BRAC Announces New Policy for Women 3/4's Category

After multiple crashes in the women's cat 3/4 crits two weekends in a row, BRAC came up with what they are calling the "Save the 3/4's from themselves policy". BRAC President, Clint Bickmore called an emergency board meeting behind a near-by taco truck during the second of three separate crashes on Sunday. Taco vendor reports Executive Director, Aaron Bouplon as saying, "Look. I know full body armor will slow them down, not to mention it's insanely costly. But If we don't act fast, there won't be any female racers LEFT in Colorado."

When asked for a comment, Chief referee Tim Madden said, "There's no doubt about it. These fields have some fast women. Wait...that came out wrong. I mean, they are fast and furious. Wait...that came out wrong too. All I know is that I've seen a lot of blood spilled on the pavement over the last two weeks. As well as sounds and images that I cannot erase from my mind. I'm all for having these fields wear full body armor."

Let it be clear that BRAC isn't talking about mtb armour. Aaron Bouplon clarified as much to 303 on Monday. "We're not talking about shin guards and full face helmets. We're literally talking about chainmail kits such as what knights wore in Medieval times. You in Monty Python's "The Quest for the Holy Grail." In fact, we're hoping to scare these cut-throat women straight by showing this short clip before every crit in the 2014 season."

Only time will tell (and the next collegiate crit) whether this drastic measure will help.

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Curse You Katie


Curse you for riling up the women again. My phone has been ringing off the hook because of your dereliction of journalistic duty. I can not believe how much you are neglecting your followers and your journalistic duties here. I realize that you are still upset about losing your fight to include composite armor into the policy, but you did not represent the committee presentation in a fair way.

This policy was thoroughly researched by the committee and industry representatives, and all of their findings should have been presented. Your military composite armor folks are not used to losing contracts to traditional steel chainmail, but the steel was the leader in all tests except ballistic penetration. Furthermore, our focus groups said that the steel options were superior in the style, agility, and ease of use.

After intensive negotiation with the steel industry committee this morning, they are not going to create any waves due to your slighting them. They just ask that you show no bias in the future. They reminded me that one of our MTB friends may not have been injured as badly if you hadn't made that comment about her butt looking funny in the new MTB option that is due for release in 2014. Just imagine the pain you could have saved if you would have just said something about how it how nicely it drapes across her shoulders.

Thank you Katie for all you do.

Funny AND...

I was hoping to see news of a solution for these early season crits crashing problems. Like, a mandatory clinic on the actual course before the race? Maybe teams get together for a few clinics throughout the spring? I know these are happening within teams, but getting a bigger intra-group field together to practice could help. Oh, and I really want to see more Taco trucks at races. How can we make this happen?

yes to both!

well played Katie! and yes to both early season mentoring, clinics and more taco (and more food trucks in general) out at the races! This is definitely something that the cyclocross crowd gets right.

I suggested mentoring to Tim myself. To be perfectly fair, I also think we saw a statistical outlier this year owing to a perfect storm of category growth, nice weather and new racers. In thirty years of racing, I've never seen crashes like this in womens' fields, so I doubt it's a "trend", I think it's safe to say it was just bad luck. I happened to be near enough or behind all of the crashes in question and I didn't see anything outside the realm of normal, really. The one at Stazio was the sort of unfortunate domino effect that happens when the riders at the front sit up / stop working abruptly and the field suddenly bunches up (I've seen the SM3s crash like this dozens of times so to blame it on new riders is possibly beside the point) and the couple that happened at the Oval were simply 1) a nasty solo slide out due to a combo of speed and cornering a bit too wide, coupled with some loose sand on the pavement and 2) Lanier ran into me because we were not riding in a predictable pattern, there wasn't a clear path to cut through the course where we did (we were all rolling around a short lap to keep loose while the ambulance moved), I wasn't super duper clear with my intent and she admitted she wasn't paying attention. Yes it was just an accident but I felt terrible, especially when she wasn't allowed to continue.

I don't think running the 3s and 4s together is necessarily a bad idea, especially since the other options we get at collegiate events are a single Open field. Please don't criticize the collegiate promoters for trying something new, especially since collegiate races aren't required to run any kind of categorization for non collegiate racers. It's nice to have something other than a single Open field with 6-8 women in it, and I love racing in fields of 25-35 women of similar ability. The women's 3/4 fields at the CU and CSU races were bigger than some of the men's fields!

I do think someone who's a natural as a mentor (Margell? I know she's got a lot on her plate but she does coach the CU women's team) would be a good fit to take the new, the never-evers and some of the rusty old hacks like myself who've been out of the crit scene for a few years around a lap or 2 to brush the cobwebs off.

Thanks and I'm off to polish my greaves and buckler in preparation for Saturday.

Thanks for actually coming

Thanks for actually coming out and describing the events. I keep reading on various places online that there were 3 or 4 crashes, when there wasn't (though the final two laps did involve about another 2-3 near crashes that everyone managed to stay upright for). And also, none of the 3 first timers were involved in any of the crashes, like people like to jump and conclude! However, this first timer won't be returning to another crit for a long long long time... y'all are just too crazy, haha. The risk vs reward just isn't equal enough for me and the bigger scheme of things I have going on in my racing.

I was kind of hoping the original post was actually going to address the issue instead of another April Fools' joke... I guess I saw too many ambulances last weekend to find much humor in it. Though I wonder if I do ever for some reason enter another crit if it would be smart to wear my mountain bike elbow pads, because I surely have never needed them in a mountain bike race, and then they could finally get some use...

Please don't write off crits

Please don't write off crits just because we happened to have a weird start to the year. Honestly the field at the Oval was *very* safe, I saw 99.99% great riding from everyone there, even the new riders. To be fair, I've seen Pro men crash in exactly the same fashion (overcooked a line and "high sided") but it's a rare sort of crash in any field.

The thing about crashes is the way we're wired psychologically, we are always going to remember them, but not the several thousand times we race and nothing bad happens (speaking for myself, as I've been racing since the 1980s).

Criteriums are not actually that dangerous if you want to get completely technical about the risk factors. For one thing you don't have to deal with random drivers, pedestrians, farm animals, etc... on a crit course because it's a closed course, plus by USAC safety rules they must pad any fixed objects adjacent to a crit course. I have seen far worse and more deadly crashes in road races to be perfectly honest - the speeds are often higher in descents and you have all the variables of traffic (controlled or no, as any promoter will attest, drivers are never 100% predictable), animals, potholes, gravel, cattle guards, or trees and guardrails in close proximity, etc... I would say that the great majority of the time when I've crashed or seen others crash in a crit, it's a simple sliding fall that causes minor road rash, you get up and take a free lap and go on about your day. Road rash isn't pretty or fun, but it's totally survivable and is by far the most common outcome of criterium wrecks.

I agree that it's scary seeing ambulances loading riders at events. I don't like it either. I also think that by USAC ruling, the officials and paramedics are being much more cautious now than they were in the rough-and-tumble bad old days as there are new rules and guidelines in place for dealing with concussions in sports. This is not a bad thing either.

Anything you read online is going to be filtered through the lens of the usual drama, third party uninformed opinion, and exaggeration. I was within 2 meters of every one of the crashes that happened (hmm. maybe I am a bad luck charm?), and behind/beside them such that I saw exactly how they played out. Which is me admitting that I'm not fast enough anymore to maintain good position (getting old kind of sucks that way) but from my first person perspective, none of them was the result of dangerous riding by beginners, and any of them could have (and do) happen in the more experienced men's fields. So the dudes like to poke fun at the women racers, it happens, but they're not immune to this stuff either. The real story here is we have some big, fast and competitive fields now, we're racing like the men, and sometimes when you race like the men, you crash like the men.

If you recall, the start of the women's 3/4 race at CSU was delayed by... wait for it... the ambulance on the course clearing off a rider from the Cat 4/5 men's race. It's entirely possible that the internet outrage machine has conflated their crash(es) with ours, too. So the sum total of crashes for the Cat 3/4 women's field this year is: 2 actual racing crashes and one dumb-luck low speed fall. One at Stazio, one at the Oval, plus the really random low speed tangle that happened between Lanier and myself on Sunday because we were all riding around in an unpredictable pattern chatting and not paying attention. It's just bad luck she happened to crack her helmet because she claimed she was fine.

And I've always wanted to show up at the start line of a crit in fullface helmet and pads as a joke. I was thinking more of doing it in a men's Cat 4/5 field because they're usually sketchier but if you're game, I am.