Some FAQs on ability racing:

Q: Where did this idea come from, and how is it different?

A: Long term athlete development advocates have long suggested that all sport should suit the ability of athletes, not birth dates. But our Series is mainly inspired by the Ontario Cycling Association’s youth development road and track series.  These two series broke the mold for youth racing by giving riders what they wanted; close racing with others their ability, vs their age, which we know does not line up with maturation or training background. Participation jumped, racing was hot, and most of all, riders had fun.  We wanted that for Island riders.

Q: Won’t riders choose too-easy or too-hard categories?

A: Ontario says this hasn’t happened; youth riders know their ability pretty well. A coach panel at each race helps riders who aren’t sure to find the right group.

Q: Can I race without experience?

A: Racing is better with coaching, and we hope this series inspires clubs to offer coaching.  We will offer coaching at each race, so you can try it out safely. E and D categories will have features like less technical races, coaches riding along, neutral starts to get the hang of the bunch before the speed increases, and pre-race clinics. Track races will require a learn-to-ride clinic for new track riders the morning of the meet.

Q: Where can I find youth coaching?

A: Contact your local road and track club and ask for youth coaching.

Q: What do I need to race?  

A: A few important things:

    • Pre-entry, if possible. It’s cheaper, and helps  riders choose the right category.
    • Late entry, if necessary. It costs more, but we want you there to get you started in racing.
    • A cycling BC license (or one day license online with your race entry- $5 u16, $10 others).
    • A helmet and gloves
    • Road or cyclocross bike is best, but an mtb with slicks is ok too.
    • Waiver signed by a parent or guardian
    • Good manners to competitors, organizers and the public.
    • The will to try hard and learn

Q: Can I change my category during the season.

A: Yes, and also if you change your mind at registration.

Q: Are there prizes

A: Yes, draw prizes that all riders are eligible for.  Because we want to focus on the racing vs the race outcome, there are no placing prizes.  But we will have Most Improved and Spirit of Sport awards.

Q: Why do boys and girls race together?

A: In Ontario,  girls and coaches report they enjoy ability racing over age and gender racing.  Plus, in a well-matched field, all riders have to ride smarter.

Q: Are there other races I can do?

A: Yes. They include:

    • The Island Cup mtb xc, xcm, and enduro series. Ability based all-ages off road racing