I’ve fielded more than twenty rider upgrade/downgrade requests since I was given online admin privileges on the USA Cycling website towards the end of January.
Some of these were routine. Others seemed to demonstrate that folks are not terribly clear on how the upgrade process is supposed to work. Part of the problem is that riders are not provided rule books except online. I’ll need to draft and post information about upgrade requirements and procedures.
Another point occurs. The upgrade from Cat. 5 to Cat 4 requires experience in 10 qualifying mass start races, or Local Associations may also establish a policy where upgrade credit is given for taking a sanctioned rider education clinic. This sounds like a good idea, but we don’t have one, and would have to develop one. What do folks think?
The requirements for upgrades are *not* set in stone, they are actually guidelines, except for the part about automatic upgrades (which are a protection against sandbagging). But there is a tendency to request upgrades before meeting all the rulebook guideline requirements. In such cases, it’s important for the rider to list all *relevant* experience (XC/DH MTB and endurance events don’t necessarily indicate strong pack riding skills). It’s also a good idea to include references from other established riders in your club. The intention of categories is *not* to hold people back, but to insure the a safe and equitable level of competition for all riders.
The USA Cycling online system only allows one person to process online upgrade requests. At present, that person is me. There was a fair size backlog in the system when I inherited it, and it took some time to establish what the status of the various cases was.
Chief Referee’s have the authority to let riders ride one category up in their races, with subsequent approval/denial by the upgrading authority. The trick will be to make sure that CR’s understand how this works, and that they make sure to inform me. It’s also been a long standing tradition that certain higher level officials can accept resumes and award upgrades at races. At present, only I, Chips Chapman, and Rey Trevino can approve upgrade requests made to us in person at events. Chips and Rey are required to notify me when they’ve done so, so that I can enter it into the online system. As long as communication lines remain open, this should provide a higher level of service to the riders in our association.