Every racer needs a grade so that they ride among other racers of similar abilities. That’s the best way to ride safely and avoid trouble.
You may need three different gradings: a club grade, an open grade for road races and perhaps an open grading for track. Let’s deal with the club grading first.
Lifecycle Club Criterium Grading
This is only relevant for club racing, like club criteriums. Every racer at club events, regardless of which club they belong to, needs to be assigned a club grade by the host club. That’s the only grade they are permitted to race in at that club’s events – including restricted open events. It’s not unusual for riders to have different grades at different clubs. The club handicapper is familiar with the skills and experience of riders within each grade and will sort you accordingly. It’s not just about your abilities but about the other racers in that grade.
It’s a good idea to have your grade sorted before you turn up to register. Since different grades have different start times, you might otherwise have to wait around for your grade to start, or worse you could miss the start of your grade’s race.
Some people have the attitude that they should start out in a grade below their ability. That way they have a chance of winning right from their very first race. That’s just plain wrong. It really isn’t safe to have someone with no experience competing in the final sprint. You won’t learn anything by beating weaker riders, and that’s a pretty shallow victory. We believe that it’s best to ride in the grade that properly matches your abilities – where you’ll be able to stay with the group, learn from other riders and eventually make your way onto the podium.
To help the handicapper assess your abilities, you should provide answers to the following:
- Some personal details: Gender, age, height and weight.
- Experience: How long have you been riding? What groups do you ride with?
- Do you have friends who race with us (names please) and how do you rank yourself alongside them?
- Other relevant factors, like are you a gun triathlete?
You can apply for a handicap by completing the application, including relevant information mentioned above.
Open Grading Road
A rider’s open grading is assigned by Cycling Queensland and is used for competing in open events from the Cycling Queensland calendar, like the Anzac 25, Sizzling Summer Series or the Cunningham Classic. It’s also a requirement to have an open grade to race in handicap races like the Lifecycle Classic.
There is an application form on the CQ website which needs to be completed, signed off by your club and submitted to CQ. Your open grade could be different to your club grade.
Open Grading Track
Again, this is assigned by Cycling Queensland. There is an application form on the CQ website which needs to be completed, signed off by your club and submitted to CQ. Your open grade could be different to your club grade.