*** UPDATED 3-22-2010 RACE FLYER ***
Something new is coming to the ACA this year. A mountain bike series in the Front Range of Colorado. The series is being put on by Race Pace Promotions and it looks like it's going to be a lot of fun. The series consist of six races beginning on April 3rd. We recently asked Erik Werner from Race Pace Promotions about the races.
[303Cycling] Do you know the format of each of the races (i.e. circuit vs. short track)?
[Race Pace Promotions] All races will be twice the length (time-wise) of the short track events. So the Men's A race will be 60min vs. the 30min for short-track. Course lengths will be dependent on the venue; Bear Creek will certainly be one of the longer courses, and we’ve got additional track planned for the Louisville and NAAC venues as well.
[303Cycling] Do you consider this a “true series”?
[Race Pace Promotions] We certainly want to make this a true series. Right now the main problem we're dealing with is that the series spans 3 months. That is a recipe for sandbagging. Sandbaggers suck. Everybody loves a good series, and most folks will happily upgrade when they get the chance, but there are always the select few that just love to stomp the lower cat and gag at the thought of having to work for it in the next class up. If the series were spread over a month it would be easier to deal with, but that 3 month block makes it interesting. However, we gave the series that 3 month spread for a reason – almost every FRMTB race is scheduled the weekend before an MSC or Winter Park event so racers can get out there on the cheap and test themselves before the bigger events. But back to the ‘series’ nature of it, yeah, we definitely want It to be a true series. Racers will get points and we’ll track it all on our site, and we plan on having series prizes at the end – but again, we’re still working out the details per category and how to deal with the sandbaggers.
[303Cycling] I saw there were going to be quite a few categories. What are they?
[Race Pace Promotions] Categories are self-seed, but generally follow the USAC mountain bike Cat 1,2,3 system (expert/sport/beginner for the Winter Park racers). The cats that we’re running are:
Juniors (might break it up boys/girls)
[303Cycling]I see from your twitter stream (http://twitter.com/RacePaceCo/status/10033558902) you really dislike sandbaggers (who doesn’t). What will be the criteria for moving people up a category?
[Race Pace Promotions] We're still working on a set of criteria for bumping people up a category. Any ideas? How about the idea of a group voting method? "Everybody who thinks Bob needs to move up a Cat raise your hand." That would be classic, "well, you just got voted off the island, Bob... have fun with the A's." The only sandbagger 'rule' we've come up with so far is the Sandbag of Shame. It's literally a sandbag, albeit a small one, with the word "SHAME" written on it - and if a rider is clearly decimating the competition in one of the B or C cats, we'll stop him or her, give them the sandbag, and they'll have to finish the race with it. We'll likely put backpack straps on it or something to make it easier to ride with.
Seriously though, we want this to be a super fun race series for everybody involved, so we hope people can judge for themselves if they truly belong in a higher cat. Maybe we'll throw it out to the Facebook and Twitter crowd to provide suggestions for upgrade criteria. (http://twitter.com/RacePaceCo/status/10284356922)
[303Cycling] I saw you had an online survey
(http://www.kwiksurveys.com/online-survey.php?surveyID=KKLHLH_70fec002). Are you still looking for more feedback? What have you learned from the survey?
[Race Pace Promotions] Feedback has died down at this point, but we succeeded in getting over 100 responses, which is pretty good considering the survey was sent out casually via Twitter and Facebook.
The main reason for putting the survey out there was to see what race licenses people have so we can in turn make the series as accommodating as possible to as many racers as possible. What we learned is that 35% of respondents have both USAC and ACA licenses, 26% have USAC only, an equal 26% have ACA only, and 13% have no license. Most of the folks that replied listed themselves as A racers, so the results were a bit skewed, but overall it was really valuable for us to the breakdown of licenses.
[303Cycling] Anything else you want to let us know about the series?
[Race Pace Promotions] The series is really coming along great. Sponsorships are starting to gel, as are volunteers, and other logistics. We received a LOT of positive feedback from people leaving comments at the end of the survey as well as emails through our website. The support is definitely out there, which is great!
We just want to get the word out there that the Front Range MTB Series is a local, grassroots series for mountain bikers to get their elbow-to-elbow racing fix in the springtime. Use the series as a go-to event, as a tune-up for bigger races, or for newbies as their first shot at mtb racing. We think the circuit format of the events will be a novel way for mtn bikers to race. Compared to a typical cross country race it’ll be shorter and at a lower level of technical difficulty, sure, but on the flipside there won’t be any downhills to recover on and regroup – meaning racers will be mashing the pedals all-out the entire time. Which naturally brings it into the short track sort of nature, but instead of 25-30min, racers will have to keep it going for up to an hour, and on a longer course. These races are going to be an LT taxing blast! ... and a perfect way to get high intensity race miles in your legs. All for just 25 bucks and a 25 minute drive.