(This is meant to be funny yet informative! No offense intended)
You are a Pro if you race for money, have a contract with a team, your bike was given to you by a manufacturer, OR YOU SIMPLY WANNA PLAY WITH THE BIG BOYS AND GIRLS!! In short, Pro/OPEN is open to everyone but this sandbox is designed for the top tier riders.
You are an Expert if you’ve been riding for years…as in many years…like 10+ years AND/OR you’ve been racing for a few years. Some of you have only been mountain biking for a few years, yet you jumped right into the racing scene. If that’s you, you shave your legs, don’t own any baggy shorts (or own mostly spandex), don’t consider it a “real ride” when you do wear baggy shorts, race for a team, and/or think about your riding, nutrition and weight (of both your body and bike) pretty much all the time, then you are probably Expert. In short, you are a stud but Pro is a bridge too far!
What is a Sport racer? Ahhh, the subject of many a group ride and coffee clutch! To quote my little buddy Evan, “if you have to ask what category you should be in, you are probably Sport”! Sport racers are Lady and Gentleman Racers. Sport racers have full-time jobs, families and obligations that take priority over training full-time. I know many of you Experts out there are saying, “Wait that’s me!” Remember, the length of time you’ve been riding/racing really determines your ability. Sport racers may have only just started racing but have logged enough miles as a “rider” that Beginner is not an option . Sport racers may, or may not, shave their legs. Sport racers enjoy riding with friends, in baggy shorts, and stopping to enjoy the views . Sport racers may have a team affiliation but might not even know what that means! Here’s a good one…if you race Sport and are in the top third of the results I can pretty much predict that you would be top half in the Expert category for your age. Ya know what that makes you? Yup…you guessed it… A SANDBAGGER! Choose well my friends!
Designed for the Beginning “Racer”.. You are a Beginner if you started “Riding” within the past couple of years and decided to check out the race scene. (If you’ve been “Riding” regularly for more than a few years then please consider racing Sport) On the flip-side of that, if you’ve “Riding” for more than a couple of years, but you only get on your bike a handful of times a summer, you are probably a Beginner.
If you’ve never raced before then Beginner is for you unless you feel your riding ability puts you in the Sport Class…there is no obligation to start out in Beginner just because you’ve never raced…Anyone can upgrade themselves at any time!
Your time in the Beginner Category is supposed to be a short stay/stepping stone to the next category you choose.
Courses for Beginner Racers are typically, but not always, shorter than the other categories. Sandbagging the Beginner Class is strongly discouraged and may be met with jeers from the crowd
OPEN MEN 60+ and OPEN WOMEN 45+
This category is for the mature, seasoned racer that is ready to step out of the Expert ranks and doesn’t want to get tangled up with the Sport group (no offense sport racers but many of you are kinda sketchy to ride with). Open is an all-inclusive ability category that groups similarly aged experienced racers together! Course lengths for Open will vary race to race; at some races it will be the Sport distance and at others it will be the Expert distance. Racers eligible for this category may instead choose other categories such as Sport, Expert, Pro/Elite, Singlespeed, or Clydesdale.