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Discussion Starter #1
or am I just that slow. I am a long time rider, beginning racer. I am a 33 year old fit triathlete and adventure racer. Last year I started to mountain bike race. I had been doing it for about ten years recreationally. I joined a team and they advised me to enter as a begginner. I could always upgrade, but you can't go back.
I trained and trained, but come race season I got smoked by the other beginners. Maybe one season wasn't enough time but man, some of these "begginners were inhuman. They were beating me by nine or more minutes in a 16 mile race. I know at 6' 192 pounds i'm not exactly built to race, but something feels wrong.
Long story short...Am I be sandbagged to death or is a larger guy like myself destined to get the doors blown off by 145, 155 , and 165 pound guys.?

Help........Tim from massachusetts :confused:
 

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Quit racing and buy a heavy bike. Thats what I would do. Somehow I doubt thats what you were looking for though! I tried racing once, and it was horrible, I was super nervous, and I was sick the day of the race, I could hardly breathe on the climbs. It really left a bad taste in my mouth about racing. I ended up taking a completely different route in my riding and am more into super technical trails and jumping. I just have more fun when I am worrying about doing just that, not about winning races.
 

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tmccrohon said:
or am I just that slow. I am a long time rider, beginning racer. I am a 33 year old fit triathlete and adventure racer. Last year I started to mountain bike race. I had been doing it for about ten years recreationally. I joined a team and they advised me to enter as a begginner. I could always upgrade, but you can't go back.
I trained and trained, but come race season I got smoked by the other beginners. Maybe one season wasn't enough time but man, some of these "begginners were inhuman. They were beating me by nine or more minutes in a 16 mile race. I know at 6' 192 pounds i'm not exactly built to race, but something feels wrong.
Long story short...Am I be sandbagged to death or is a larger guy like myself destined to get the doors blown off by 145, 155 , and 165 pound guys.?

Help........Tim from massachusetts :confused:
I think there are plenty of Sandbaggers in the most beginner classes. Take a look at the race results of the begginer and the sport class that you raced in and see where you would have fell out in the next catergory. Also see what the top guys in the beginner catergory did comparied to the sport class. I saw one race where the beginner winner would have been 2nd in Sport. What a bagger. Anyway they are out there, I would say if anyone is doing significant training they should try sport.

My 2 ¢
 

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From what I gather, in NORBA races, riders can pick their own category. Here in BC, there's a points system. Everybody starts racing in Beginner, and you get points for every top 10 finish. After you get enough points, you get booted into the next higher category.

http://www.cycling.bc.ca/index.php?id=114

Pretty much the most fair system I know of, as beginner is pretty wide open, but the faster riders get sorted out and pushed out pretty quickly. I think you guys south of 49 should push NORBA into something similar. Might keep people in the racing scene who might otherwise drop out if sandbaggers get kicked out of the lower cats.

Kn.
 

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K'Endo said:
From what I gather, in NORBA races, riders can pick their own category. Here in BC, there's a points system. Everybody starts racing in Beginner, and you get points for every top 10 finish. After you get enough points, you get booted into the next higher category.

http://www.cycling.bc.ca/index.php?id=114

Pretty much the most fair system I know of, as beginner is pretty wide open, but the faster riders get sorted out and pushed out pretty quickly. I think you guys south of 49 should push NORBA into something similar. Might keep people in the racing scene who might otherwise drop out if sandbaggers get kicked out of the lower cats.

Kn.
I think that would be great and it makes sense. I'm sure it has been proposed before, I don't understand why NORBA would not do something like that. Of course it is probably money related.

Bill Porter
 

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mtbbill said:
I think that would be great and it makes sense. I'm sure it has been proposed before, I don't understand why NORBA would not do something like that. Of course it is probably money related.

Bill Porter
I think you should have the chance to win a beginner race before you move up. I spent several years in beginner until I was finally able to win a race (the super sandbagger raced sport finally). Same with sport. I'll win one if the current sandbagger doesn't show up :) Of course that will make me the sandbagger but I'm ok with that considering I've never won a sport race. Why should riders be forced to move up to expert where they'll likely never win a race?

As for the 6' 192lb issue, unless you're overweight for your size then you should be able to place higher in races. Maybe you're just not a fierce enough competitor.
 

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Tim,

Don't despair. If you enjoy racing, just set your mind to beat those sandbaggers, Train harder than they do and pretty soon the superhuman will become human. My early races were a sobering experience too, but I didnt quit. It made me mad, so I trained harder and before I knew it, I was on the podium. Racing isnt for everybody. It isnt like just riding around for 10 years. You could ride for 20 years, and still not be prepared for a beginner class race. Racing takes mountainbiking to a whole different level. It is much more intense than riding. If you enjoy racing, go train, train at anaerobic levels, aerobic levels, and sub-aerobic levels. Train on the road, train off-road, do long rides on the weekend. Have fun and good luck.

tmccrohon said:
or am I just that slow. I am a long time rider, beginning racer. I am a 33 year old fit triathlete and adventure racer. Last year I started to mountain bike race. I had been doing it for about ten years recreationally. I joined a team and they advised me to enter as a begginner. I could always upgrade, but you can't go back.
I trained and trained, but come race season I got smoked by the other beginners. Maybe one season wasn't enough time but man, some of these "begginners were inhuman. They were beating me by nine or more minutes in a 16 mile race. I know at 6' 192 pounds i'm not exactly built to race, but something feels wrong.
Long story short...Am I be sandbagged to death or is a larger guy like myself destined to get the doors blown off by 145, 155 , and 165 pound guys.?

Help........Tim from massachusetts :confused:
 

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Topaz said:
I think you should have the chance to win a beginner race before you move up. I spent several years in beginner until I was finally able to win a race (the super sandbagger raced sport finally). Same with sport. I'll win one if the current sandbagger doesn't show up :) Of course that will make me the sandbagger but I'm ok with that considering I've never won a sport race. Why should riders be forced to move up to expert where they'll likely never win a race?

As for the 6' 192lb issue, unless you're overweight for your size then you should be able to place higher in races. Maybe you're just not a fierce enough competitor.
What I was trying to get at (and failed at) is that in some races that the beginner catergory is so packed with sandbaggers that you could actually place higher in the sport catergory.

Bill Porter
 

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mtbbill said:
What I was trying to get at (and failed at) is that in some races that the beginner catergory is so packed with sandbaggers that you could actually place higher in the sport catergory.

Bill Porter
So move up to Sport. The "official" NORBA rules read that you can enter any class Expert or lower. They also insist that you will be made to upgrade with 5 top 5s or 3 top 3s, but it seems to not be enforced too much. Are you racing for the competition or do you want to have a high placing? If you think you can finish mid pack or so in Sport (and you didn't buy a 1 year beginner license), move up. Racing a higher class will make you a better racer. When you move up, competition increases and racers race smarter. The "Beginner" class is more for someone that is "beginning" to race, regardless of riding history. Ride a few beginner races until you figure what it's all about, then move up. The riders that don't will be worse off in the long run. Let them sandbag.
 

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tmccrohon said:
Long story short...Am I be sandbagged to death or is a larger guy like myself destined to get the doors blown off by 145, 155 , and 165 pound guys.?

Help........Tim from massachusetts :confused:
You know how you beat a sandbagger? Upgrade. Showing up at the starting line for sport, deserves more respect than finishing first beginners.

I think you should have the chance to win a beginner race before you move up. I spent several years in beginner until I was finally able to win a race (the super sandbagger raced sport finally).
Beginner means beginner. If you've done something for years, how can you claim you're a beginner at it?

I came a local rider a lot of **** last year because he had been racing beginner for 4 years and in the last year he had placed top 3 a handful of times this last year. This season's first race will be in a week and I'm really interested to see if he upgrades.

I was in a discussion today with a guy I ride with once in a while. We were talking about races this next year. He rides a few times a month and races maybe once or twice a year. He was talking about how frustrating it was last year when he actually trained a bit, and thought he was in good shape for a local race. The 3 or 4 sandbaggers in beginners were so far ahead of most of the field that it was obvious they were not where they belonged. If not for the sandbaggers he would have finished in the top 10 of the secondary group.

Sandbaggers kill the sport for many real beginners who get turned off from racing. They are vile creatures.

george
 

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Don't bet on it. The Sport class has its

..share of Sandbaggers, prob more so. I'd venture to say, that most Sport class podium quality racers, prob around 60% have professional coaching/advice to some degree. Maybe even the top Beginner class for that matter. I started racing this past Spring doing so in the Sport class (Master40-49)instead of Bgnr. No give aways there, I can promise you that one. Ended up racing 6 times, being more then i planned on doing. Got hooked right off.Yes indeedy.
 

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Ha

Amateur racing is a joke. Thanks for spotlighting one aspect of why this is. Paying money to ride a mountain bike trail in a crowd is ridiculous.
 

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last season the top 3-4 beginner women in the local race series would have also won the sport category, as well as given some of the experts a run for the money had they entered that division. did they ever upgrade? nope! stayed in beginner the whole season b/c they were "looking for sponsers". i know several true beginner women who stopped racing last season b/c they didn't want to be in a beginner race that had more sport level racers than the actual sport class did.

i race sport... have for a few years. and the races i win are the ones where no one else shows up. ;)
 

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J.D. said:
Amateur racing is a joke. Thanks for spotlighting one aspect of why this is. Paying money to ride a mountain bike trail in a crowd is ridiculous.

Whoah, I'll admit that the parts of the amateur racing experience, like oh, the expense, are a drag. But after racing a solid season (in beginner where my best finish was sixth), I can't think of another way to ride and get the same intensity of experience that you get from a race. The adrenaline surge and the feeling of being buoyed along by everyone elses energy, it's just great. You have to admit, it's like nothing else. I'll pay for that, and I never expect I'll win one of these things.
Sandbaggers are there, and though winning would no doubt be cool, it's not my primary reason for showing up. Call me a dirty hippy, whatever, I'm just there for the experience.
 

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Tim,

Another thing or two here.

With your triathlon experience, you would probably fare better in a longer race than the guys you raced against in beginner. I wonder at the ability of the blazing fast beginner guys to hold that pace for the extra length of a Sport race. I think it might be easy for the fast twitch types to kill in beginner whereas the steady effort types start coming to the fore in sport and higher. Also, in keeping with the complaint that it stinks to pay money to ride in the woods with a bunch of other dudes, as posited above, you get more pain for your buck if you sign on for the sport race. All around winning proposition. How long until your season in Mass.?
 

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go to longer races

I've noticed similar situations on the few races I've attended or witnessed. Go do a long marathon type MTB race such as a Wilderness 101 or Shenandoah 100. It quickly seperates abilities. Based on your previous riding, Tri's and Adv. you would love a 100 mile struggle up and down ridges on a cool September day.

You now see races called XXC or extreme x crountry. I'm entering on in April which is 38 miles. I don't even think about actually competing to win, but it is nice to see other folks riding hard and having a relatively safe course to push myself on.
 

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Here's what I did...

When I first started racing I would get killed in the beginner class and never uderstood why, afterall I did train and when I would ride with my friends I had fun and was fast. I realized that I was getting too nervous and had to stop feeling like I had to impress somebody or even myself. The next race I set my goal to to start of easy and just not finish last ( I had finished mid pack before), before I knew it I was moving up through the field and found myself in 3rd place. The next time I used this approach I won. That is just 1 suggestion that might throw out there this may not be your problem but it seemed to be mine. Relax, forget about the sandbaggers, race to have fun not to win, and you might surprise yourself.
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Discussion Starter #18
Some good thoughts to my original post!

My race season here in Massachusetts starts in early April. I am now thinking of upgrading to sport after hearing the advice. This year will be tough as I suffered a broken leg in three places riding on Thanksgiving. I will enter some of the late season races for fun. It will be good training for my August and September Xterra Triathlons. I think my endurance racing experience will pay off in longer races. Even though I never got above middle pack beginner, I think racing sport will help me get faster. I am usually top 10% in offroad trithlons, so I know I can improve. This may because i'm a blazing fast swimmer and gain 4 or more minutes in the swim. Ever try to catch a buddy with a 4 minute lead at race pace? Big advantadge.
I guess I am going to run into sandbaggers everywhere I go. I guess I'll just have tio get faster or be content with mid pack. And as someone said earlier, they are not beginning riders, they are beginning racers. I guess I am trying to say is that I am moving to sport because even though I never place, ten years as a rider does not make me a beginner. I'm afraid i was just a slow sandbagger. My being in begginer races probably discouraged a true beginner from placing in their goal position. I will get kiled in sport, but I will feel better about myself. Great posts people, MTBR rocks!!
GrantB said:
Tim,

Another thing or two here.

With your triathlon experience, you would probably fare better in a longer race than the guys you raced against in beginner. I wonder at the ability of the blazing fast beginner guys to hold that pace for the extra length of a Sport race. I think it might be easy for the fast twitch types to kill in beginner whereas the steady effort types start coming to the fore in sport and higher. Also, in keeping with the complaint that it stinks to pay money to ride in the woods with a bunch of other dudes, as posited above, you get more pain for your buck if you sign on for the sport race. All around winning proposition. How long until your season in Mass.?
 

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Tim, NORBA has rules in place to handle sandbaggers. 5 top 5 finishes in qualiying races requires an upgrade at the end of the series, period. That is the rule. It is largely enforced by the racers that would mostly benefit by a sandbagger being forced to upgrade. That means you. If you know the rule, and also know of a racer that is not complying with the rule, go to your local NORBA rep, and report the offender. That is the way the system works. It is so easy to be discouraged after your first few races and call everybody else a sandbagger, but unless you know for sure that they are violating the NORBA rule, then you cannot call them a sandbagger, and if in fact they are violating the NORBA rule, then it is up to you to do the right thing, and contact your local NORBA rep. It is not the right thing to just sit back and blindly acuse everyone that finished in front of you a sandbagger. This is a self-regulating sport, so go forth and regulate, just make sure you have your facts together.

PS, I have been racing many years. Currently in Masters Experts.



tmccrohon said:
My race season here in Massachusetts starts in early April. I am now thinking of upgrading to sport after hearing the advice. This year will be tough as I suffered a broken leg in three places riding on Thanksgiving. I will enter some of the late season races for fun. It will be good training for my August and September Xterra Triathlons. I think my endurance racing experience will pay off in longer races. Even though I never got above middle pack beginner, I think racing sport will help me get faster. I am usually top 10% in offroad trithlons, so I know I can improve. This may because i'm a blazing fast swimmer and gain 4 or more minutes in the swim. Ever try to catch a buddy with a 4 minute lead at race pace? Big advantadge.
I guess I am going to run into sandbaggers everywhere I go. I guess I'll just have tio get faster or be content with mid pack. And as someone said earlier, they are not beginning riders, they are beginning racers. I guess I am trying to say is that I am moving to sport because even though I never place, ten years as a rider does not make me a beginner. I'm afraid i was just a slow sandbagger. My being in begginer races probably discouraged a true beginner from placing in their goal position. I will get kiled in sport, but I will feel better about myself. Great posts people, MTBR rocks!!
 

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Not every winner is a sandbagger

I did a race in Conn. this fall. It was the first race I had done in 5 years. I came in second, I was talking to the wife of the who won guy and she said it was his first MTB race. He was a tri-racer. We finished 5+ minutes ahead of the field as I recall. While checking the posted results I overhead some of the other guys bitc*ing about the winners sandbagging and should move up to sport. I assume sandbagging means spending time on both my raod and MTB bikes. I think you'll find that if you put in the miles sandbaggers are not much an issue.
Chris
 
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