A Consistent Approach Needed

Posted: October 16, 2015 in Opinion, Racing, Road
Tags: , ,

Just a bit of an inconsistency that’s has been brought to my attention… an issue not so relevant to a lot of junior parents… yet; but it’s likely will be.

When does one age-category finish and another begin?  Is it the 1st of October for ALL disciplines or is that just for track?  I was of the opinion (after seven years in the sport) that come the 1st of October riders moved up a year – either to the next age-category or to the second-year of their existing category.  This is one of the confusing things about the sport for those new to it!  At any rate, seems I was wrong… at least in Victoria.

If I was in South Australia, Tasmania or even Queensland I would have been right… In NSW I would have been mainly right… but Cycling Victoria claim that the CA policy is that you only move up for track on the 1st of October and for road you don’t move up until the 1st of January of the following year.

And guess what… CV is right!  Although the policy is hard to find, it’s not in the Tech Regs but in the By-Laws (wait for the language, it’s hysterical!):

2.18.11  For summer track season competition, all members who are due to change category at the new membership year commencing 1 January of that respective season will compete in that track season in that higher age category from the commencement of that season, being 1 October.

So if that is the CA policy, why is CV the only state enforcing it?  Why are all the other states ignoring/disregarding this policy?  Can I opine that the way the other states are doing it… just makes more sense!  Perhaps they are using this CA by-law as justification:  A cyclist may compete in an event of a different age category, older category in the case of junior and younger category in the case of masters, provided such events are approved by CA or a Constituent Association.

The way this is written is even harder to interrupt: aren’t all events approved by CA or a Constituent Association (State Federation)?  Is it the cyclist who needs to ask for approval or does the event seek it on behalf of the cyclist wanting to ride up or down?   I know Cycling SA wrote to CA to seek approval for it’s graduating junior riders to be allowed to ride ‘up’ a year or so back – but that was for a specific group of strong under-17 riders requested back in 2012.

Personally, I’m ambivalent about what the policy is… AS LONG IT IS WELL COMMUNICATED AND CONSISTENT FROM STATE-TO-STATE.  Is that too much to ask?

I actually can’t see any justifiable reason for the age category not to change on the 1st of October for all disciplines.  Someone please come up with a good argument, I’d love to hear it.  It would avoid the confusion and play to the blurring of the line between road and track season.

No one can tell me it’s a health and safety issue – these riders are already pushing the big gears on the track (which has no gear limits).  Most of them are also already riding against the ‘big boys’ and have been for a number of years at the local criteriums – with a lot of the first-year 19’s (or top-year 17’s or whatever you want to call them?) already racing in A-grade.

This is such a ridiculous policy that while a graduating under-19 can’t race in C-grade at the Tour of Bright, on the same weekend they can fly down to Tassie and race shoulder-to-shoulder with Caleb Ewan and Michael Matthews in two criteriums.  That while they can race the MS Wollongong Crit as under-19 on the 1st of November, a few weeks later they’ll have to put their under-17 gear back on for the St Kilda Super Crit.  Madness!

Chris Froome racing in Tassie last year with a couple of first-year under-19's in the background! What an experience!

Chris Froome and Richie Porte racing in Tassie last year with a couple of first-year under-19’s in the background! What an experience for them!

Now I realise CA has had a bit going on over the past year or so and that reviewing this policy probably sits below sock-height in priority, but it should be an easy fix… or maybe it doesn’t need to be fixed, only interrupted consistently by state federations?

The only reason CyclingDad got involved in this was because other cycling parents asked the same question last year and were simply told: that’s the way it is… and that’s not a good enough answer IMO.  Love to hear your thoughts?

  1. seano says:

    Since cycling isn’t a team sport, I have never understood why juniors don’t just compete in the relevant group for their age on the day of competition.
    I think that would be fairer, particularly for those born at the end of the year and would let all riders progress from youngest to oldest before promoting to the next band on the day before their birthday.
    There is a distinct advantage to being born in January.

  2. Swuzz says:

    There is similar inconsistency in the eligibility for state medal events

    “The following J17, J15 events are only open Victorian riders (members of Victorian clubs) holding a Gold CA Membership:

    Scratch Race Championship (Track)
    Points Race Championship (Track)
    Time Trial Championship (Track)
    Pursuit Championship (Track)
    Sprint (Track)
    Road Race (Road)
    Time Trial (Road)

    The following J15 & J17 Events are open to all domestic CA Gold Members who have this membership age category.

    All J11, J13, J19, M23, Elite, Para-cycling and Masters events are considered open events and any licensed domestic or international rider can participate and be awarded medals.”

    Why are J15/17 different?

    • cycdad says:

      That is interesting… well spotted. Looking at the above lists, the events open to non-Victorian’s seem to be recently added events. That said, I’m not sure we actually run a State 15/17 Madison? The Keirin was added in the past five years and CX has only been run for the past couple. I’ll mention to CV when I next speak to them (if they’ll speak to me after stirring the pot with this post somewhat).

  3. Henry says:

    Hey CyclingDad, I think it’s a really good point you make re: consistency. I agree that it would make a lot of sense to make 1 October the date at changes your age-category for all disciplines. Can’t see why CV wouldn’t make that change right now? Surely it’s easy and the By-Laws give any ‘federation’ a way out with that second by-law you quote in your blog. Just seems like madness to be chopping and changing from state-to-state!

  4. Mark W says:

    Relieved to know I’m not the only confused one.
    My 15 year old son has just started racing, and turns 16 on 31 October this year. His CA membership just issued has him as Under 19, so I guess this means I don’t need to worry about U17 gearing??
    Fortunately no-one seems to concerned about roll out distances at the HCC crits or in the upcoming VICS series.

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