The Arsenal Crit is back for another year! This edition will be similar to previous, but with a few updates:
Registration is still just $20 to do as many races for which you are eligible, as well as the clinic. Schedule and other details are in the race flyer.
This year the on-course, co-ed, coached clinic is 50 minutes long. Although oriented to men and women beginners, we encourage everybody to join in—we all have something to learn. To begin we’ll quickly go over some basic bike safety checks and riding basics. Then we’ll break up into small groups and work on how to corner properly at speed and around other riders. All the groups will then come together to form one large peloton and do some laps at a steady, non-racing pace, with the coaches controlling the pace and continuing to provide advice. Afterward, we encourage all our new racers to try to the Men’s Category 5 and Beginner Women’s races shortly after the clinic.
This year we have a new Women Beginners field, reserved for women in their first season of racing who have earned no upgrade points. If you’ve done a race or two in previous years that’s fine, “first season of racing” means you haven’t previously raced regularly. Similarly, “earned no upgrade points” essentially means you don’t have any top 5 finishes to your credit yet, but don’t worry if you did a race with just a handful of starters and got some upgrade points there.
This field is equivalent to Men’s Category 5. Why is there no Women’s Cat 5? We have no idea. It would cost USA Cycling nothing, and it would cost promoters nothing. The latter could just re-label their current Women’s 4 races as Women’s 4/5 to include all the same racers, much like many men’s schedules.
But a Women’s 5 category would better enable beginner friendly events like the Arsenal Crit to run fields in which new women racers don’t have to worry about racing with potentially very experienced and strong Cat 4 women—many women race for years, are very fast and skilled, and still have a Cat 4 license because of the upgrade criteria required and the huge step up to race as a Cat 3, often lumped in with Pro/1/2s.
As importantly, a Women’s 5 category would provide a great stepping stone to mark progress as a new racer. Every year, many men make it a racing goal and get a real sense of accomplishment from simply doing ten races and getting their Cat 4 license. It’s a symbol that while they might not be super super fast yet, they’re not a total beginner either. In contrast, just to get their first upgrade, women have to podium in a number of races and be prepared to do elite races as a Cat 3. Having an early, meaningful, but readily accomplishable, goal such as a 5-to-4 upgrade based on race starts is an important part of retaining new riders in the sport. The lack of this on the women’s side is a real factor in new racers losing interest.
Consider the Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference, widely recognized as a leader for women’s racing and historically statistically much more successful at attracting and retaining women cyclists than the national standard. It runs four women’s fields just within the strata equivalent to Women’s 4. Those fields create a much smoother and safer category gradient in which women racers can learn and enjoy racing.
Again, adding the category wouldn’t cost anyone anything. It’s a trivial policy and IT update on USAC’s side, and promoters that don’t care or can’t manage a separate field can just ignore it and lump it in like they do Men’s 5. We can also vouch that this is not a totally new concept never before introduced at the national level. So why hasn’t USA Cycling taken this trivial, no-cost step to make a real positive impact on competitive women’s cycling and instated a Women’s Category 5? You should ask them.
Although this is a comparatively simple race to execute, we do still need a good number of volunteers for course marshaling and other duties. If you can help out, please sign up via the online form!
Online registration is via BikeReg for $20 plus processing fees. Registration will also be available on-site for $30, cash or check only. There are no additional entry fees for additional races—the $20 online/$30 on-site registration is an all-day pass for all the racing you can or want to do! We still need everyone to register, check-in, and use the appropriate bib numbers for each field in which they’re entering though. Otherwise there’s no way to enforce category restrictions, and scoring & results would be more error prone.
All participants must have a USA Cycling license, including the clinic. A 1-day license is included in registration for all participants who do not have an annual license.
Parking this year is close to the main gate and the same as 2015, at 13th St and Intrepid Ave. Follow the signs from the main Navy Yard gate on Broad St, and then directions of any marshals at parking. From the main gate on Broad St you make a left on Crescent, a right on 13th, and then enter the lot on either side.
Please do not ride on course to go to the start/finish line, and never ride at speed on any sidewalk!
There are no water or other supplies available on or around the course, so please plan appropriately.
Portajohns are located in the parking lot on the inside of Turn 4 (13th & Normandy Place).
Registration will also be at Turn 4, 13th St and Normandy Place, close by both the start line and parking.