Cat 5 Race/Clinic a Huge Success
Cat 5 Race/Clinic a Huge Success

When the topic came up at the last WCA Annual Board Meeting regarding how to grow our sport by adding a Cat 5 race, Team Wisconsin President Dave Eckel saw an opportunity not only to grow our sport but to increase participation at TW events.  Eckel said he was immediately on board, and when discussion took place about having pre/post race clinic for the Cat 5 racers it became a no-brainer.  “It can be a very intimidating experience for new riders when they line up at the start line for the first time.  We need to find ways to encourage riders to try a WCA race and provide an enjoyable experience, because I believe once they do they will be hooked for years to come”, Eckel said.

At last Saturday’s Whitnall Park Spring Classic, TW had added a 30 minute Cat 5 race, with a 20 minute scheduled pre-race clinic and a 15 minute feedback post race debriefing.  Close to 30 riders signed up with almost 100% participation in the clinics.  The clinic was conducted by former WCA President Andy Reiland with help from teammates Jason Kayzar and Frederick (aka Fast Freddy) Derocher, a recent Cat 5 who upgraded to Cat 4.  The major topics discussed were:

  • How to have a safe race, with do’s and don’ts
  • Holding your line
  • Communication (not yelling at someone who makes a mistake, having some understanding)
  • What to expect during the race; from lap cards to being pushed harder than ever before but not giving up

After a successful and safe race, the riders met for a debriefing and an opportunity to provide feedback on how the race went.  The response was extremely, upbeat and the racers seemed to appreciate the pre-race input, feeling it added to the enjoyment and safety of the race.  When WCA President Bob Schallhorn (who attended the race specifically to see how the Cat 5 race went) asked the riders to raise their hands if they would participate in more WCA events, every single arm was raised, including a father and son who raced together for the first time.

Reiland added that if the Cat 5 racers wanted to improve they should seek out group rides to help their pack riding skills and exposure to race situations, and possibly search for a WCA team that fits their goals.

The post-race clinic concluded with some drawings for swag that was provided by Emery’s Cycle and podium picture for the top three finishers.

Schallhorn and Reiland talked after and were very encouraged by the attendance and enthusiasm of the racers.  They agreed that this is one of the things we need to do if we are going to grow our sport.

Schallhorn commented, “Team Wisconsin embraced this opportunity to grow the sport and did a fantastic job running the Cat 5 pre/post race clinic. It was a huge success and it was great to talk to the riders afterward as they swapped stories and see that gleam in their eyes telling me they were hooked for good!” Kudos to Andy, Dave and all of Team Wisconsin for putting on a great event.

For more information on how easy it is to put on a Cat 5 race, including discussion points for the pre/post race clinics, please contact the WCA Board.

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