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Thoughts about classes

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What decides what class a person races at? Is is skill level, experience, a combination of both or just whatever you think you can win at? The first time I ever sat on a bike was last july (13mtns ago) and I decided to give racing a shot this spring and I've been pretty surprised at what class people ride. I went up to Oly. for the worcs race a couple weeks ago and, a lot of people I talked to said they were racing the C class. I'd then ask how long they'd been riding and most said they'd been riding for many years and several had been racing for many years. I have also been racing in the OMRA and NMA races and, when you look at lap times, it seems the classes overlap by quite a bit. Guys running the C class shouldn't be turning in times that would put them midpack with the B class and so on up through the classes. This is just my opinion but it seems that most riders would rather ride a class down than to ride at their skill level and work as hard as other riders at their skill level to be competitive. They are letting their skill level make up for hard work by competing against those with less experience. Don't get me wrong, I'm not really complaining because I don't want to go to a race and expect to win every time. I want to compete. I'm also happy with my results for my first year. My original plan was to just get a feel this year, race the whole series next year and then move myself up regardless of how I've done because, at that point, I don't think I should be allowed in the C class. It also gives me a goal to get better and push myself. After talking to other guys in my class, it makes me think that I am not looking at it right. It seems pretty normal to stay in a class for 5-6 years or longer and not move up until it is forced. Personally, I would rather push myself and ride midpack up a class than to lead a lower class. Am I looking at this wrong?

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I think you got it right if your thinking about competing seriously. Pushing yourself is the key to moving forward. If the class your in offers no compition, move up to the next.

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I've noticed that too, at the worcs event we had NMA guys from "B" in the worcs "C" class, and in previous races "A" guys in the "B" class, but it just made me feel better about my finish even if they're sandbaggin a little. I dont think i'd want to sand bag, but also dont think I'd move up until I get some top finishes. No point in moving up just to get smoked, I want a fair chace against same skill level riders regardless of how long it takes.

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P.S. ----I did notice riding against faster competition makes me work harder and challenges me to go faster.

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Right now, I feel that I fit in the class I'm in pretty well. My finishes vary, 4th, 5th, 17th:busted: etc. and I think I've been progressing. I'm hoping to do well next year. After that, though, it just doesn't seem right to stay in a beginner/novice class but, as it is, I've got the least experience of anyone that I've talked to in my class.

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The NMA generally 'bumps' the top riders of each class after each season to the next higher class. The rules also allow for a rider to be bumped to the next class mid-season if it is obvious that they are in the wrong class, however, the NMA competition commitee is pretty 'hands off' (to put it nicely) so I think it would have to be a pretty egregious sandbagger (like a fast A rider poaching the C class) to spur them into action. That being said, I think the racer community would take care of it on it's own.

By the way, while there is sandbagging at all levels I don't think it is all that common. There are guys with AA speed running in the A classes, A's riding B, etc. etc. It's a fact of life in any type of racing. But the C classes get the most...I don't think it is really intentional though, mostly just guys starting out racing and still improving, etc.

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There's a couple issues that creates a situation of intended/unintended sandbagging. One is the rule book--To paraphrase the NMA rulebook it says that racers that have not competed in a "series" may enter the C or Beginner class. Key word being "series". A dude that has raced off an on for kicks for years can camp out in the C-class even though his ability dictates otherwise.

The second issue is a racer's own scruples inside themselves. Somehow they can easily look themselves in the mirror everyday knowing they won a c-class trophy for the umpteenth time.

Recently I've seen some promoters crack down on sand baggers, which I think is terrific. Riders are given fair warning ahead of time that if their lap times show that they would have fnished in the top whatever percentage of the next higher class, then they will be bumped in the middle or the end of the race. No sniveling allowed, no protest or appeal allowed. How cool is that!

Ride on!

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It is nice to know that there are rules keeping the sanbagging down but I think the biggest issue is scruples, like mrudy mentioned. Personally, I can't see what would drive a person to stay down in class when they could move up. I look at it as "I get to move up" as opposed to "I have to move up".

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I know a lot of women racers would love to have a women's class that runs the entire course instead of half.

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I know a lot of women racers would love to have a women's class that runs the entire course instead of half.

Do you mean a women's long course class, i.e., Women A class?

That was proposed for this year but it did not happen as there did not seem to be enough potential racers to justify it (I am just repeating what I heard). If the women make their voices heard they will get it though.

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yes wiz, that's it! where do we need to send our comments to? (sorry if that is a dumb question, I'm just starting out here)

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yes wiz, that's it! where do we need to send our comments to? (sorry if that is a dumb question, I'm just starting out here)

You live in Oregon... I would suggest an e-mail to the OMRA competition committee... good luck, hopefully you do better at convincing them then the girls were up here with the NMA last year... I think it's a class that would have to struggle for a couple years in terms of participants but I think before long it would be something female racers would strive for:excuseme:

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I think C is just that. Random catch all class for the wild-life. Although I understand the competitive spirit and the C class is supposed to be for beginners. I meet a lot of riders that don't run the series, or are weekend warriors just having fun. I sandbag everything I do on a bike these days, cuz it's not important anymore to win. Since I compete at a level I set, I figure I don't need to get in the mix with Pro's and others that are actively trying to increase their rank.

Just my $.02

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I thought that's what the Sportsman class was for.

When there is one it's supposed to function that way, but I've found that often times there only a couple riders in the class, and they are MUCH more into the competitive nature of the race. I'm really not into it, if anyone wants to pass, I let them by.

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There may be fast guys in in the sportsman class but, if someone doesn't care about winning, isn't that what its for. No points and, I don't think, any trophies. If an A rider feels like eating chips and hot dogs and laying around for a summer instead of working out, I don't think they should be able to enter the B class so they can slow down. Even if they aren't concerned with winning, their skill level still allows them to pick up the pace a bit when the want. Even if they place mid pack, they have still taken away a spot for guys that have been working hard and trying to step up their game.

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Sportsman seems to be a de facto class for guys that are pretty fast but don't want to ride the long course.

Sportsman is where I've found the WORST sportsmanship outside of the competitive 15yr olds....lots of middle-aged, former racers, trying to prove they "still got it"...I steer FAR away from these folks. Not to say all sportsman class racers, but 30yrs experience has taught me that I don't like being part of that testosterone driven forum. Don't know about anyone else here, but I tend to ride to the level of riders around me. I like mid-pack, but following kids for the last few years has taught me it's even a blast to be last.

I pay the fee for at least 3 everytime, I say ride smart, and support the sport. IMHO competitive racing is only a small segment of the sport.

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