NORBA has no rules for mandatory upgrades from expert to semi-pro. in fact, even an expert national champion is not required to upgrade. the national champ is allowed to upgrade if a request is made in writing, but otherwise no upgrade occurs. so according to NORBA, there are no expert sandbaggers.
Indeed I understand the the rules about a rider being "allowed" to upgrade, and that one can "plateau" at expert and call it a day. Being relatively new to racing, I'll admit a lack of long-term experience and much elite level rider interaction, but given the spirit of racing and personal challenge, I just can't relate to the notion of retarding growth. This is what I perceive in a racer consistently winning or placing highly in a class as competitive as expert, especuially after a couple of seasons! Again, just my POV. I'm sure there are many valid points to counteract it, and that's OK too. The world according to NORBA isn't perfect, this I'll also admit. The rules do a good job of being fair for the most part, and that's all we can hope for.
this, of course, doesn't answer your contention that good experts should move up for the increased challenge.
Which is really the thrust of why I brought it up in a side-ways manner anyhow. Again, it's based on my
perception and sense of what racing is to me!
And you're points below outline why it may be appropriate to hang in expert for some folks.
but what if a locally or regionally good expert has his/her sights set on the national championship?
Perfect reason to stay in his/her expert class! Thankfully there aren't too many folks at expert level with the time & resources to have that thorough a plan. If they are who I'm talking about, than I'm damn proud to be near them (and not "whining" about them)! Heck, I'd be happy to do support for a local/regional prospective champ! Oh, I do
does that person have to give up that opportunity to conform to your ethical system?
Heck no! The last thing I'd expect from someone racing at a level that put's them in contention for a national title is to listen to me. They better run in the opposite direction, fast! I'm sorry if it seemed like I was defining an ethical "system" when all I intended to relay was POV.
and doesn't that just mean that a less ethical good rider, or an ethical "mediocre" (relatively speaking of course) expert, will be the national champ?
I think I see what you're saying, sort of, in that if all the fast experts moved up, the less "ethical" or more "mediocre" riders would win? Well, someone's always in the position to win, I suppose, and finding the group to race with at a similar level to one's own is key to deriving satisfaction from competition. Given the individuality among us all, there are few hard-fast rules for quantifying each other for accurate categorization, especially in amateur MTBike racing. So I suppose the gaps will always be significant in competition where there may be a national champ 'candidate' and local/regional level riders. Maybe that's why Allison Dunlap raced Men's Semi-Pro at Chalk Creek this year! She avoided the possible bad-feelings from local/regioanl pro women among other things, but probably just wanted the challenge! Again, I don't know her, or the reasons she did this, but respect and admire what she's done for the sport, to say the least!
all so the formerly good expert can get his/her arse kicked by pros 10 years younger.
Again, in my limited view & expierience, I hadn't considered someone older facing this conundrum, and do apologize. Obviously there'd be a disparity among a strong regional level older expert, and a nationally ranked pro/semi-pro in a head-to-head race. But for those in there 20's and 30's (and lot's of 40+ folks I know!) there's plenty of room & time for growth. So my inclination would be to go for it!
just seems to me that expert is the top class for most of us, and a hypothetical 33 yr-old with 2.5 kids and a job shouldn't be called a sandbagger because he happens to be pretty good.
That hypothetical 33 Y.O. doing "pretty good" in expert seems like the perfect candidate for hanging out in expert indefinately then! Multiple podiums over multiple seasons is a wee bit better than "pretty good" IMO, but still acceptable given what's been kicked around in this conversation if they're older..... or in limited instances if younger.
I certainly didn't mean to generalize nor did I intend to sway to far from my initial post, about a great race in an awesome region! I apologize for my "better late than never" over-enthusiasm in life for racing, and subsequent ignorance, as it's been a re-birth of sorts in my 34 Y.O. 2.5 kid type life...