Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Single Speeding pre-existed Mountain biking. As far back as anyone wants to look, people have been pedaling bicycles on the trails around the country. But once NORBA was organized, most trail riders gave up Single Speeds for "mountain bikes." For those that showed up to local races on Single Speeds, it was a matter of racing in what ever category you were assigned.
All of this changed when some of the promoters of the early mountain bike races, like the Revenge of the Siskiyous and the Humbug Hurry-up created a category for Single Speed racers. Eventually a group of dedicated Single Speeders Put on a "Single Speed Championship" in the hills outside of Chico California No one begged for the category, the Single Speed Category was a grassroots creation, and each year the category has grown. Race promoters have recognized the category and most state organizations hand out titles for "State Champion." There are National Championships in many countries, and a rolling party that is known as the Single Speed World Championship. As of yet, USAC has not weighed in with a category definition (or a championship) for Single Speeds.
But where does it stop? If there is a category for Single Speed, then why not a separate category for Hardtails, or Rigid, or 650B's? Well, that's the point I suppose. There doesn't have to be a category. If there is no category then Single Speeders will go back to racing with everyone else. But the category already exists, I am not asking for it to be created. I am asking that it be recognized and brought into USAC, in a way that preserves the tradition of the sport and not recreated by each individual race promoter or regional sanctioning body. I am asking that it be recognized for its novelty and tradition, which is the one category with no categories.
The crux of the problem in recognizing Single Speeding as a category is in adopting a definition for the category. As the sport has grown, some organizers have broken the category by age, or by ability. This is why I am pushing for USAC to weigh in on the definition. If USAC is to be the "Home" of all competitive cycling, then USAC needs to be the "Home" of Single Speeds."
Does there have to be a USAC Single Speed Category? YES! Is there a Single Speed category? Yes, but it needs to recognized and defined. And tradition and the need for competition demands that there be one category.
Monday, October 12, 2009
I am here to rant about the watering down of our sport. No, not the new road categories being haphazardly applied mountain biking. I am talking about the watering down of the most sacred sect of our sport; categories for single speeds. Just say NO! For gods sake ...1 Speed 1 Cat. With all the age groups and categories out there, can't we have one part of our sport where racing is about racing and not about the gear or the prize list .
Sure, promoters have seen growth in the number of Single Speed participants, but separating the group into age groups or "talent" groups doesn't make scoring any easier. There are also those who say "If we don't separate such a large group ... then what are the average riders' chances of winning." Who cares? Maybe they just don't understand that there need s to be a place for competition, that is about competition and not prizes or "winning your age group."
And what about those promoters who don't know where to put Single Speeds? Put us on the same course as "Cat 1's" after all, we have had enough of doing things by the lowest common denominator. At any given SS event you can have everything from first time racers to pro's in the cat, and that is just how it should be. One category, one distance, one start time and let the competition sort things out. We don't need promoters and officials deciding who is fast.
1 Speed 1 Category
If you want to win your age group, or talent group, there are plenty of categories out there. Just slap a cassette on that thing and have at.