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Just curious if it is typical to have some sandbaggers in the Beginner classes at Mnt Bike races? Reason I ask is that I entered my first race the other day in the Beginner class and the guy that won the class had a faster lap time than one of the Expert class race winner. Seems like to me if you were that fast you would at least try Sport or even a better class. Not that I would have won my race or anything but thought it odd that in a beginner class you had guys that rode that fast..
 

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Happens in Sport as well. In some of the more popular races you get some very strong riders who are not competing in the series but just decide to do that particular race. Most of these riders really belong in the Expert class but for whatever reason (ego most likely) race Sport.
 

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I did an XC race recently and noticed several beginner riders with running shoes, flat pedals, hybrids etc. right behind them were a few guys with racing jerseys, Sworks bikes etc. I think to them beginner means not paid to race! You can't always tell from looking but these guys crushed everyone
 

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Occasionally though you do get the guy who just doesn't know where he should race. 2 seasons ago we had a local guy try his first race and beat the field by 5 minutes in the cat 3 class. Next race he moved to cat 2 and took 2nd.

Very rare, but it happens. Most of them are just being pricks and not moving up.


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We have a guy do this in the intermediate class of a local series race, he always comes in top 3 but more often then not he wins it every week. He needs to move up to expert, heck I do not win but I decided to move up to expert, it's more laps and I like the intensity/competition.
 

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It is only sandbagging if the person has a history of this....aka repeats destroying everyone over and over.

Often you will get a fast roadie that is new to mountain biking and they have no idea where they fit in. Naturally, they test the waters as a beginner and then move up immediately thinking "Oops!"

The folks that constantly win and do not move up are the only sandbaggers. These people are an odd breed imo.

.02
 

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apparent sandbagging happens
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if you continue racing, and this 'sandbagger' keeps showing up....you will be able to identify actual sandbagging vs 'the local fast guy' and then can make a complaint to uci they need to up-categorize someone

otherwise

it is just someone who is fast but doesn't race a lot. or never got around to upgrading.
 

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Cat 1 requires a license, and required qualifications to obtain that license. At least in my state, where the series is very powerful / popular and USAC sanctioned. Most of the other races are classified by length, as in the longest would be cat 1 / expert, but some guys just feel like doing the earlier or later and may take a shorter race. Its just part of racing. Also, guys in sport you may think are 'bagging maybe MUCH slower than even 75% tile racers in cat 1.
 

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Often you will get a fast roadie that is new to mountain biking and they have no idea where they fit in. Naturally, they test the waters as a beginner and then move up immediately thinking "Oops!"
This is honestly pretty common in my experience. The first time I raced I was pretty experienced but had zero idea where I'd fit in the racing scene, so I entered as Cat 3. I won pretty handily and immediately upped to Cat 2 for the next race. Cat 3 wins are not something that most people brag about, so I suspect the sandbagging is not particularly prevalent at that level ...
 

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Lots of people have soft and fragile egos... if they finish before you they are affirmed as "champions" in their own mind. It doesn't matter if your are racing the elderly in walkers, they'll still do it. Every time I see someone do this, I typically walk up and ask them if they need a hug...
 

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Why not mandatory upgrades? Too much hassle involved with licensing and extra bookkeeping? I remember back in my roadie days that a sandbagger could slip into a race every once in awhile but they couldn't do it for long.
 

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I agree that it's typically the fit roadie that is testing the waters with MTB or a local fast person who doesn't know exactly where they fit it. The generic advice is always start in CAt 3 when you don't know, so that is what they do.

Even a fast fist roadie with a high level road license may start as Cat 2/Sport because, as mentioned, you need a license that says Cat 1 MTB in order to enter that event. I've definitely seen that one where a Cat 2 roadie must enter sport and crushes the field by minutes.

There are mandatory upgrades, but they only apply to licensed riders. And the mandatory requirements involve 3-5 race finishes to base the upgrade on. So it isn't like one commanding win means you are forced to upgrade.

I entered my first ever race in sport and got DFL. I was a semi-experienced rider at that point but had no idea where I stacked up against racers. The next year I entered my second ever race as Cat 3/beginner and took the win. I went back up to Cat 2 and have sat stagnant there ever since!
 

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fit roadies are easy to detect on trail. plenty suds up hills but choke between the trees. so if you see a combo of riding hard but dabbing on useless chuff...boom...lost roadie :)
 

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At least for me > "beginner" means beginner racer, not beginner cyclist. If you haven't raced in the last x years or ever... by all means race beginner, even if your fit as a fiddle, there is more to XC racing than being fit. As such, seeing some crazy things in the beginner class is pretty normal. Roadies included (they should try to perhaps cat down one if they are testing the waters tho)... but here, races are won on the climbs and the fit roadies compete well, even if they can't ride a mountain bike for $hit. Sandbagging happens and perhaps should be baked into the expectations a bit. I think a bottom third expert is just as welcome in a sport race. There will always be overlap and some folks prefer taking there lumps while others prefer to compete and try to win. Win twice in same class same series by 5+ mins... move up. That's excessive. There is no beginner sandbagging unless the person has race experience, otherwise, it's basically a learning class.
 

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At least for me > "beginner" means beginner racer, not beginner cyclist. If you haven't raced in the last x years or ever... by all means race beginner, even if your fit as a fiddle, there is more to XC racing than being fit. As such, seeing some crazy things in the beginner class is pretty normal. Roadies included (they should try to perhaps cat down one if they are testing the waters tho)... but here, races are won on the climbs and the fit roadies compete well, even if they can't ride a mountain bike for $hit. Sandbagging happens and perhaps should be baked into the expectations a bit. I think a bottom third expert is just as welcome in a sport race. There will always be overlap and some folks prefer taking there lumps while others prefer to compete and try to win. Win twice in same class same series by 5+ mins... move up. That's excessive. There is no beginner sandbagging unless the person has race experience, otherwise, it's basically a learning class.
How about my situation:
I raced a whole series cat 3, podium and won a few...had a lot of fun
I then upgraded to cat 2, podium and won a few...had a lot of fun
I upgraded to cat 1, struggled for 4 years racing for mid/back pack. Did I have really fun....no, was I kind of proud to race cat 1, yes ... but overall, I was not enjoying to be crushed. Last year, I did Sea otter cat1 , dnf . This year, I want to enjoy racing other guys, not time trialing for back pack, can I downgrade to cat 2? Am I a sanbagger ?
 

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My opinion and no disrespect intended,
Yes, that is sandbagging. But I don't know the full details of your situation and I felt guilty about posting this and now I'm editing it!
 

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How about my situation:
I raced a whole series cat 3, podium and won a few...had a lot of fun
I then upgraded to cat 2, podium and won a few...had a lot of fun
I upgraded to cat 1, struggled for 4 years racing for mid/back pack. Did I have really fun....no, was I kind of proud to race cat 1, yes ... but overall, I was not enjoying to be crushed. Last year, I did Sea otter cat1 , dnf . This year, I want to enjoy racing other guys, not time trialing for back pack, can I downgrade to cat 2? Am I a sanbagger ?
No. You can down class and see. If you crush the field move back up. If you're competitive then stay for a yr. You never know what will happen. I podiumed a series in points. Was consistently in top 5 or so in sport. Won one race. Stayed sport the next year and struggled to stay in top 10 yet posted faster times in same races. For all you know you won't win in sport now. I say cat down and see. Then you will know what to do.
 

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Well, I felt like I never was able to bridge the big gap between cat 2 and cat 1 even tought I got the upgrade the first time. It is ok to suffer physically and get your ass kicked, but over and over, it s not motivating anymore. I remember when I was racing cat 2 and digging really hard for a podium. I was less motivated to dig that hard for a back pack position in cat 1....Selfishly, I miss racing wheel to wheel, playing cat and mouse for a couple a laps etc
 

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"Racing" and competing is fun. Blowing the field away is not fun. It's funny in a sarcastic kind of way. Bottom third and getting crushed is not fun. It's work. And more work than those in the front. If your not having fun there is a problem. If you have balance in terms of fun factor vs competing then you are probably classed correctly.
 
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