How to hose off “masters” racing

November 25, 2013 § 68 Comments

  1. Quit calling it “masters.” A master is someone who has reached the pinnacle of his craft after years of study and accomplishment. If you were a “master” of cycling you’d race the Pro Tour. If you were a “master” of cycling you would need more than a license and a $35 entry fee to be recognized as such. Suggestion? Start calling it “Old Folks Racing.” Part of the problem with masters racing is the delusion that’s reinforced by calling yourself a “master.” You aren’t, so quit lying about it.
  2. Scrap the prize money. You don’t deserve one red fucking cent for winning an Old Folks bicycle race. Prize money fuels the delusion that you’re a pro. You aren’t. You are an old person racing a bicycle masquerading as a young person. Yes, you. If don’t want to be classed with the old people, race with the young ones, you know, the punks who line up in the P-1-2 race and can kick your sorry ass from here to Sunday and back. Let’s see how many of those 120-mile hilly road races you win, Ace.
  3. Test. Drug testing works. It may not catch all the cheats, but it catches some of them and scares away a bunch of others. Instead of wasting our money on officials, waste it on drug testing. Officials who don’t want to volunteer for free like every other person who helps out in a bike race should go ride their bikes. And spare me about how professional all of the paid refs are, thanks. If we have to race without officials, I bet the promoters and riders can live with it just fine.
  4. Increase the length of bans. Two years is a joke for Old Folks racers, or didn’t you get the memo that 90 is the new 20? Make it ten for a first offense. You drank some contaminated herbal tea? Sucks to be you. PS: Next time you drink a special herbal tea that you bought from a company that advertises in a weightlifting steroids online forum where everyone uses a nickname, maybe you better think twice.
  5. Permanently ban dopers from certain events. Once you test positive, you’re forever banned from national and district championships. Whaaa? Yeah. But at least you won’t have to explain to people what an “Old Folks Racer National Champion” is.
  6. Permanently note doper status on licenses. Indicate on every license, in bold black letters beneath the rider’s category, that he has been “Sanctioned for doping.” Welcome to the race.
  7. Allow promoter discretion to deny entry. Give promoters the right to unilaterally bar a sanctioned rider from the race even after the ban has expired. Sanctimonious, self-serving liars who refuse to come clean about their sordid cheating will have to drop the facade and live with permanently brown noses for as long as they want to race.
  8. Require nicknames. Assign mandatory demeaning nicknames to busted dopers, which names must be used whenever their names are announced or printed in the official results. “Douchebag Danilo,” “Lame-ass Lance,” etc.
  9. Assign a unique “scumbag” series. Dedicate a certain number series that may only be used by busted dopers, such as the 900’s. “There goes a Niner!” people will say. No matter what you do, your past as a drug cheat will not be forgotten.
  10. Limit the damage. Put a limit to the number of ex-dopers you can have on a single team, and make the number “1.”

Do all this, or even most of it, and we’ll go back to what we once had when we were called “veterans.” We’ll have old folks who enjoy life during the week, race on the weekend, and take geriatric competition for what it is, which isn’t very much.

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§ 68 Responses to How to hose off “masters” racing

  • Darwin says:

    New report on Udo heinz says bus driver was using a cell phone when he hit and killed him.

    http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/local/camp-pendleton-bus-crash-cyclists-233119721.html

    • fsethd says:

      I hope the criminal charges are being prepared by the DA.

      • channel_zero says:

        If cagers are treated as THE dominant road users, then why would the DA prosecute? They rule the road. Right?

        Not going to happen. At minimum, it would be politically unpopular. Maximum, plea deal to minor offenses.

        Hopefully, there’s big civil consequences.

  • Winemaker says:

    One more for your list: Require proof of employment, or, proof of retirement. No 35 or 40 or 45+ somethings who don’t work, but train like a pro, eat like a pro, get rubs like a pro, and dress/act like a pro. It is really hard to get motivated to race when, on one hand, you are faster than you were (on the same bike) 30 years ago, when you were a one or a two, and you keep getting dropped by the old folks, who, happen to look, train, and act like pros….something about ‘inclusion’ there…..

    Actually, I have about ten more things from your list, but nobody wants to hear a whining old guy talk about the way it was…..ha!

  • Spinner says:

    Get rid of any and all sponsorship. That’s right, we pay our own way. Do you really need a free bike?

    Next? No more national championships!!! Heavens, I have been to 12 ‘nationals’ and I will never stand in line and be insulted by the so-called officials again.

    Finally, in the grand scheme of things what does masters racing mean? Who won the 50-54 yr age group TT last year? See???

  • Bill Stone says:

    Yes indeed, eliminate the masters who are faster than I am; and make sure to give each finisher a winner’s medal of plastic and his choice of flavored juice box. There are no losers in bike races just those who have jobs, families, and electric cars to charge and cannot train all day on sponsored SPY equipment.

  • Usta BeFit says:

    Boy am I glad that I just stick to racing people on group rides. Closest I come to cheating is eating healthy on Friday night & not banging one out with the ol lady I am extra fresh for the Donut Race.

  • I like the National championships bit. The doping on your license sounds like a sex offender notification, but I like that too.

  • channel_zero says:

    Boy, you guys really don’t get it.

    You are funding, and have been funding his search for the next “Lance Armstrong” for something like 20 years.

    For the new cycling fans, “The next Lance Armstrong” is code for team-wide doping for the next sports fraud empire constructed by Wiesel.

    Seth is mostly right, but it’s not going to happen without another federation, OBRA being the model with testing where USADA can open their own cases.

    Yet most of you guys will continue to support USAC.

    • fsethd says:

      Not sure “support” is the right word. Chris Lotts ran CBR for years as an alternative to USAC hegemony, but they played him like a banjo. When you go against USAC you need something more than a few pissed off racers. They’re also closing in on Dorothy Wong. Now that she’s developed cyclocross, made it popular and viable, they’re swooping in take all the money.

      It’s not a race to the next Lance. It’s a race to wring every nickel out of everyone, from racers to promoters to sponsors to everyone in between.

      • channel_zero says:

        Ask Lotts about USAC presentations to promoters explaining that it really is about finding the next Lance. (sport fraud)

        Guess what happens when turnout goes DOWN at a USAC race and remains high at Dot’s events? Promoters finally abandon USAC. But, no, riders who claim to dislike USAC still fund it.

        I realize it’s a little more complicated than that, but riders don’t even take the first step.

      • fsethd says:

        I raced for Chris when he was CBR and now that he’s USAC I do, too. I support the promoters who work hard to put on quality races. Their number is dwindling, here in the most cycling-crazy area in the entire country. You are right for the most part …

    • fsethd says:

      Isn’t that what we already have?

      Oh, I forgot. There’s no doping any more in track & field. Bolt is as pure as the driven snow.

  • Peter Schindler says:

    The only way to end doping in sports is an automatic lifetime ban, first offense. Anyone who dopes knows exactly what they are doing, there are no mistakes. And go after those who supply the drugs or means to blood dope as well. The entire structure has to be dismantled. Oh that means that governing body has to be against doping and not turning a blind eye when dollars are at stake.

  • Noel says:

    I hope some of the readers can enjoy the blurred lines between reality and sarcasm and experience these pieces as an invitation to think for themselves rather than concrete fact. I know masters racing meant to me that i was getting to race against the best athletes in my age range and that included some guys i think of as legends in the sport. Competing at meaningful level was the attraction. I scheduled my work hours around training. lol. I really did.
    I do think a simple questionaire does wonders:
    1) Have you ever been sanctioned for doping in sport?
    2) Have you ever used PEDs in sport or in to get results weightlifting whether sanctioned or not?
    3) If you had a previous career in professional cycling, did you ever take PEDs or participate in acquiring or storing PEDs?
    4) Are you currently pariticipating in any drug based anti-aging regime?
    If you answer yes to any of these you’re excused from masters racing. Shit, put it on a lie detector….
    and then anyone that clears that… let them train as hard has they want and race with all the god given talent they have. It’s great that is hard racing… it should be hard. Racing against talented gifted athletes is the fun of it.

  • Johnny French says:

    In the UK we are known as ‘Vets’ (as in veteran cyclists, nothing to do with being old soldiers or treating sick animals).
    Just as well, the last time I mastered anything was about 40 years ago and probably involved being able to tie my own shoe laces.

    • fsethd says:

      Even “veterans” is too honorific for this delusional crazypantsing. We need to add a new line to the rulebook:

      1.292(a)(iii): “No aspect of bicycle racing shall be described without utilizing at least three pejoratives.”

  • joe demunk says:

    i say (and I’ve said for a long time) get rid of the damn master categories – race your license category – reduce the number of fields a promoter has to deal with and make the remaining races longer – no 45 min crits – 90-120 – no 40 mile road races 80+ – it has nothing to do with doping it’s just that adding “special” categories so old guys can “win” is ridiculous

    • fsethd says:

      Yup.

      Or make riders choose what’s going on their license — make them chose “Elite” which then goes with a category, which category they then have to race, or make them choose “Old Folks,” which is not age graded and which does not come with a category.

      What’s a Cat 1 Master? It’s a dude who used to be young and fast but who now races with the old people because he’s too slow but still keeps his Cat 1 number to remind everyone how fast he used to be.

      • Tom says:

        re: “‘he’s too slow but still keeps his Cat 1 number to remind everyone how fast he used to be”

        “used to be” ?!

        IME, the current 50-55-60 yr old guys who used to be cat 1/2 when younger, are still the fastest guys among their age peers and often against guys 5-10 yrs younger. It’s not uncommon for the best 55+ guys to win the 45+ races.

        Call us “veterans” or “old folks” or whatever, but some of the comments above that imply (or I infer) that all ages should just duke it out in categories, ie 60 yr old cat4 races with 22 yr old cat4, are off the mark.
        Mixing would create safety problems and mayhem.

      • fsethd says:

        Yes, “used to be.” None of the Cat 1 “masters” can win or place in Elite Pro/Cat 1 races, which is why they race “masters” while reminding everyone they’re still a Cat 1.

        If you’re afraid of riding with Cat 4’s, upgrade and race with the 3’s. Or 2’s. Or 1’s. Just don’t expect a medal and a juice box at the end.

    • New Bike Old Legs says:

      Joe – so &%$#&$#! true!!! I rode about 20 races in northern Spain way back when…(80’s)…they had 3 categories (men, women, juniors) If you were a junior man or woman, you could race with the men or women. For promoters it was easy….blow the whistle three times. For the local police it was easy…because nobody dared to honk their horn or get pissed off at a race…If you got dropped (which was inevitable, considering that every “Men’s” race had a whole slew of studs in the 200 person field, you just raced and rode hard with the group that you ‘naturally’ got selected to…
      it was a much simpler time.

      • fsethd says:

        Yeah, but we have to categorize it so we can all get a juice box, because you know, juice boxes prove that we’re just as good as the people who are better than we are.

    • Senior Geezer Johan says:

      Newbie to Seths World. Glad I found it – ROFL.

      Masters racing is a joke. A joke played on old folks by USAC and the industry to increase $ales. Pure marketing genius just like Low-T. If you want to find out how good you really are then race your category. The number printed on your license. You’ll find out how you stack up against a group of peers. Isn’t that the point? Racing anything else is just ego stroking and sandbagging while trying to live the faux pro dream.

      • fsethd says:

        Yup. Because we know how we stack up. At the very fucking bottom.

      • fsethd says:

        Welcome!

      • Racer Ex says:

        Categories? We’d all go deaf from 20-somethings crying about how some 60 year old guy should upgrade to Cat 2 when they get their asses handed to them. When David Le Duc downgraded to Cat 3 half the eastern seaboard had a seizure.

        There’s more category sandbagging than there is doping in this sport. And that’s a pretty high bar.

        Categories are worse ego pandering than any age group race. We have a Cat 4 state championship? That’s pretty much the Special Olympics for the Ego Impaired.

        We should start calling them what they are:

        Horrible
        Barely adequate
        Below Average to Average
        Above Average
        Pretty Bad Ass

        Then I’d be fine with whatever you want to call “Masters”

      • fsethd says:

        Or just race everyone together with field limits. Group 1 goes off at 9, Group 2 at 10, etc. Random grouping depending on whomever signs up for which race. The ability mixture will shell the Horrible, Barely Adequate, and most of the Below Average to Average.

  • Joe Camacho says:

    I would suggest “has been” or “never was” as this seems more appropriate. I fall into the latter. But “Veteran” or any other term that “exalts” respect, validation or otherwise gives a forced status to the type of racing we do is just folly and posturing.

  • Tom Paterson says:

    Jack Pritchard has called it “Age-Degraded Racing” for many years.
    Lie detectors? Lots of people can beat those and guess who is best at it…

  • Dan K says:

    In my line of work, you get a lifetime ban for the first offense. There are rarely any successful appeals. Self-reporting is obligatory, and generally gets you off the hook, assuming you didn’t do something intentionally (or habitually). The assumption is if someone else notices something first, you were trying to hide it. Doesn’t always work…

  • Spinner says:

    I raced a Cat 1/2 thingy two years ago and actually managed to beat some young animals. My ego was deflated afterwards when I rode by a couple of the young’uns I beat, and heard one say to the other “there’s the OLD geezer who beat us”.

    Maybe we should re-name masters racing and call it Geezer racing. We could have Midget Geezers (35-39yrs), Intermediate Geezers (40-45), Junior Geezers (45-49), Senior Geezers (50-54), Old Geezers (55-59),
    Old Buzzard Geezers (60-64), etc.

  • Whenever a young guy makes a shitty comment in my direction (in the VERY rare occurrence that I do a P 1-3 race), I just look at them and say “Hey, you sorta look familiar to me. I think I might have f#@ked your mother in college”.

  • Rob says:

    Wasn’t it called the Vet class back in the 80’s under the USCF? 35+ and you were a vet.

    • fsethd says:

      I remember watching Jack Pritchard do a vets race at the Wildflower Classic outside San Antonio in 1984. He was 35, and I STILL REMEMBER THINKING, “Wow, anyone that old still racing a bicycle needs to get a fuggin grip.”

  • Noel says:

    I think know is a good time for the local community to lean into Breakway from Cancer to make the folsk that came in seconf to Meeker whole, and to assure us that the wont sponsor athletes sanctioned for doping. The community has to ask more of everyone.

  • Noel says:

    and I gotta proofread more. yikes.

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