Race format commencing season 2009-10

Update 11 September 2010: For the 2010-11 season we're back to a four race format with a separate 30 minute youth race. That should avoid any of the problems with riders not knowing what lap they're on. The other difference is that all riders over 50 years of age are in race "B" together with the women and non-elite 40-49 veterans. Senior men, junior men and elite veteran 40-49 men race together in race "A".

Here are the details of the race format that will be introduced in season 2009-10. This has been arrived at after much discussion, both at the AGM and amongst the committee. We are aware that some aspects may cause difficulties for particular individuals. However, we feel that the previous format was unsatisfactory, so something had to change. Naturally, we've done our best to minimise the difficulties.


League membership and race entries have increased steadily over the past few years. This is a good thing and we're happy that the sport is growing in the region. However, it has created a number of pressures. Cyclo-cross is a racing discipline and some of our treasured courses can become overcrowded, making it difficult to race. Also, larger fields make lap scoring difficult to the point where errors can more easily creep in and the result takes longer to produce.

During the 2008-9 season, we tried to address these issues by creating a separate 40 minute race for veterans and women. This mostly solved the problems of overcrowding and lap scroring but introduced others: some senior/junior races had low fields, the day became longer for organisers and volunteers, and the time between certain races was too short to allow adequate warm-up.

Taking all these points into account, we've come up with a new format for 2009-10.

The new format

In a nutshell, the idea is to have women and the majority of the veterans racing for 40 minutes, at the same time as the youths, who continue to race for 30 minutes. (We have relatively few youths, so the course has plenty of spare capacity at this time.) The faster veterans will return to racing with the seniors and juniors. This brings us back to a 3-race schedule, with a more even distribution of riders.

Here are the details:

  1. The top 20 veterans will be known as "Elite Veterans". They will race for 60 minutes with the seniors and juniors. The remaining veterans will race for 40 minutes concurrently with the women and youths.
  2. Initially, the determination of elite/non-elite status will be based on average points during the 2008-9 season. (This gives a better measure of ability than league position, because league position depends on the number of rides completed.)
  3. Veterans retain their elite/non-elite status for the whole season.
  4. An Elite Veteran category will be added to the League. Juniors and non-elite veterans will continue to have their own League categories. Note: there will not be an "Open" category as originally proposed at the Eastern 'Cross AGM.
  5. We expect that only elite vets will be eligible for British Cycling national ranking points. We are waiting for confirmation from British Cycling on this point.
  6. New vets from the senior category who are positioned in the top twenty senior average points will automatically become elite vets for their first season. New vets positioned below the top twenty will be placed with the vets.
  7. At the end of the season there will be promotion and relegation between the vets and elite vets. The top 5 vets and bottom 5 elite vets will be eligible for promotion or relegation. This number may be increased at the discretion of the committee to maintain balance in the number of riders.
  8. The committee reserves the final decision on the elite/non-elite status of individual veterans in cases such as, but not limited to, nationally-ranked riders moving to the area. In these cases, the guiding reason will be to maintain the quality of racing and the balance in rider numbers.
  9. Youths will start after the vets and women, after a safe period of time. The period will be decided by the Commissaire, taking into account the veterans' and womens' first lap time, course layout and other relevant factors. Typically, the youths will start around 10 minutes after the vets and women, which will be 2-3 minutes after the leading vets and women have completed one lap. Youths will be formed up in gridded positions off the course in a separate start lane.
  10. Youths, veterans and women will all finish on the same lap. (Note: it is possible that a youth might complete one lap fewer that the youth winner, even though he or she does not get lapped by the youth winner. The PDA results will reflect this.)
  11. Race times will be: Signing-on will continue to close at least 15 minutes before each event. That is, youths must sign on before 10:45.