453

Bikes: everywhere

Mentioned: 71 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11696 Post(s)
Liked 6,623 Times in 3,488 Posts
Originally Posted by histgeomaterial
Hi all, first time posting here. I've recently gotten into doing some (non-competitive) road racing. Today I was supposed to do a race, but the race began early, volunteers didn't know the routes to help direct, and the route they created was only available to navigate with a subscription-based app. Honestly I was pretty frustrated with the entire situation, and let the race organizers know. But since I'm still new to this, I'm second guessing my reaction a bit. Is it a normal thing for races to begin 5-10 minutes early? Has anyone else ever had this experience?

Thank you for your thoughts
Depends on the setup. I've been to some where you can start anytime between 6 and 10, but the organizers suggested starting early if you're doing the longer distances because the feed stops are shutting by noon. Last charity ride I did was an overnight 12-hour ride. And you could start whenever you wanted after 7pm and before 6am. Not all rides go for the mass start with a starting gun or whistle or whathaveyou. It's generally safer to have people start in drips and drabs than to have 500 people trying to clip in and get rolling at the same time.
​​​​​​

As for wayfinding on the course, most organized rides will mark the pavement with Dan Henrys, some have color coded Dan Henrys for different ride lengths (say red for 25 mile, white for 50, blue for 100).

Usually only see the first 3:



Even on a well marked course I like to have the gpx loaded on my phone in case I end up riding solo and miss a turn.

Last edited by LesterOfPuppets; 10-01-23 at 01:33 PM.
LesterOfPuppets is online now  
Old 10-01-23, 01:24 PM
  #17  
indyfabz
Senior Member
 
indyfabz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 38,084
Mentioned: 209 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 17725 Post(s)
Liked 14,036 Times in 6,666 Posts
Originally Posted by rsbob
Have to agree that many neophytes believe that since they get a number, they think it is a race rather than an organized ride. But as work4bike pointed out, put a bunch of competitive people together and it automatically can become a race for the overly testosterone blessed. What the OP is describing sounds more like an organized fun ride.
And thereís the ďStrava Factor.Ē
indyfabz is offline  
Likes For indyfabz:
Old 10-01-23, 08:00 PM
  #18  
histgeomaterial
Steel is Real
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2023
Posts: 3
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Thanks for all the responses to this, everyone! It's been enlightening, particularly regarding terminology. Based on what has been said here, I would say this was a small, but poorly organized race. There were medals given out for first, second, and third, and I assume some type of prize (though no idea what it was). When I was saying non-competitive, I was trying to indicate that it was small and amateur, so thanks for all the clarification as to those distinctions. I'll have to keep that in mind. It's also good to know that volunteers have little more knowledge than the riders, I wasn't sure.

I suppose in the future I will just arrive earlier. Much appreciated!
histgeomaterial is offline  
Old 10-02-23, 03:31 AM
  #19  
work4bike
Senior Member
 
work4bike's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Atlantic Beach Florida
Posts: 1,863
Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3568 Post(s)
Liked 933 Times in 705 Posts
What's the name of the event? Is it a yearly thing?
work4bike is offline  
Old 10-02-23, 04:37 AM
  #20  
staehpj1
Senior Member
 
staehpj1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 11,680
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1174 Post(s)
Liked 655 Times in 495 Posts
Originally Posted by histgeomaterial
Thanks for all the responses to this, everyone! It's been enlightening, particularly regarding terminology. Based on what has been said here, I would say this was a small, but poorly organized race. There were medals given out for first, second, and third, and I assume some type of prize (though no idea what it was). When I was saying non-competitive, I was trying to indicate that it was small and amateur, so thanks for all the clarification as to those distinctions. I'll have to keep that in mind. It's also good to know that volunteers have little more knowledge than the riders, I wasn't sure.

I suppose in the future I will just arrive earlier. Much appreciated!
You should probably figure on being quite a bit earlier. There is likely to be a sign in, maybe numbers to be handed out and pinned on, and so on. Unless you specifically know that the event does require any sign in or other prep, arrive early allowing plenty of time.

A non race ride showing up last minute isn't a great idea, but for a race it is very likely you will miss out.
staehpj1 is offline  
Old 10-02-23, 05:30 AM
  #21  
big chainring
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Wilmette, IL
Posts: 7,284
Mentioned: 17 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 736 Post(s)
Liked 678 Times in 329 Posts
Taking a trip in the way-back machine I remember a local race that attracted a handfull of riders. The Tour de sans Argent...The Tour of no money. It was a stage race that took place on open roads, not sanctioned by any cycling federations, but there was a winner. And he recieved no prizes. He bragged about that win for years. And it was his only win in a long and storied career. So I get where the OP is coming from.
big chainring is offline  
Old 10-02-23, 05:40 AM
  #22  
nomadmax 
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2018
Location: SW Ohio
Posts: 2,357
Mentioned: 93 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1068 Post(s)
Liked 1,738 Times in 839 Posts
Originally Posted by work4bike
What's the name of the event? Is it a yearly thing?
La course des Never Was Beens
__________________
nomadmax is offline  
Likes For nomadmax:
Old 10-02-23, 06:30 AM
  #23  
Bald Paul
Senior Member
 
Bald Paul's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Upstate SC
Posts: 1,594
Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 755 Post(s)
Liked 1,519 Times in 722 Posts
My thoughts on handing out bib numbers and requiring payment / registration prior to being able to see and download the routes (especially on a charity ride.)

I have been on charity rides where the route(s) were published in advance for all to see, and where there were no numbers or wristbands handed out. I've noted on several occasions that there are *certain people* who will show up to the ride, stop at rest stops for snacks and fluids, and sometimes even rely on SAG vehicles to help them with a mechanical - all without paying. Without some way of the ride volunteers and support staff being able to identify who contributed to the cause and who is just freeloading, it enables this type of behavior. It certainly doesn't help the charity and is unfair to both the organizers and those that have paid for the support.

Rider numbers (especially with large rides and longer routes) are helpful as well. At registration, you are usually asked for a phone number and emergency contact information. At the end of the ride, you'll grab your post-ride meal/snack and check in so they can tick off your number. That way the organizers know you arrived safely, and aren't lost somewhere after missing a turn, sitting out on the course with a broken bike, or laying in a ditch somewhere after a crash. If you don't show up, they can look at the check-in sheets, see who's not there, and start making calls.

All that being said, there does have to be some way of letting potential participants know what the route will be like. A flat metric century ride is much different than one with one double digit percentage climb after another. A good, accurate description of the route(s), including distance(s), terrain (flat, rolling hills, challenging climbs) number of climbs (including length and percentage) and some idea of traffic and road conditions should be provided to help someone decide if they feel capable of completing the ride prior to registration.
Bald Paul is offline  
Old 10-02-23, 06:52 AM
  #24  
staehpj1
Senior Member
 
staehpj1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 11,680
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1174 Post(s)
Liked 655 Times in 495 Posts
A race on an open road course like you describe sounds like an outlier. I have heard of and ridden lots of mountain bike races that were mass start and were a big loop. Most were longer distances and were pretty well organised.

I have ridden "citizen" road races back in the day, but many were typically more like criteriums like multipul one mile or so laps around the local lake or HS campus in format. There were also longer single rural loops still requiring no navigation. The citizen race was often the same day as a longer sanctioned race in the same location. The sanctioned race was often more laps on the same course..
staehpj1 is offline  
Old 10-02-23, 07:35 AM
  #25  
downtube42
Senior Member
 
downtube42's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 3,700

Bikes: Trek Domane SL6 Gen 3, Soma Fog Cutter, Focus Mares AL, Detroit Bikes Sparrow FG, Volae Team, Nimbus MUni

Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 819 Post(s)
Liked 1,888 Times in 988 Posts
Sounds like the organizers were not operating it with rules we would recognize as race rules, the first being start time. So people rolled out when they wanted, with no repercussions.

I've always found it interesting running events for citizens are often called races, whereas that seems taboo in cycling. Anyone can put on a 10k race. Is it safety? Insurance reasons? Traffic?

What's that about?
downtube42 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2023 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.