Novice or Masters 45+

Hi all,

I have race experience from earlier days with NAAC Collegiate Races and various old Category 5 races. I have moved around the US a lot and found my new home in Pennsylvania to have some pretty bad race officials and hosts…lots of Camera finish line problems and such…I mean if I register ($$) to race and come in with the pack I would hope to see a ranking even if the same time as the group. I could never tell if I was improving.

Bitterly, I walked away from racing and spent 4.5 years riding with friends, fiance’ and alone (mostly). My finace, soon to be wife, wants to race. She will be a CAT 4 women racer and a novice.

I will be a??? Do I register in the novice category if the race offers that or do I race Masters 45+?

I am not sure if my first races should be to gain race experience with novice and try to hang in the group or risk a drop off the back with Masters 45+.

Thoughts?

Jim

I had a far better experience racing in Masters 35+ 4/5 versus Cat 4/5 last year. I did the Masters class in a state crit race versus the others being at ToAD. Why was it better for me?

  1. A lot more calm throughout the entire race.
  2. The riders had a lot better bike handling skills.
  3. There were more teams involved allowing me to see how they worked together for a common goal.
  4. More conscious riders in terms of safety. It’s just a hobby for me.
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Masters races in PA are mostly Cat 1-4 and exclude cat5/novice. There was a promoter offering 4/5 masters races a few years back but he’s no longer promoting. If you are a cat 4 but lack experience, I’d suggest starting with cat 4 races as the masters races in eastern PA have grown in size and are top heavy with guys that have raced all of their lives.

PA officials are pretty good in my experience. However, I do agree that sometimes the hired race camera/results companies have some difficulties, which from a rider’s perspective seem easy to solve but since I’ve never been in their position, I’ll not judge them. They seem to eventually get everything sorted out, at least for top positions and if not, there is always the protest period to lodge your complaint.

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That is what I am thinking. If I go with the new “Novice” category I can get my experience back.

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What part of PA do you call home?

I am in Dover. York, Harrisburg etc.

That’s a good centralized location for racing. I’m also in that same area, Hershey. You can pretty much race every weekend within 1.5 - 2 hours from home; Rodale Park, Philly, Lancaster, Baltimore area, etc.

Lower Providence Crit would be good race to start your season: https://www.bikereg.com/44641 It’s a wide open four corner criterium and has races for cat5/novice men and cat 4 women.

Turkey Hill Road Race (just over the river from you) a few weeks later also has a mens 4/5 but no women’s race this year. https://www.bikereg.com/46265 At almost 60 miles, it’s a pretty long race for 4/5 and includes two trips up Gamber Wall in its 9 laps.

Be sure to check bikereg.com for races. Only a few promoters have listed their races so far but more will pop up weekly.

Thanks! I am glad to not see Brownstown RR

That promotor is the one who ran a bunch of circuit/road races around Lancaster county. Over the past few years he has all but stopped running races. Last year he ran Kirkwood road race, the year before no races in central pa but possibly he helped with the Kelly Cup in MD. He was the one I mentioned above that would include masters 4/5 events. I’ve done many of his events (some good and some not as good) and can’t fault you for your feelings about them as I’ve heard the same from others.

Oh don’t miss Tour de Gretna RR on May 9th.
Here is a tentative list of PA Events: http://www.pacycling.org/news/2020-pa-wv-racing-schedule/