We know many people have complaints about the USAC and SportsBaseOnline's handling of nats registrations.
Both regret the result, and USAC has expressed a willingness to us to listen to member feedback. So now's your chance to provide some suggestions on how it should be handled to avoid problems in the future. Not to just complain, but to suggest ways that start order and registration are handled.
Masters seems to be the issue so a possible solution is to have the Cat 1 masters register on Friday (could be any given day) and then Cat 2's on the following day, Cat 3's the next day etc. This would limit the traffic hitting the site significantly and allow only those in the specific categories to sign up.
To discourage rogue entries (If on Cat 1 day a rider from a lower category tries to sign up) they would be denied entry into the races on the whole or charged xtra money. If you make it painful people will follow the rules.
This methodology would be possible since, according to Sports Base Online "National events require that we query USAC's database to verify annual licenses during the online registration process." If this in fact the case then it would be easy to do the above mentioned solution and limit the mayhem.
I agree that masters and non-national champ events (like the B's) are going to be the ones with the huge rush sign in due to the fact there isn't a seeding like the elites have and the fields are big enough that start position could end your chances of winning before crossing the start line.
It sounds tough to split on cat and how would upgrades be dealt with. How about staggering the signup of the larger masters categories over several days. I don't know how complicated it would be on the server side of things, but I would think if the sign up order was something like masters 30-34 monday, masters 35-39 tuesday..... it would spread the traffic over several days.
First thing, I would like to say that I really like the change this year to sort start order by Cat. I think that is a very positive change.
I see a couple of good ideas for splitting the registration to reduce traffic from other posters. Before we try to solve the problem, I have a basic question. How much traffic are we talking about? How many people were realistically trying to register on that first night? The number of potential registrants is pretty finite. It's not like we're talking about the release of the NY Times #1 best selling book. I don't know the exact number and I don't know what kind of hardware/software sportsbaseonline has; but I think they ought to be able to handle what was asked of them. I'm not sure the answer should be to reduce expectations.
We are looking at a variety of ways to make this a better event moving forward. It is a really good sign that we were overwelmed with the number of participants for this race! One of the ideas we were throwing around for 2010 was the idea of qualifying rounds to get into the race for the championship. Maybe splitting up some of the larger Masters categories and doing qualifying rounds and then having a "finals" race for the medals. That would make sure that we could accomidate more riders in each age bracket and the race to registration wouldn't be quite as important. Any more ideas that any of you have are always appreciated.
Instead of making it a race at any point just to register, why not base it on USA Cycling rankings? They rolled out a new ranking system this year that is much clearer than previous. You could seed masters based on category and then ranking points. The other races could be just on ranking points.
It would also encourage all races to send their results to USAC. If you were planning on going to nats, you would choose the races that are sending their results in so you could get the points.
What about a 1-2 lap "prologue" the day before the race? leaving @ 30 sec intervals with timing chips? NASCAR does this and it seems fair. This eliminates the need to register in any order, and will be a reasonable approximation of the riders speed. Plus think of the amazinf crashes from people trying to go all out for one lap! Also addresses the non-USAC riders.
Interesting concept, but I think the issue would be the way the course changes throughout the prologue. Lines will form making the course faster for the riders running later in the day. It's one thing to have the wind change in a road TT, but the changes that occur on a cross course completely change the nature of the race favoring those who ride after the lines are formed.
Agreed, the course would change some over time, perhaps we could have the course open long enough to get burned in by people warming up? Eventually things will get somewhat stable. This is one of those deals that has no ideal solution. Somebody is going to get screwed, that is the rub. It is not 100% fair, but it is more equitable (in my opinion) than using the racer's internet connection speed or button clicking ability to determine start seed. Also, the key is to get the faster racers toward the front. You can still win a race from the 2and or third row, but not from the back row. The USAC rankings system is also problematic. Winning a cross race in Flordia is a bit different than Colorado, Oregon or New England.
Have online registration start at a reasonable time, noon or 5 p.m., not at midnight on a weekend (when everyone who is going to nationals is trying rest for a race the next day). Staging by USAC points would work if they can get the system improved. Its seems accurate right now in the 35+, but the 45+ and 55+ points seem a bit off whack. How are the older masters events being scored? I am surprised that the top guys in the 45+/55+ New England Championship series have almost no USAC points for CX.
First of all,I feel that listing by category is not the way to go. Did those riders earn their 1 as a cyclocrosser?? Most were great TT'ers or sprinters in crits and HELLO, cross is a whole different discipline. I look at the seed list and many of the 3's could lap the 1's on there in a cross race. Next, isn't this pretty simple. Just seed ALL the riders by how they did the previous year. If you finished the race and did not have a mechanical, then you EARNED your spot through your riding, not your ability to sit up late at night hitting a computer key. If you had a mechanical, then as they say, that's bike racing and you'll have to move up the ranks the next year and earn your place again.It may take a USAC official a day or so to figure this out, but with all the cash they are making on the Masters riders, they should be able to spring for it. Geez, could these people figure out how to whip their way out of a wet paper bag??