So the UCI cyclocross World Masters Championships are coming up in a couple of months, and the venue is about 10 minutes drive from my work. It’s the second year of a 2-year deal at the same venue; I missed it last year so I fully plan to go and watch, or possibly marshal if I can. But… should I race?
A bit of background: I’ve been riding bikes and running for years so I’m not unfit, but at the London Marathon 2 weeks ago I did 5:25 so I’m not exactly fast. I’ve never done a cross race, but I have ridden a fair bit of gravel and mild singletrack (gravel in my part of the UK means mostly either soft sand or muddy farm tracks, not US-style hardpack roads). I would be in the M40-44 age cat, which is gonna be fairly fast and may have some pretty quick guys in it (you’re not allowed in if you’re a current pro/elite rider at senior level, so no uber-quick riders though). I will be thoroughly out of my depth and I accept that I would most likely finish last, if I can finish at all. My main concern would be getting in everyone’s way and being a mobile chicane. And this is all dependent on getting a spot - 50% of the places are reserved for non-UK riders, which I qualify for by being Irish, but otherwise I have no credentials to get in and I’d feel a bit guilty for taking a spot from a better rider.
But how often will I get the chance to ride at a World Champs? I’m not going to travel overseas to do one, unless I was in a position to get a top 10 (never gonna happen!). It’s not likely to come back to the UK within several years at least, never mind in my own back yard.
Should I let discretion be the better part of valour?
Absolutely you should race! Go for it! You have still plenty of time to train and it would be a great experience. If the location is so close to you the worst thing that could happen is that you would be last and that’s not a bad thing.
Technically anyone can enter (if you’re old enough), but they offer places in order based on various criteria - previous results in national and regional races, previous masters events, ranking points etc. I have none of these so quite likely I won’t get in anyway.
Go for it - I’m local too, and couldn’t make it last year but I’m in this year. If you are accepted, you won’t be getting in anyone’s way - partly because you’ll be gridded towards the back, but also because you’ll get pulled under the 80% rule if the leaders catch you up.
yes, those local league races are way more fun! I don’t race often, just a few times a year, but with the local (mtb) races, the atmosphere is always very nice, chat a bit with other locals , and I can compete at least a little bit
For myself that means, I never compete for a podium, but finishing with the top 25-50% is a nice goal.
The top local guys are another level. I would not enjoy a race with -only- guys of that level or even better (which I assume would be the case on world champ masters, you should expect FTP’s of 5+ w/kg / 330+ watts and a well polished skill set, if you lack the skills and are “only” 4 w/kg or even less, you will get lapped in 20 minutes)
As stated in the posts above, while it’ll be cool to say “I raced a World Champs”, you will be so far out of your depth. The fitness and CX-specific skill level will be really high, you will probably be lapped fairly quickly and pulled from the race.
In my 30s I raced the World Masters XCO Champs at a venue close to me. I was podiuming at provincial level races in my age group, I had raced on these trails many many times at Provincial level and 12/24-hour races, the course suited my abilities. The result? I almost got lapped, starting my last lap I was heading up the fire road away from the start/finish area when I heard the cheers from the crowd as the leaders sprinted in. I finished 25th overall…
On the other hand, it is a cool experience, and following better riders taught me some new things, like “wow, it’s actually possible to ride that”
Do a local cross race next weekend (or this, if you can still sign up) and see how you like it first.
Afaik the Ipswich course isn’t easy, but it depends on the weather. Last year’s was apparently quite slippery.
Regarding if you would get in - the way I understand the criteria is that they let people with foreign race licenses in first - so you need an Irish license, not just a passport. If you race on a BC license, you might come under BC riders. But I may be wrong.
For BC riders, you’d deffo need to qualify in that age category, it’s oversubscribed even in national trophy events. (Think it’s by national ranking/points).
I’m sort of facing the same dilemma, I was going to enter, but my cross season has gone from bad to worse, so I’ve pretty much decided not to waste time and money to come last.
I only have a BC license, but when I looked at the registration form online it had a box to enter your nationality - no idea if they go by this or your license number. Anyway it’s moot, I’m not doing it!
As for that, since it’s the Masters I’ll just be in a different age cat and hopefully with a lot more experience and fitness. Even if I don’t get another chance for 25 years, I’ll only be 64 and still in my prime!
Don’t take this the wrong way, but you’re going to be a liability. If you’ve never raced cross, you are massively underestimating how hard and technical it is. Everyone, myself included, thinks you can just hop in with a basic level of biking fitness and get it done, only to realize how wrong you are 20 seconds in…
Think of it this way… people that are coming to worlds in the 40year age bracket have been doing this for a long time. At least in the states, the 40+ 1/2/3 field is often only a few seconds a lap off the elites and minutes a lap faster than the cat 5s.
Don’t you need a UCI licence with a UCI ID (you have two numbers, you Federation membership number and your UCI ID number) just like you do for road masters world championships which you have to meet the qualifying criteria?
I’ve just checked my and it seems to cover you for Road / Track, CX, BMX, MTB various, but I couldn’t enter because I haven’t qualified.
Also reading the enter criteria, I believe you need to have taken place in a CX event, if you have a GB-UCI licence they look at your placing, generally a top 10 finish or better is required (in the current or previous season?, depends on how many and who enters.)
For non-GB UCI licence they look at results as well, but if I understand correctly 50% of the entry is for non-GB-UCI licence holders so there is more chance of a lower entry criteria to get in, you still need previous results though unless I’m totally wrong or they can’t fill the spaces, sound like a rollback system, I might be wrong though.