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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Suburban MA and Western ME
    Posts
    1,822

    Women's Fields in CX

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    OK. A promoter called me last night looking for my input on an issue he is facing with a race this coming weekend. He and I are friends, and I am an advocate for women's racing, particularly 'cross, so he wanted to hear my thoughts.

    Here's the issue - he has a Women's 3/4 field racing in the morning, for 30 minutes. The preceding race is a Cat 4 men's field, also racing for 30 minutes. All other fields during the day are racing for 45 minutes - for the same fee...

    So, some of the women have been inundating him with email to increase the time of the race to 40 minutes - comparable to MANY of the other events in the region. His belief is that if there are TRUE beginner women (Cat 4 = beginner), they should be racing for just 30 minutes, and if a Cat 3 woman wants to race longer, they can race the 1/2/3 field later in the day.

    Question for the good CX ladies of TE - if you are a beginner racer, do you want to race for 30 or 40 minutes? Please indicate how long you have been racing if you reply.

    FWIW, this is an informal poll that I am conducting. I will be making a recommendation to regional promoters at the end of the season base on inputs received, and numbers of racers at all of our events (yes, a separate Cat 3 field would be ideal, but we're not sure we quite have the numbers to support that).

    Thanks for your input!

    SheFly
    "Well behaved women rarely make history." including me!
    http://twoadventures.blogspot.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Denver Metro
    Posts
    844
    Keep it shorter. I am a 3 and I flip flop in the fields I race( I have been sick this year, so don't feel up to the 1-3 fields for longer races).

    If the 3s want, they can do the 1-3 race and if it is a beginner 4 asking, then they should just try it for 30 mins.

    I find, most people who have never raced don't understand how hard a race is, even though it is short. It is going to be 10x harder then training practice or a group ride,etc.

    If it is longer- you run the risk of scaring away true beginners.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Flagstaff AZ
    Posts
    2,521
    I don't race anymore, but did cross when I did. I would say keep it at 30 for CAT 4. Beginners need somewhere to start and cross can be intimidating at best.

    My question is why does he have a 3-4 race and a 1/2/3 race? Why not a 4 race and a 123; or a 3/4 race and a 1/2 race.

    Seems weird to me, but I never really raced cross in an area where there were a lot of women competitors so it was usually just open here.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Portland, OR, USA
    Posts
    125
    I've only done one race so far (40 minutes, beginner). My lungs felt like they were dying, but that started two minutes in, so the last ten minutes didn't make much of a difference. It flew by so fast. It seems like a 30-minute race wouldn't be enough time to get into it. I want to get my money's worth.

    What irks me is having a "women's race" with levels 1-3 all together. That's a wide range of abilities, and strikes me as unfair to top-level female racers. It also shunts women off to one side, so there's a bunch of men's category races -- masters, 1s, 2s, beginners, Clydesdales... -- and then one other race as a catch-all for the women (beginners excepted in the situation you mention). I like that in Oregon A women and A men (Oregon stuck with the letter system this year) race in the same time slot.

    It still irks me that my number reads "WO BEGINNER" whereas the men's just read "BEGINNER". Talk about otherizing.

    Anyway, tangents aside, I vote for the longer race.
    2011 Scott CX Team/Koobi Xenon
    2005 Bike Friday NWT/Selle Royal Lookin
    2001 Bianchi Giro/Terry Butterfly Ti
    1970s Centurion Le Mans/Ancient waffle saddle

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Posts
    90
    As a beginner, I really prefer the 30 minute race. The price difference doesn't bother me as during that extra 15 minutes of racing I'm most likely hanging out with other people or partaking in the food they provide, which is the real cost of these events.

    For the races hosted by Tailwind, everyone pays the same fee except for the Elite men and women category (they pay $5 more).

    Here's the flier for the next race (look at the second page):
    http://tailwind-racing.com/Events/20...2011-10-01.pdf

    As you can see, Cat-4 racers have the option of doing the 30minute or full 45 minute race. Everyone else does a full 45 minute race and I think that's a very nice way to organize.
    2011 Specialized Crux, aka (Toxic Honey)
    I'm faster in kilometers!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    15
    Quote Originally Posted by SheFly View Post
    OK. A promoter called me last night looking for my input on an issue he is facing with a race this coming weekend. He and I are friends, and I am an advocate for women's racing, particularly 'cross, so he wanted to hear my thoughts.

    Here's the issue - he has a Women's 3/4 field racing in the morning, for 30 minutes. The preceding race is a Cat 4 men's field, also racing for 30 minutes. All other fields during the day are racing for 45 minutes - for the same fee...

    So, some of the women have been inundating him with email to increase the time of the race to 40 minutes - comparable to MANY of the other events in the region. His belief is that if there are TRUE beginner women (Cat 4 = beginner), they should be racing for just 30 minutes, and if a Cat 3 woman wants to race longer, they can race the 1/2/3 field later in the day.

    Question for the good CX ladies of TE - if you are a beginner racer, do you want to race for 30 or 40 minutes? Please indicate how long you have been racing if you reply.

    FWIW, this is an informal poll that I am conducting. I will be making a recommendation to regional promoters at the end of the season base on inputs received, and numbers of racers at all of our events (yes, a separate Cat 3 field would be ideal, but we're not sure we quite have the numbers to support that).

    Thanks for your input!

    SheFly
    i have to disagree with the folks above me. there are 4s who are 4s bc they're new to the sport, want to compete, and want to move up. it's hard to get upgrade points at big races because the 3/4 fields are combined, so there are women in 4 that could potentially be 3s in the not-too-distant future. i think cutting races down shortchanges this group.

    addionally, from an optical perspective, it feels patronizing. oh, those women are beginners, they can't handle 40 minutes... now, i know that's not the intent but it can be interpreted that way. i think most cx races are in the 40 minute range. on the one hand i understand the desire to be "beginner friendly," but on the other i think the 4 races should be true preparation for 1/2/3 races. i'm a true beginner (now 3 races into my career) and as much as 40 minutes is painful, i don't think it's unapproachable.

    just my $.02

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    portland, or
    Posts
    191
    Quote Originally Posted by efacc View Post
    addionally, from an optical perspective, it feels patronizing. oh, those women are beginners, they can't handle 40 minutes... now, i know that's not the intent but it can be interpreted that way.
    amusingly, here in portland, the men beginners race for 40 minutes, but the women beginners, who race a combined field of Cat B, Beginners, Masters 35+ A, B & 45+, and Jrs 12+ (which for the first crusade race last year numbered somewhere around 270 women!), race for 45 minutes. i'm sometimes jealous of the guys for having 5 minutes less, but overall like having the full 45. i've only done 30 minute races at the evening races here, and it felt like it was over before i really started to get a feel for the course.

    fwiw, this is my 2nd season, i'm still racing Beginners since they don't have a Women's C category and the leap to B or even B 35+ is HUGE. there are still many skills that i don't have to consider myself anything more than a beginner, even with a season of races under my belt.

    OBRA has added a theoretical Women's C group, but they're not scoring them separately or anything, you're still counted among the Beginners. it's purely to gauge interest, and it looks like next year, they'll be adding it for real, since enough women have already said they'd be racing that category if it was an option.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Cape Cod, MA
    Posts
    414
    Hi Shefly,
    I'm joining the discussion late, but as a Cat 4 who will probably always be a Cat 4, I am happy either way. I think I do better in the shorter races and I think it would be best if we could have a separate Cat 4 race. At Sucker Brook they did have results separated out for Cat 3, Cat 4, 35+. It looks like there are definitely enough Cat 4 women to have separate races (at least in that field). For the stronger Cat 4 women, they would probably be able to place better and move up to Cat 3 faster if we had a separate Cat 4 field. It looks like there will be another huge women's field next weekend in Gloucester this year!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Middle of the mitten
    Posts
    109
    Another late to the thread, here our C events are all 30 min, the A women are 45. There's a huge difference in endurance and effort to make it those final 15 mins. Keeping the C races at 30-35 min and the next class at 40-45 makes a lot of sense.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Location
    Cincinnati
    Posts
    332
    Even later to respond but you said you were looking for input until the end of the season so....

    Keep the 4's 30 minutes and let the others race the 1/2/3 race. You can score the 3's separate if you want. That's what we're doing with the OVCX series.

    When I started racing cross four years ago we would have 4 or 5 women in the 3/4 fields with another 7 or 8 in the 1/2/3's now we have TWO cat 4 races - Open and 35+ (draw about 30 - 40 women) and then the Elite 1/2, Elite 3's and Elite Masters (all the Elite's race at the same time for 40 minutes, we just get scored separate. That's another 30 - 40 women.

    I'm so excited to see women's fields getting so big here in the Midwest!

 

 

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