Dear CRCA members,
The first race of our 2013 season is this Saturday. As a board we continue to place safety as a top priority for our races. This post contains important information that covers:
- the impact of new lane markings on the course
- how the passing of fields should occur and the actions your motos may take
- the registration process at our club races
You play a critical role in keeping races safe. We are among the luckiest clubs in the USA having a venue like Central Park available to us for 15 races dates each year. We are granted the right to hold our races subject to certain requirements regarding finishing times and the use of marshals which are designed to keep us and the general public safe during our events. Always remember that the park is NOT a closed course. Members of the public have a right to use and enjoy the park as much as we do. It is in our interest to make sure they have a pleasant and enjoyable experience in the park while we race, so please at all times be respectful of other users and keep their safety a priority.
This year we are happy to announce that Sixcycle in conjunction with Champion System are sponsoring our Jim Boyd Leaders Jersey. Leaders in the A and W series will be awarded a leader’s jersey which they will be required to race in so long as they are the leader. Note that in the event of a tie, the rider with the highest placed points earning finish in the most recent race will be declared the holder of the leader’s jersey. A big thank you to Sixcycle and Champion System for their support and to Ron Ferraz for his design of the jersey.
New Lane Markings In Central Park
If you ride and train in Central Park regularly, you know that DOT changed the lane markings in Central Park in the fall. Overall, my view is that this is an improvement in bicycle related infrastructure for cyclists (and runners) and does a better job of keeping us safe. For those of you who are new to racing in Central Park or have not been in Central Park since last season, please take careful note of the below and if at all possible, find some time before your first race in Central Park to become familiar with the lanes.
As a result of the DOT changes there is for the most part now two clearly marked lanes on the left (inside) loop on the Central Park Drives. The innermost lane is for runners only running in either direction. Bicycles should never be ridden in that lane. The next lane is a cycling lane. The outside lane (sometimes two lanes) is intended for vehicles. Our races take place in the vehicle lanes and the bicycle lane only. Racing in the runners lane, whether accidental or not, will result in immediate disqualification from the race and a suspension from racing. Treat the white line that separates the running lane and the bicycle lane as a curb. Nothing good can come from racing close to the runners lane.
Recreational cyclists in the park during our races have every right to be there, and cannot be directed into the runners lane. Marshals should direct such cyclists to stay far to the left and our fields must carefully pass such riders. Remember that there is likely a significant speed difference. Please give the recreational cyclists plenty of room when passing avoid “SWARMING” the riding (passing on both sides) which is both dangerous and scary to the rider. Racers should communicate to others in the field behind them of the existence of a cyclist or other park user to ensure everyone is aware of the situation and can pass safely. Marshals will do the best they can to direct park users to a safe location on the course, but recognize that this is not always successful. If necessary, your moto may neutralize you to ensure safe passage.
The additional lane markings means more paint in the race course. The paint does not appear to be especially slippery, but as always, exercise caution when riding on or near painted surfaces, especially in the wet.
The road surface on the course remains in relatively good shape, however there are some small potholes and rough spots that you should be aware of. Know where these spots are an avoid them if you can. Horseshit alley (south east portion of the course) continues to have a large groove on the right side of the course caused by the horse & carriages. Riders should avoid racing in the affected area.
Due to the relatively short course, fields may pass each other from time to time. Generally it is the Women’s field and the C field that are passed. We have instructed our motos to:
- Use their judgment to determine a safe location to pass. It is not safe to pass on the downhill near Lasker pool/rink nor on the south east most portion of the course known as horse-shit alley. Other locations may also be unsafe due to various circumstances. Your field may be neutralized until a safe location is reached. You may not pass your lead moto under any circumstances
- Passing of fields will not occur in the final miles of a race. So, for example, if the Women’s field is on its final lap and within approx.. two miles of the finish line (e.g. approx. E72nd Street for a Cat’s Paw finish) fields; the lead moto for the passing field will neutralize the faster field to prevent a passing to ensure the women’s field can have a clean finish without mixing in with the passing field.
- It is well understood that if a break forms from a field (whether a field being passed or the field passing) that neutralizing the field behind a break may impact the race. Safety is the most important thing. If you think you might get disadvantaged by that situation, bridge the gap up to the break.
Fields & Registration
We announced earlier this year that we will be experiment with running a 5th field. In our first race this will be a Master 45+ field (categories 1-4 only). All Cat 5 riders must ride in the Cat 5 field. Race numbers issued to members are based on the A, B, C and W fields only.
Members eligible to race in the Master’s 45+ field must elect to race in the relevant field by checking in at the appropriate registration line. Cat 1-4 men with a race age of 45 and up will appear on both the Master’s field and the A or B field (depending on category). To race in the Master’s field, check in at the Master’s registration line. Once checked in, you cannot switch fields without changing your registration with the registration staff. This is important for management of field limits.
Signs will be posted showing the registration lines for each field. These will be set up from left to right when facing the registration table in the following order: A, Masters 45+, B, C, W & Dinosaur. Dinosaur members for any field are encourage (but not required) to check in at the Dinosaur line which should move faster.
To make the registration process run smoothly and quickly for everyone:
- Don’t bring your bike to the registration line – park it on the bike rack or lean it up against the curb or a fence. Do not place your bikes on the grass. Do not place your bike in the gardens.
- Have your money and release form out and ready (exact change) and know your race number. Tell the registration marshal your race number as soon as you are at the front of the line.
- After you have registered, do some warm up riding to help clear congestion from the area.
PLEASE use the bathrooms. Peeing in the park other than in bathrooms will result in disciplinary action up to and including suspension from the club.
The starting order of fields (and lap numbers) for this week will be:
- Women (4)
- A field (6)
- Master’s 45+ (5)
- B field (5)
- C field (4)
Please line up accordingly at the start line and keep the runner’s lane and the cycling lane clear as you do so.
Our women members have the right to race in other fields they are eligible for if they so choose. This is governed by USAC rule 1H9 and effectively means women other than cat 4 women may race in the A field, that category 3 & 4 women may race in the B field and category 4 women may race in the C field. This is their right and choice. Disparaging remarks towards women riding in fields other than the women’s field will be dealt with accordingly (see rule 1N6)
In addition to myself and Alex Rodriguez, most of our motos are also now USAC licensed officials. To be clear, the motos-refs are officials just like those in any other race you may have entered. They have the ability and the authority to report breaches of the rules and report you to the chief referee or, if warranted, take an immediate to enforce the race rules. This includes violations associated with crossing into the runners lane. Abuse of any official, race director, other rider or spectator/member of the public will not be tolerated. Refer to USAC rule 1N6 for penalties. The CRCA Board may also impose additional actions in accordance with the club race protocol.
Riders who wish to make a protest regarding foul riding or any other irregularity taking place during the race must do so in accordance with USAC rule 1O3. This means you must make such a protest within 15 minutes of the completion of the race.
2013 Open Racing
In addition to our club only races, members are encouraged to participate in our open races. We are again running a women’s development series (Category 4), Men’s 1/2 series and a Men’s Cat 3 series. These series (other than women’s Cat 4) start with the Grant’s Tomb Criterium on March 9 which CRCA is running this year with help from the Columbia Cycling Team. Other races to be held this year include the Orchard Beach Criterium (with a full day of racing this year including the return of the kids races), the Dave Jordan Central Park Classic, Lou Maltese Memorial and Mengoni Grand Prix. Please support us and New York City racing by helping us assemble full, competitive fields. A reminder that registration fees for Grant’s Tomb increases by $5 for all fields on March 1.
CRCA racing has a long tradition and we hope that 2013 will be another great year. For those who are new to the club – welcome, we hope you find the racing challenging and enjoyable. Experienced members, please do your part to help welcome new members and enhance the CRCA community.
As always, if you have any comments or feedback for us, please contact any of the board members who will be happy to collect your feedback.
Regards, Rod & CRCA Board