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Thread: Chelmer Road Race, 07 April 2013

  1. #61

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    I've resisted the urge to pass any comments on this topic. There are several aspects that have been covered and points that need to be answered. Perhaps I'll return to those issues after our promotions on 16th June.

    However, the original basis upon which all of the road racing leagues were set up was to provide events for the riders. Although Dave Orford (who he?) ran events specifically for the old Independent (semi-pro) class, all of the 'home counties' leagues were conceived to provide places for either juniors or lower category groups. Bearing in mind that in those days, Ernie Witcomb (a profilic promoter at the time) could fill two races on the same road circuit with all juniors and there were other races catering for juniors in the SE on the same day.

    Bill Best formed the SE London RR League in 1961 for 3rd and Junior riders and that ran for a couple of years before it got a bit out of hand.

    I formed the Kent RR League in 1975 at a time when the number of races had declined somewhat and our Polhill Racing Club was putting on more races than the old Kent Division. I added some new features to the League, one of which required all riders to register individually and commit to helping out at least once a year. Didn't go down too well with everybody and unfortunately the rules got watered down over the years but it can be made to work. The TLI organised North Mids RR League is a good example of that.

    The Kent League used to run two races on the same day, am and pm and as the years went by we added not just one 2-day but several and we also resurrected a 3-day. Different clubs would run the stages.

    The Essex League was was formed by Sam Huxtable a year or two later than the Kent League on a much looser format.

    If there's a problem with the ERRL it has to be the limited programme. I know Derek (Lusher) feels tied by the lack of commissaires but I think that can be resolved. Every affiliated club should have at least a couple of Assistant comms as members. It really doesn't damage your season to help out as an official on occasions. The accredited marshalling system has really made it easy for Essex clubs, they don't know they were born.

    If a club joins the league, any league, they understandably want something in return. The category of the rider shouldn't matter at all, just take one rider from each club in turn unti you fill up the race. Forget all the issues on points. It's the win that counts. Not enough places to cater for all that want to ride, then run extra races. Bigger fields, I'll come back to that at the end of June.

    Personally I'm quite happy to put on a Pro/Elite race and take the best field regardless of who or what they are but if sponsored clubs or teams feel unable to commit to putting on a race, simple, they don't get a ride in the league.
    Last edited by Colin Coe; 28-04-2013 at 12:37 PM.

  2. #62

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    To continue, in short, the solution lies with the riders.

    If they want to continue racing on the road they need to play their part.

    Back in the day (previous post), sportives weren't really an option. Poseurs such as there were would enter 3/J races in numbers but shy away from the harder but still local races. Now sportive riders are happy to seek out events with more hills than you can shake a stick at.

    Options are therefore: 1) ride sportives and then tell everybody at work how well you 'raced' - lots of events, enter well in advance (the previous year) and you're almost certainly guaranteed a ride; 2) flock to the purpose-made facilities such as Hog Hill, Cycle Park or Velo Park - lots of events, especially if you reside between Stratford and Redbridge. All right if you like that sort of racing. I don't include the ad-hoc venues, such as Elvenden, Lotus, etc because they tend to offer that something extra that the planners never quite get right.

    However, racing on the road is our fundamental right and we need to exercise that right. Use it or lose it. Every political figure of note, celebrity and dog, want's to be seen at the big sporting events, whether to boost their influence or massage their egos and we need to get them out to our races and get them on side.

    If the riders want to continue racing on the road they need to commit and if they don't have the time to organise races themselves, the least they can to is to help out on occasions. If there is a need for more races (and there obviously is), then everybody has to play their part.

    If a rider considers that he/she is too good to stand on a corner or drive a car during a race, then they shouldn't be competing at league level. Until such time as we can persuade local residents and village communities to put on cycle races, league racing will need to cater for the self-help riders who feel able to play their part.

  3. #63

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    To summarise, ranking points are a distraction, as indeed are rider categories.

    Changing the points system will not solve the problem of selecting fields for races, the need is for more races, not more or less points. Certainly not more categories either.

    Races should be categorised, not the riders.

  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Coe View Post
    To summarise, ranking points are a distraction, as indeed are rider categories.

    Changing the points system will not solve the problem of selecting fields for races, the need is for more races, not more or less points. Certainly not more categories either.

    Races should be categorised, not the riders.
    Not categorising riders but only races is an interesting proposition. It could work if the points bands remained and races were categorised/ranked by the minimum number of points required to enter each one. The higher the race ranking, the more points would be required to enter and the more points to be gained. It would mean that e.g. elite riders would automatically move to the top of the ranked events.

    At the same time there should be a maximum number of points attached to a ranked event. If a rider has more than the allowed maximum, he cannot enter that event but must choose a higher ranked event. That would stop better riders from competing below their level in an attempt to gain easy points.

    One would still have to keep track of points from the previous season otherwise everyone starts with nil points each season and there would be no way of telling which rider should gain entry to which ranked event.

    A system of ranked events with a min. and max. number of points attached could either lead to the Danish system where rider abilities/categories do not mix much (when a ranked event's max. points are low) or to the current UK event classification system where a wider range of rider abilities are allowed (when a ranked event's max. points are high).

    So when carried through to its logical conclusion, we end up with a rider category system anyway only in another guise. The benefit of existing category system is that it is a way of storing information of about how good a rider was last season.

  5. #65
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    What I would find helpful is an explanation of why racing for points is considered to be so harmful. The points system is deliberately weighted towards the top 5 places in all but C+ races so coming 1st one week and last the next is worth as many points as say coming 5th two weeks running. Riders who are capable of winning ride as far as I can see for the win. I don't see riders who could be in the break sitting in the bunch just hoping for a bunch sprint. Certainly at 2nd cat level you're either capable of getting in and riding in the break or you're not. The only thing I can see that could be harmful about the current system is that at the margin it encourages riders to race more rather than less. But again there aren't many riders at our level who seem to go better on less racing than more. Maybe there's something I'm missing that affects the elite level.

  6. #66

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    Gray what I find concerning, racing for points when some lad does a lorry load of races never wins but scores points with rubbish placings and basicaly buys a licence. I don't believe in points for circuit races as their training races or maybe just 3/2/1 for first 3 only. I remember a first cat would ride for their county in national races but a lot of first cats today would probably get dropped from a national race so points give guys false hope. You see it every season lads get a first cat then get popped the following season and give up and miss out on the whole experience of club cycling.This is just my 48 years of age opinion

  7. #67
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    That's a good point Damien, although its not really the fault of the points system if people go up who aren't at the level simply because they have done a vast number of crits - that's entirely their own decision and you can't design a system around protecting people from themselves. And of course there are far fewer points for crits now.

  8. #68
    Stagiaire
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    As far as I can tell there seem to be a few dozen riders at Elite level and a lesser number at 1st cat who can almost bank on getting a good result everytime they ride because of some combination of talent and tactical genius most of us sadly lack. The rest of the riders who make up the top 300 or so nationally are there principally by virtue of the number of races they are doing (not regular standout performances), travelling for road races Saturday and Sunday and doing midweek crits. If you're doing 40 or 50 races in a season you'd have to be fairly mediocre not to move up the categories and get a huge haul of points. There is no difference in my view between a rider doing a load of crits and bagging points and a rider doing a load of road races and doing the same. Is one form of racing inherently less worthy? Is racing on a Tuesday less worthy than racing on a Saturday? I don't think so. If I ride midweek, mentally and physically I am 'racing' not 'training'. If I want to train I'll go and ride around the lanes or get on the turbo. My personal view is that the points system sucks some of the fun out of racing for a significant proportion of riders and ultimately demotivates them. Riders judge their worth on category and points hauls, not on how they approach a race and ride it. I would prefer a less structured approach where riders determine what level is right for them to race at.

  9. #69

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    Afterwards I was thinking we didn't have E or 4 cats before so maybe if we look at E cats in the region there is a lot of talent there. Crits were always viewed as less than races and some great local riders would be called ( eastway only riders) almost a put down in some ways which seemed unfair.Also I think it's good a rider sees how far or how good he is and I personaly know my own level I'm happy to stay a 3 cat as then I have more fun racing. Points don't mean that much to me like some guy doing a fast time on a dual carriagway.Also I think a race at hoghill deserves more points than say a race at hillingdon

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