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Old 09-22-2013, 07:01 PM   #1
Choicecut OP
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Moving up in class?

When is a good time to move up to the next class? I ask this because I rode my second event this weekend and took 1st overall in Novice class, but am unsure if I should move up to Intermediate because of it. I took two pretty good crashes during the event, but still somehow managed to score ok. These weren't little tip overs either. I actually "stiff legged mcgee" over the handlebars trying to cross a log on Saturday, and on Sunday I got completely out of control on a section and shot down over a bank into a tree. Aside from my pride being hurt, I'm not busted up too bad.

I feel like some sections are too easy, but then run into a spot here and there that complete busts me up. I want to keep challenging myself (without getting hurt) and I also don't want to overstay my welcome in any given class.

Most of you guys probably jumped right into Intermediate, but I am curious to hear your experiences on moving up to the next class. Almost wish there was some type of system that moved you through the classes, rather than choosing when to move up yourself.
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Old 09-22-2013, 07:37 PM   #2
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What are your scores like? Typically the winning score in a class should be one point per section for the Trial, if you ride ten sections three times your winning score would be about thirty. When I set a Trial my target score for the novice class is lower than that though, maybe closer to twenty points for the winner. You should ask the marshal at your event what his thoughts are though.
You could continue to sign up in the Novice class and ride some of the Intermediate lines to ease yourself into the Intermediate class, you should get permission from the marshal before the Trial.
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Old 09-22-2013, 08:41 PM   #3
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If you are not feeling challenged enough by novice class move to amateur class. You will find the challenges you desire there. Intermediate requires skills that cannot be faked.
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Old 09-22-2013, 08:42 PM   #4
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In the Seattle aria before I moved to Boise they had a line they called sportsman. It didn't compete for the year end title but let you pick between the novice and the next level up (in Puget Sound Trialers this is intermediate). In affect you could walk the 2 AM lines and pick the upper line if you felt you could do it, or the lower novice line if you felt you needed to.

This is what I did the first time I wanted to ride the next class up, gave me confidence to try the intermediate. In fact that was the only line I did ride, didn't pick any of the novice lines that day. felt great.

don't know if they have this out there but maybe worth checking into.
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Old 09-23-2013, 04:26 AM   #5
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When everyone starts calling you a sandbagger.
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Old 09-23-2013, 06:02 AM   #6
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You might give yourself at least another month in your class to decide. Most events are set by different people. So this last one could of been harder than normal or on the easier side. Just give yourself time to get more control of the bike before moving up.
We see people come and go all the time. Usually riders expect too much from themselves, get frustrated and move on. On the other side don`t crash out of the sport either.
I can remember a so called expert road racer joined our club. ( He did actually race at the local track.) He bought a new bike, all the gear. Thought he wanted to ride trials to cross train. He struggled in our beginner class. He could not believe how hard it was for himself being a superior rider. Last time we ever saw him.
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Old 09-23-2013, 06:58 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2whlrcr View Post
When everyone starts calling you a sandbagger.
This is true and a good measuring stick. But there can be a problem. You can advance in both skill and age, where moving up a class can be too risky and more grind than fun. This is more a problem as you get higher in classes. So you have to be your own judge despite catcalls.

I've had the problem of dominating a class then moving up and getting thrashed and not having fun. This happened to me in Michigan in the late `90s when I moved up to Expert (the top class there at that time) from Advanced, and finished the year #3. Michigan had a 45-section minimum for events, and the sections at that time were stop-and-hop tight. In the summer heat the sections had me tongue dragging and they seemed to go on f o r e v e r. The bigger obstacles were also at times quite scary to me.
So I dropped back a class and had much more fun... and that's the point.

Today I am in Senior Expert and getting beat more often than not so I'm in the right place. My goal is to get better and have Expert feel about the same challenge and risk to body as Senior Expert. At 57 years old and gimpy, that may prove a pipe dream. But it doesn't matter. It's about challenge with fun.

I offer here a story I heard from actor Ernest Borgnine. He was a starving actor in NYC in the `30s and used to stand near the chestnut vendor's cart so he could smell them, as he could not afford to buy them. On the cart he saw written something that guided him his whole life and VERY long career, "I don't want to set the world on fire... I just want to keep my nuts warm."

Borgnine wisdom: Forget your ego and go with the nuts! When they cool, move up a class. If they are on fire, settle back a class. When they are nice and warm, stay where you are.
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Old 09-23-2013, 07:34 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by motobene View Post

Borgnine wisdom: Forget your ego and go with the nuts! When they cool, move up a class. If they are on fire, settle back a class. When they are nice and warm, stay where you are.
Unless there is NOBODY in you club that is paying ANY attention to your riding rather than results, you will get feedback. Plus Clubs, they should have a formula for #wins or points earned for positions earned each month = graduation.

But, there is a problem with that formula, that is the "COMPETITION" and the common "lack of it". even if you have no other riders in your class, I like to see a novice ride the class all year, unless they are the type that has picked up the "skillset" for novice VERY quickly. That "very quickly" is quicker than you think or most riders think, and I have that judgement from years of experience and have only used it ONE time and not been burned by it. SO, I ALSO like to see a some "clean loops" and then a clean card, over that year, then I feel the rider is ready, usually. but seldom get a clean card. The clean 1st loop means you have at least begun to read the sections, and can see what needed to be done, although in Novice/beginner it is not that big of a deal, but it is though....

the biggest problem you have is how to answer the questions?
1 do you have the skills down pat? Not just beating other newbs, in your class? Beating other riders is one thing, but especially early on, in your advancements from beginner to top classes, you take the "novice" skills & master them for novice class. Then you move up, which forces you to add new skills to now "master" all those Plus improve some on the novice ones, then move on up, adding to your perfected skillset. I hope you can see what I am trying to say.

2. give it enough time to see if you have honestly "seen it all in novice or whatever class." A fluke win, is nothing to sneeze at, as you might do great one month, get ass handed to you next month, it depends on your competition and your ability.

Too many riders (that I DID NOT mentor) will fool themselves into thinking Im moving up, Im winning, bored and hate beating my buddy each month that is struggling... Well, they might been winning, but they were the only rider in the class, per se. then they moved up, and was way over their heads. You need a mentor, find one.

IMHO, "MOVE HIM/HER UP" during trophy ceremony each month, and the infamous sand-bagger call outs is almost an honest "congratulations" for the lower class riders. I loved to hear it when I moved from the Jr Class on into Novice many many years ago. it is a "You have done good" and being funny saying it, a real sort of way, when you are just starting out.

when you have ridden for 40 years like I have, you can tell some in you competition, are kind of mad that they cannot beat you... It is totally different. I used to say that about a riding buddy of mine, Alan Guyot, then one weekend, I just decided that by god I can bitch or I can make myself get to where I can beat him. eventually I was almost there, before he passed away...

Lastly, IMHO:
At any point, but after a year in one class, you could and should have the confidence, and you should be allowed to "try" the next class up, without having to stay there, ONE TIME. clubs might have different feelings so make sure you talk to your club, if you want to see.
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Old 09-23-2013, 01:34 PM   #9
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Thanks for the input! To answer the score question, my score on Saturday was 28 and Sunday was 15. I think I will talk to the folks at the next competition and see if I can opt in for some of the intermediate lines (no amateur that I have seen) without being penalized. I finished pretty early on Sunday and almost asked if I could go back through and ride some of the intermediate lines without being scored, but decided against it.

Most of the Novice section stuff seems pretty easy for me now that I know how to ride an event, but every so often there is a part of a section that can really throw me for a loop. I suppose being that it was only my second event I shouldn't rush things. It's amazing how I can ride over logs, climb banks and all kinds of shit around my house, but throw up some markers and some tape and it becomes a new ballgame.
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Old 09-23-2013, 02:04 PM   #10
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Not sure how many classes you have in the US? Here in the UK we generally have novice, intermediate, expert, and over 40 classes.

The way to go up a class was to have a class win at a centre (not club) level event, with the proviso that there had to be a certain number of riders in that particular class.

That system seemed to work reasonably well, but not so sure now as there are less and less centre events, and more and more club trials, where I would guess its up to the individual what class they compete in?
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Old 09-23-2013, 02:09 PM   #11
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but throw up some markers and some tape and it becomes a new ballgame

MAN do I hear that, I learned a new term yesterday, "ribbonitis" just about perfectly describes what happens to me in a section.
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Old 09-23-2013, 03:13 PM   #12
Choicecut OP
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Twin-shocker View Post
Not sure how many classes you have in the US? Here in the UK we generally have novice, intermediate, expert, and over 40 classes.

The way to go up a class was to have a class win at a centre (not club) level event, with the proviso that there had to be a certain number of riders in that particular class.

That system seemed to work reasonably well, but not so sure now as there are less and less centre events, and more and more club trials, where I would guess its up to the individual what class they compete in?
I kinda wish it were that way in the US. It is completely up to the individual to decide what class they compete in. Maybe I will just finish out this season (2 events left I think) in Novice and if I continue to do well, then start out next season in the Intermediate class. I will have an RYP school under my belt after next month, so that should help me a little.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BEEF706 View Post
but throw up some markers and some tape and it becomes a new ballgame

MAN do I hear that, I learned a new term yesterday, "ribbonitis" just about perfectly describes what happens to me in a section.
hahaha, added ribbonitis to the vocabulary!
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Old 09-23-2013, 04:02 PM   #13
Gordy
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You learn new skill-sets in every class. If you are not getting clean (or near clean) loops, then don't rush it and take the time to develop these skills before moving up.

Man......that Sting guy is wordy.

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Old 09-23-2013, 04:22 PM   #14
Choicecut OP
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I would like to find a mentor, but my awkwardness and inability to socialize gets the best of me, and there doesn't seem to be anyone close to where I live that rides trials. I went by myself to the last event, about 4 hours from where I live, and I think I said a total of 10 sentences the entire weekend. There are two individuals that have given me pointers (after seeing me crash ) which has helped me immensely. Need to break out of my shell and talk more, but it's difficult for me when I don't have a computer to hide behind or my wife and daughter there to serve as a buffer.
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Old 09-23-2013, 05:00 PM   #15
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Need to break out of my shell and talk more, but it's difficult for me when I don't have a computer to hide behind or my wife and daughter there to serve as a buffer.
Then take them along! Don't know about the club you're riding with, Trials is a family affair out West.

I rode one novice trial, and one season of intermediate, before moving to the afternoon. (extensive bicycle trial background) I have never had a clean card, or a clean loop. I felt I could handle the challenge, so I kept moving up, and no one ever said anything. I got to Expert, my goal, and struggled for two seasons. Now I have hit my stride, and I am not totally puckered up on the first lap.... Pro is probably out of the question, now I just have to get that clean loop.

If you are having out of control crashes, but scoring well, then I would guess you are well on your way. Practice a bunch, dial in your control, and move up in the spring. Whats the worst that could happen?
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