Peel District Cycling Club – Grading

PDCC has always been a club that caters for all cyclists that are interested in competitive cycling. We are a club that runs cycling races over 20 times per year in differing formats over differing courses. The club has members as young as 9 and older than 80, and all have differing abilities and goals.

With such a diverse membership, the one of the major challenges for the club is fair grading to ensure a culture of enjoyment, engagement, and above all inclusiveness for all members. Delivering this whilst offering a competitive and friendly environment is our challenge.

Membership diversity also offers a significant challenge to the club in the ability to run separate events for specific membership groups. These could include age specific events (masters, juniors), gender-based events, or a mixture of both. To ensure a grade is successful, 10 competitors or more is desired in each grade.

For the above reasons, the club has, and will remain to ensure grading is completed on ability of the competitor’s overall fitness, bike handling skills, and confidence to compete in a specific grade. Grading is quite subjective, and it is never always right, though all care is taken to ensure grading is as fair as possible for all competitors.

Online entries are now being utilised to allow the club more time to ensure grading is as fair as possible, and decisions on grading are mainly completed prior to race day.

Within each grade, the club is aware there are possibly 3 groups of competitors.

  1. Grade (+) – Those competitors that are confident they will always be looking for the win, are looking to promote to the next grate. Find the grade a little easy.
  2. Grade – Those competitors that are comfortable within the grade whilst being challenged, have the ability, fitness and skill to compete for the win on most occasions. Not looking to promote or demote between grades.
  3. Grade (-) – Those competitors that are challenged within a grade. Struggle to hold on to the group, they may be lacking fitness due to a break / illness. They may have just been promoted into the grade or may be moving to a lower grade due to decreasing fitness / age.

The club continues to offer 5 grades (A to E) for local club competition which offers a racing grade for all abilities, and membership groups. The club encourages enjoyment and friendly competition between members.

  • E Grade – (Beginning Grade) A grade for those beginning the sport, or at the end of their cycling career. It is probably the most diverse grade with competitors at the extremes of age difference. It is a grade to develop bike handling skills and enjoy competitive racing.
    • Average speeds – 28-30 km/hr
  • D Grade – (Development Grade) – A grade for those that have growing skills and ability, are developing speed and skills for close bunch racing. Our first competitive grade where the events become quite competitive.
    • Average Speeds – 32-34km/hr
  • C Grade – (Progression Grade) – A grade for those that are quite competitive, have the ability and skills, and enjoy the racing environment.
    • Average Speeds – 35-37km/hr
  • B Grade – Competitive Racing – A grade for those that want to compete at a high level, but may not have the ability to maintain competitiveness in A grade
    • Average Speeds – 38-40km/hr
  • A Grade – Our most competitive grade. This is the grade for those that are the strongest in our club.
    • Average Speeds – 40-42+ KM/hr

The club will continue to attempt to ensure that all competitors are always within the correct grade. If a member feels that they are in an incorrect grade, the club encourages the member to discuss this with the club officials prior to race day.

Promotion between Grades

  • Grades E – D, D – C, C – B and B – A
    The club is aiming to keep each participant in each grade competitive with their peer riders. This means that riders who consistently win or place 2nd or 3rd in their grade will be promoted to the next grade.
  • Grades A – B, B – C, C – D and D – E
    Similarly riders who consistently come in the last three places may (if they agree) be relegated to a lower grade.

The handicappers reserve the right to override this scheme in the following circumstances

  • Riders who prove to be in the wrong grade in the 3 races immediately following promotion/demotion
  • Riders returning from prolonged ill health may ride in a lower grade but will earn 2 points in the Rider of the Year competition even if they win or place in the race. The next rider will earn the returning rider’s points.
  • New adult competitors will generally be placed no lower than C Grade subject to apparent level of fitness or known ability from other riders. They will be immediately regraded if their performance in the first race they attend identifies an incorrect initial grade.

Handicap Races

Each rider will be handicapped according to their ability as shown in the regular race series.

The Handicapper’s decision as to each individual rider will be final.

JUNIORS at PDCC

With the absence of a suitable road cycling facility in Western Australia, which is off the road to enable training and racing of Juniors in a controlled environment, the club is limited to what it can offer Juniors.

Whilst the club would like to adhere to the Cycling Australia Junior Cycling Policy (2015), without a dedicated facility, and current restrictions around events on road, it is not possible for the club to deliver the policy. The club would like to see the continued development of Junior racing in a safe manner. Below outlines how the club will handle Junior development under the challenges currently faced by the club regarding suitable racing and training facilities.

CLUB EVENTS – Road Racing

  1. Handicap races will be restricted to U15 and above entrants only.
  2. U11 – E Grade maximum grade. Must be accompanied by a parent during racing.
  3. U13 – E Grade preferred. If the Junior has the ability and skill, promotion to D grade is possible with agreement of the race committee, club coach, parent and cycling coach. Must be accompanied by a parent during racing.
  4. U15 – D Grade. If the Junior has the ability and skill, promotion to C grade is possible with agreement of race committee, club coach, parent and cycling coach.
  5. U17 – Maximum B Grade. May promote to A grade only after Junior National Championships in second year as U17, and only if determined to have the skill and ability by race committee, club coach, parent and cycling coach.

OPEN EVENTS – Road Racing (Peel Classic, Peel Junior Tour)

As open events have significantly more planning, greater numbers of competitors, and greater timing requirement. Junior racing will adhere to the Cycling Australia Junior Cycling Policy (2015) if the entrant numbers allow.

CLUB EVENTS – Criterium Season

  1. U11 – E Grade maximum grade. Must be accompanied by a parent during racing. If numbers permit, the club will run a separate U11 Grade.
  2. U13 – D Grade Maximum. Must be accompanied by a parent.
  3. U15 – D Grade. If the Junior has the ability and skill, promotion to C grade is possible with agreement of race committee, club coach, parent and cycling coach.
  4. U17 – Maximum B Grade. May promote to A grade only after Junior National Championships in second year as U17, and only if determined to have the skill and ability by race committee, club coach, parent and cycling coach.

NOTE – if a junior wishes up ride in the next grade, a request must be received by the club secretary at least 1 week prior to the event.

Where possible, if the club has access to a suitable course, the club will run specific aged group categories to encourage the development of juniors.

Gear Ratios across all grades will be adhered to as per the Cycling Australia Junior Policy in all instances.

Yours in cycling,

PDCC Committee