USA Cycling Officials

Youth races and Youth racers
Post: Apr 2, 2013 by Shawn Farrell under category "Rule Interpretation"
I was reading someone's blog today. He was speaking about youth racers and giving a really good description of what it means to be a youth rider and how we ended up having a youth class. Then I came upon a line where he quoted rule 1H9(e) -- Youth Riders may enter only youth races. He went onto say that most officials do not enforce that and gave examples of why that is so, including:

1) It is a new rule and many officials do not understand it
2) They are just being nice because they want to see the little guys go out there and have fun.

At the risk of being labled a youth rider hater or Scrooge, I need to point out that this rule is fairly similar to the rule about wearing helmets. It is a black and white rule with little to no interpretation. A youth race must be on a 5 km or less circuit and completely closed to traffic.

The officials and the race directors cannot just choose to throw a youth rider into the junior race. Youth riders cannot ride up in age like juniors can. They ride youth or they don't ride.

This type of rule is very dangerous because what seems like an innocent attempt to let the kid have some fun will turn into a nightmare if he gets hurt in a race he never should have been allowed into. Trust me, it is no fun always having to optimize all decisions based on the expected lawsuit that will come from our litigious society, but that is the reality we live in.