“Catting up”! Sandbagging Sucks!

October 2nd, 2012 by Don Walker

Let me preface the title by saying the following; No, I am not already catting up to a 3 ( I WISH!!!!).  Despite the weight loss, I was sidelined for about 3 weeks due to a nasty crash at Cross Practice. I probably won’t be able to Cat up until December, if my plan progresses per the schedule I have laid out.

This blog is about those annoying guys you see on the front row race after race in the 4s and 3s all season long. Cyclo-Cross is a sport where you’re rewarded for your last performance and also based on series points. Yes, its a mass start event, but, the guys who are doing well week after week and leading the points series get to take advantage of their front row “call up”. If you are new to the series and/or suffering from a couple bad races, you’ll likely be in the latter half of the field. Racing from the back is difficult as you are not in “clean air” as mud and/or dust is kicked up from the many riders in front of you. You can also make up time on the guys behind you just by being first through the corners and not having to deal with riders all around you. When you are first going into the first corner of the race, they call that the “hole shot” as you are in clean air and nothing to obstruct your view or how you go through the corners.

Anyhow, back to the point. Just two races in to the OVCX series, and there’s already some guys who have won two races in the 4s. These are guys who I have seen in years past on the podium in the 4s in cross and road. I’m not sure what possesses someone to stay at a certain level of competition week after week, other than for their own egotistical needs and/or wants to win week after week. Back in my day (as I say that with a wry smile of being “older” now…) we always were striving to upgrade. You see, we enjoyed the challenge.  We would much rather say “Hey, I’m a Cat 2 and even though I am a pack finisher, I’m still a Cat 2 I made it this far and I’m damn proud of it!” than to say “I win the Cat 4’s week after week!”, which in my opinion is pretty lame. Its like being the best of the worst, so-to-speak.  Some of these “winners” are referred to as “sandbaggers”. I don’t know the origin of that elite title, but its really given to so few riders, if you are known as a sandbagger, it comes with no surprise that people will call you that to your face. Its not a badge of honor.

The best part of this rant is, some of these sandbaggers are in shape year round. They kick butt on the road, in MTB, Cross, some of them even on the drome. “They’ll give you excuses why they can’t cat up; “Oh, I work 60 hours a week and I can’t train enough to be competitive in the next cat up!” and worse yet, when their results of X number wins or podiums in a row would automatically give them the chance to cat up, they stop racing for the rest of the season. What kind of sh*t is that? You really need to feed your ego that much? You’re a sad, sad individual.

Here I am, calling you out. Sandbagger!  If you hear me yell this at you at a race, don’t be proud. You should hang your head in effing shame, because what you are doing is shameful. Challenge yourself! You may never win that next level of racing, true. But you’ll have way more respect from those in your community for doing whats “right” and allowing someone else who has been working hard training and learning all they can about the sport to hit the podium. That’s what “its” all about.

I have spoken and therefor it is written and blogged.


PS If you feel the need to dispute my position on the matter, approach me at the event with 2 beers. When we’re done discussing it and you still don’t “get it”, at least I have a bottle to crack over your skull. thanks!