Handicapping principals

Discussion in 'Australia and New Zealand' started by Kestrel12, May 15, 2007.

  1. Kestrel12

    Kestrel12 New Member

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    I suppose I am looking for a sanity check here but I have a dilemma with handicap road races.

    I regularily race B grade in short criteriums and can generally place without too much of a problem but when it comes to road racing my climbing ability really lets me down. Recently I raced a road handicap race and due to my form in crits I was graded close to scratch but others that I normally beat in crits who kick my butt in road races were graded around 5 minutes (2-3 groups) in front. As such my race generally goes like this, ride with group until first climb, get dropped, keep riding until next group comes along and then get dropped on next climb, etc eventually having absolutely no chance of finishing.

    What are peoples thoughts on the principals of handicaps for road races. Should I be handicapped based on my potential for flat races or should my climbing ability be taken into account so that I reach the finish around the same time as scratch - which I believe is correct.

    I realise that handicapping is often difficult but wanted to get peoples thoughts before I raise the issue with my club handicapper.

    All comments welcome
     
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  2. jerrek

    jerrek New Member

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    Its a bit of both really, it should depend on your overall strength (as it is basicly a team time trial at the beginning) and sprint ability. In a handicap a good sprinter should be still able to win (defn really of a handicap) but on the otherhand you should not be placed with a group of people you have equal strength with as you would then clearly beat them in a sprint.
    Note that i am basing this on my local experience where there are no teams and the groups pretty much always start out working togethor with no slackers until they are caught by a faster group.
    Sometimes being in one group forward is the difference between too hard and too soft. It is very hard to get right.

    Probably a mute point but i find in handicaps that the group will let you recover if you struggle. So all you need to do is last for the hill and then recover and start working again. Remember also that a good cycling calendar includes races that suit as many as possible - not just falt sprinter stages. Even if you don't win just try your hardest and improve gradually.
     
  3. matt1

    matt1 New Member

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    I find as a rule here in WA the handicapper has no idea. This added to the fact that handicaps generally suck arse really deters me from riding them.
     
  4. heinkel12

    heinkel12 New Member

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    I think the best thing to do is to talk to your handicapper about your concerns. He may lift you out a bunch on a hilly course but the guys you regularly ride with and the guys you usually beat in criteriums may get a little peeved.
     
  5. Archibald

    Archibald New Member

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    i reckon you get out and practice climbing...
     
  6. j.r.hawkins

    j.r.hawkins New Member

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    Maybe buy a copy of The Cyclist's Training Bible and work in your limiters for this type of event.
     
  7. Kestrel12

    Kestrel12 New Member

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    Actually have this book and work on my climbing several days a week. But still not as good climber as I would like.
     
  8. Jono L

    Jono L Well-Known Member

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    Being a climber who can't sprint (yet;) ) I love to hear these stories!

    I think it's fair that initially you're graded on you crit performance and then adjustments made. Obviously you should be given some compensation if you repeatedly get dropped.
     
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