I am honestly tired for signing up for crits. I am >4w/kg and my ftp is 250 but I am 125lbs. I kind of hate why everyone enjoys crit racing and no one puts on RR’s. I was wondering this group of peoples opinion on it. Crits just are not fun but those are the only races close to the DC area that go on. Oh and also how dangerous Crits are I am just surprised there are more crits then classic road races. Climbers like me cannot benefit while taller guys benefit like every other sport…
At a basic level, it’s just logistically more complex and expensive to host, run and get approval from city council or a county board. Everyone is afraid of liability these days and because a crit is smaller and easier to contain, it’s a lower liability than a road race. They’re also more enjoyable for non-cycling folks because you get to see a lot more of the race.
I too wish there were more road races, but it’s not the trend in the U.S., unfortunately.
Yeah road races are generally tougher to put on
I’ll rant back, for giggles.
On a practical note: Organizing races isn’t cheap or easy… It gets way worse on long courses in metro-areas (and I would imagine that metro DC is always already fed up with dignitary/event related closures).
I’ve redrafted the rest a few times, to avoid sounding petty, and to avoid language that might be taken the wrong way. I have no malice towards short, skinny people who are frustrated by their local racing options The course is the course, the racers make the race. Everyone who clips in, has a chance to make something happen. Such is life, we all have different chances to succeed in racing.
On a simple note: If you don’t like flat crits, don’t enter flat crits. You’re an amateur who does this for fun, right? If it’s not fun, or not worth the risk, then DON’T DO IT. Be prepared to travel for amateur bike racing. Or move. Its literally your life, USAC and event organizers aren’t telling you that you have to stay the mid-atlantic for racing, or life.
OR step up and organize a road race or kermess-style circuit with a course that suits you. Everyone else wins and you only have to put forth the effort to organize it and find the volunteers and funds. Maybe by year three, you’ve got a well-established organizing team, and you can actually participate in it. (I’ve only volunteered a few times, and the people who put on races in the US tend to do it because they love bike racing, do you love it enough to cobble a race together?). You might find some luck if you volunteer to head up the circuit-race organizing committee to tack onto an established crit organization. Or they’ll tell you why they haven’t been able to make an omnium weekend work for their format. “If you build it, someone will come” - Dyersville, IA cornfield.
On a racing experience note: Have you ever tried drafting a person 70 lbs lighter and 6+ inches shorter than you? Here’s a hint, you’re benefiting a ton in that pace line/peloton and the 6’3" 195lb 3.25-4.25w/kg tractor pulling you along, he gets significantly less draft from you than you can imagine (I’m only typing from experience, not frustration). I’d love to find a 4w/kg 265lb 6’9" guy to pull ME through a flat crit. 481 FTP and a wind-tunnel behind him the size of Secretariat. Sounds comical doesn’t it?
Has your team put on a road race??? If not, then you guys are part of the problem.
And, I know it’s a monumental PITA to put on a race. Back when I raced my team put on a road race and a crit. We basically paid one team mate a $2000 out of the proceeds because he spent hundreds of hours pulling it all off.
I have seen more and worse crashes in road races than I’ve ever seen in crits. Usually road races in the US have significant parts of the course which are very narrow, and since the courses don’t often have features that allow for a selection to take place, you get too many riders in too small of a space, which spells disaster.
This is it for the most part. Tell a town that you’re going to need somewhat exclusive use of their roadways for an extended period of the day (even if it’s a “rolling closure”) and they’ll more than likely nix the idea unless you’ve got a lot of money. This is part of the reason gravel races are on the rise, those roads are so unused that you don’t need to worry about closures or disrupting traffic through a town/city.
And this is a huge factor in getting events to stick around. Was actually just talking about this on my ride yesterday. The key to getting races that become entrenched in the community is to get the community involved and have them see the value in the event. This means it has to be entertaining for all spectators, not just the other racers that show up. It’s part of the reason that you see big series like Tulsa Tough, Intelligentsia Cup, and ToAD have large town festival events around the races. When you get the community involved and get their support behind putting the race on, then you’ve got something that’s more likely to stick around.
I think its purely logistics of planning. Much easier to block off a school parking lot which isn’t being used on a Sunday rather than city streets or country roads. Also with the .75 mile circuit I did yesterday the ambulances were able to quickly get to everyone who crashed, which may not be the case on a longer road course.
There are less and less RRs over the years. But if you’re in the DC metro region you need to look at races in VA or PA.
In the DC metro region, it just ain’t gonna happen due to the population density and number of people negatively impacted. Unless the organizer can pull in mega-bucks to offset the costs and show how its worthwhile to the impacted communities.
I’m not sure what you define as the “DC Area” or how far you are willing to drive but before COVID there were a decent amount of road races between University of Maryland, Jeff Cup, Poolesville, Virginia Tech, and I’m sure there are some in PA also or even down into NC.
Like others said, its easier to close .75mi in a town where you can maybe convince the town that all these bike racers will stop and buy coffee before the race and then buy lunch during/after the races than it is to do a rolling closure with a moving police convoy of 20mi of rural roads.
Pre-Covid, a local RR series had to be cancelled because Police and British Cycling (it wasn’t even a BC series) insisted that all marshals had to accredited to carry out their roles. The course to become accredited was around £250 per person. With 5 different events and around 10 different marshals required at each it became impossible.
Cost is a huge factor. Not just liability, but paying for multiple police officers to drive the course with the fields (and they get overtime), paying the county or counties for permits. Then you have to get corner marshalls, multiple race officials on motos…
Parking lot crits, and circuit races, are much more cost-effective.
Organizing a bike race in the US is more of a PITA than most people would imagine although it is doable for mere mortals.
Securing a course, especially for road race, can be a nightmare. Our club puts on a crit that takes place in an office park on a Sunday when 95% of the businesses are closed. But the road we use is public so we have to spend multiple hours over several months meeting with the local police force to perfect our plan and have them give us their blessing so we can use the road. They are supportive but just 1 complaint gets the local leadership up in arms. As bad as it is, it’s 1.5 miles all in the same jurisdiction and we are only potentially inconveniencing a handful of people. Stitching together a road race with multiple jurisdictions it’s a freaking nightmare.
Once you get your course, it’s not really that hard to put on a race but it does take a decent number of volunteers and handful of people who are willing to work many many many hours in the months before the race.
Amateur races in the US are usually the vision of one person or a small group like the leadership group of a bike club. One person stepping up can make a difference so you want more races put on more races.
Locally I have seen a couple individuals step up and decide there is going to be a bike race get it all put together. One person can literally make the difference. We’ve also had local races of long-standing that have ended because the one person who was the driving force behind the race stepped back and no one stepped up to take their place.
It’s hard to find people willing to do that year after year. It’s a grind. Also, usually the person or people working the hardest are the most committed to bike racing but they don’t actually get to do their own bike race because they’re working on putting on a bike race.
Many many good points above, I will also note that I perceive an anti bike bias that probably makes it hard to stage events. Heck one of yhe premier cyclocross races in the US (Gloucester) is no more because people in power decided the race was destroying the park where it’s held, despite the organizer leaving it in better condition than the town maintained it. A road race in Jamestown RI is a shell of itself as just a minor fondo because the town didn’t like a bunch of cyclists crowding the town on Columbus Day. So I imagine that’s the type of stuff folks are dealing with in trying to organize events
The easiest place to put on a bike races is at a local sports car track, if you can get them to rent you the track at a reasonable price. . . But, keep in mind if you had a race on a street course you have to pay for police overtime and you probably end up having to rent some barricades too both of which which can total a couple thousand dollars so cost wise it’s usually a wash if not cheaper to rent the race track.
Because you don’t need to secure the course and have a million marshals to keep people from randomly walking or driving onto the track/bike racecourse, you can run a race with an official crew and as few as four or five volunteers to handle registration.
Also, in some areas, local police or state highway patrol have increased their fees to cover bike races, and municipalities/counties have increased their fees for events, precisely because they don’t want a bunch of cyclists clogging up the roads on a Saturday or Sunday.
There is virtually no road racing in SoCal.
I completely understand how difficult it must be to organize so I don’t complain about it. I did travel to NorCal a couple years ago for something and jumped into a RR up there, was kinda nice.
I race MTB, and am also small, so crits don’t interest me.
Hey dude. I got the same issue. It’s extremely hard to race a crit with a climbers body. A crit race is the easiest race to put on. And in a road race you need to close much more road. So it is understandable if there are mor crits especially in a more populated area. I don’t enjoy crits nearly as much as road races but it’s better than not racing at all.
I get it, however, I’m the opposite. I was coerced into racing my first criterium when I was basically obsessed with mountain bike racing/riding. I ended up having so much fun I quit mountain bike racing and focused on road events since that day.
That first criterium was an event our team promoted. We were a mountain bike centric group but, had a road team as well and at that time it was a requirement of USAC to put on an event. Today, while not 100% sure I don’t think this is the case. So, w/o that requirement the racing has declined.
Co-incidentally, about the same time, permitting seemed to become so blocked by red tape it seemed to became a full time job promoting an event. I remember thinking before event coordination was much of a thing thinking I wish there was a service or one stop shop promoter who we could pay to deal with the permits, police, barricades, timing, rest rooms etc…Now that is a thing!
Another thing that has changed over the years (at least around here) is the decline in shop sponsored teams. Years ago it seemed nearly anyone thinking about racing was part of a shop sponsored club. While there still are today the number of riders on the road wearing team kits is noticeably smaller.
Yet another change has been NICA in the USA. Not saying anything negative just that if younger generation coming into cycling are mountain centric that pulls parents and more emphasis from road to mountain. So, the money is more off road.
So, the rise of gravel is the new road racing in the USA. I’d focus there if I were more a climber/endurance rider. JMO
I agree with this. Driver attitudes and safety have contributed to this I think.
I also think the reason you don’t see more RR is the average cyclists fitness here. Much easier to get the green folks on a 45min crit than a 2hr RR