Monday, 8 October 2012

Under 12s Leagues

The Under 12s races at Scottish Cyclocross Association events have grown in popularity tremendously and it's great to see so many young racers getting the chance to experience racing in a safe environment and having fun.

However, it would be fair to say that the increased numbers have caused some problems in recent seasons. We've made several changes to improve the situation:
  • The U12 races have been brought forward in the schedule to make sure they're not having to make their way through courses ploughed up by the other races. 
  • We've also helped to extend the use of electronic timing to the U12s races where possible. As SCX and our organising clubs are committed to providing free racing for U12s where possible, with the cost subsidised by the organisers or riders in other categories.

We've been asked on a number of occasions to provide leagues and series prizes for U12 riders. We have spoken to Scottish Cycling on this topic regularly and we are both in agreement that the U12 categories are intended as a fun introduction to racing and as a result we will not be compiling or publishing leagues for the Under 12s categories.  Scottish Cycling's rules include an U12s category in the Scottish Championships and medals will be awarded in Youth A & B categories.


Tom Forbes said...

Not involved with Scottish cross this winter due to track committments. As a suggestion and where possible, U12s should have a seperate course thus avoiding riding on mud. Another posting mentioned all U12s riding together. This is unusual and given the age cats for U12s are normally U8/U10 & U12s, again if it is possible seperate races should be held for them. As an organiser I always try and do this.

Anonymous said...

My daughter was one of the younger ones in the U12 group. The course was great and the format was fine. It wasn't a big deal that there were no medals handed out for the lower age groups. But, we would like to see the results. Will they still be posted in these categories as they were not available on the day (at least when we checked)? Many thanks.

martysavalas said...

Full results should be online this evening.

Keith said...

The above post is fatally flawed..

It states "improving the situation" but fails to mention the Elephant in the room of removing U8's and U10's

It states their commitment to FREE racing for U12's subsidised by Organisers and other riders..

Is it just me or was I the only one who paid £5 for my child to race, if all other parents did aswell where is the £350 in race entries... (70 kids x £5) Who's subsidising who here..

I want to make very CLEAR here that I am very happy to pay five pounds each for my 8,5 and 4 years olds to compete, BUT I do expect them to have a category to race in.

If its a fun event with no league and no positions provided for U8's and U10's why are you putting timing chips on the kids if its not a competition and merely an organised ride in the park for fun.

Could you please provide the correct contact at Scottish Cycling whom SCX liaise with, specifically in relation to the classification of U12's.

This was requested in a comment on the post about the event itself and was responded to with the blatantly obvious British cycling / Contact us web address.

The decision by the SCX to respond in such a manner and to fail to offer the direct contact of whom we we need to speak to about this is a blatant demonstration of the fact that the SCX has no interest in re instating the U12's separate categories.

I am involved with 3 children whom race, one is 8 and has raced every year since he was three and a half at Glenrothes. The other two kids are 4 and 5 currently.

They all love to ride their bikes and talk non stop about these events, the 5 year old has even gotten on to the bottom step of the podium on one occasion and you would not believe the satisfaction he got from this, the medal / prize went into to school and he recieved further confidence by acknowledgement by his peers of HIS small success.

Anybody who thinks that children of this age do not need or seek reward for their efforts should not be involved in these events.

The decision to post the contact us page of British Cycling in response to a reasonable request for a contact at our governing body who SCX deals with is an insult to the original post requesting details.

Any idiot could go and look at the British Cycling web page and get that. You obviously know who we need to speak to about this, why would you not provide us with this information?

It suggests that SXC's position is that they do not wish to have U8's and U10's which is a far cry from the "they don't listen to us, and our requests have fallen on deaf ears, our hands are tied" comments made by organisers at the children's sign on when parents commented.

To conclude, The Callander Park SCX was overall a fantastic success, a fantastically well organized event, a great course and location and I would genuinely say it was the one of the best CX races ive been to supported at and raced.


For a 4 yr old to start racing in a category that they will be riding in for 8 years is unacceptable.

For the benefit of racers, supporters and for the SCX Association, an more informed and considerate approach to the voices of their riders is required, the comment about "Commitment to providing Free racing for U12's" when we all paid is an indication that there are issues needing addressed with internal communication at SCX not just its members.

Keith said...


Why do you think that you had so many riders in the U12's at Callander Park? It was the Success of the previous years events.

The future of Cyclo cross does not lie in the Vets, it lies in the inspiration of the children to race.

In an Olympic Year with all the "Legacy" and with the Commonwealth Games IN Glasgow this decision by SCX is flys in the face of the ethos of British sport.

To other readers of these posts please ask you children who ride in U12's why they like to have their age and ability related category to ride in, and assist them to post here to communicate their thoughts to the organiers.

Many thanks

martysavalas said...

Hi Keith,

Sorry, not sure who posted that link to SC's contact page. It's not helpful, so I've removed it.

Janette Hazlett is the National Events Officer at Scottish Cycling and her email is

Results will be posted for all races and the timing team hope to have them online later this evening.

Keith said...

Hi, thank you for getting back to me quickly. Can you advise if these results for all races will include a breakdown of the U12s?

Can the SCX please confirm whether or not they wish to enter into discussion regarding this decision.

I will be making contact with Janette, but am perfectly sure the SCX has the discretion to provide the U10's and U8's categories should it wish to do so.

I need to know who I need to convince here. It's of limited use speaking to Janette if the SCX are not interested at the end of the day.

Many thanks.

Glyn said...

Another view from another parent,

Anonymous said...
Just in echo of the earlier comments - top marks to the organisers, but the lack of subdivision in the Under-12s race really needs addressed!

By all means have one race with seperate classes, and I take the point that it's meant to be "a fun introduction to racing"... but are we trying to ENCOURAGE the younger ones, or simply using them as potential road-kill for their elders?

I'd be grateful if this can be taken higher if it can't be addressed at a local level... bottom line: it ain't fair.

All else aside, a sincere thanks again for a superb day out!


Anonymous said...

Another view from another parent..

Anonymous said...
Yes a brilliant day yesterday, great course and they even arranged the weather. I agree with the comments about U12s. They, more than anyone, need the recognition. 6 year olds can not compete with 12 year olds. Wheres the incentive to travel to Mull? Older kids grasp the concept of being at the bottom of their age bracket and know their time will come but what 6 year old is going to keep coming for 6 years with out getting close to a win? Yes I will be contacting SC about it and def do not want to detract from a great day. thanks to the organisers.

8 October 2012 10:40

Unknown said...

Keith - First of all let me state that I have no official relationship to the SCX other than being a lot time rider and supporter of the series. This should prevent the previous ridiculous situation whereby you thought random commenters are replying on behalf of the SCX.

I think it's important that you understand that the SCX Association is a group of volunteers that give up their own time to put the series on in partnership with race organisers who are also volunteers. Hassling them on this site with long drawn-out lists of your demands is not going to gain you favour, and will likely put of future race organisers from even having an U12 race.

Perhaps I might suggest that similar to the SXC (Scottish Cross Country, not Cyclocross), the U12s races are run and organised by the parents, with some support from an event organiser. Perhaps a separate course could be utilised to reduce the difficulty (as per Tom's comments at the top), as well as make room in an already tight schedule for the other races on the full-course.

Lindsay said...

In response to Keith's post, you mention that results will be online this evening. Does this mean you will be posting results for the U12s into their age related categories? This should still be possible as the date of births were provided at sign on.

As the mother of an 8 year old racer, I know how important these results are to our kids. Anyone watching those 70 kids at the race yesterday could be in no doubt that they were giving it their all. From the 4 year olds to the 11 year olds, they were racing for all they were worth! To suggest this event is merely an opportunity for our youngsters go for a hack round the park in a safe, and secure manner is to totally and inexcusably discount their efforts and misunderstand their motivation.

Accurate, age related results are important because kids can then see their progress within a group of similar age. It helps them to find out who their peers are within the race. Friendships are made this way. My son has certainly enjoyed this kind of friendly rivalry with other boys of his age who have consistently raced either a placing above or a placing below throughout the season. This would be lost if the U8 and U10s races were swallowed up into one big U12s race. It would be hugely demotivating for the younger racers to spend perhaps 6 or more years at the bottom of the results table. How many could be turned away from the sport as a result of this frustration?

Chris said...

As Marty says - I will aim to get the full results up tonight. It takes time to manually data-enter the names and clubs of riders, then check that no one is missing and the results appear sensible.

The more riders pre-enter, the quicker this process becomes.

If I am able to subcategorise Race 1 results as U8, U10 and U12s based on the signon data / pre-entry data then I will attempt to do so.

Anonymous said...

Appreciate that Chris! Thanks!

I have no problem whatsoever with the effort the SCX folks put into their events. Falkirk (as with all the events I've been to) seemed a huge success and we had a great day out. Plaudits plus!

But why (when it's been done previously) are we suddenly ditching the recognition of the U10s and U8s with their own podia?

Why the change of heart? Tell me it's not because of money?

(And no, Keith we paid for our entry too and were happy to do so... but it certainly wasn't "free")


martysavalas said...

I've clarified our position on charging entry fees with an edit to the original article.

For info - cost for timing is £2 per rider.

Keith said...

Hi, Unknown above

I don’t wish for this forum comment to become overly personalised or detract from the point i'm trying to make, Your comments are fair and I hold my hands up to having miss identified the poster of the British cycling contact us page and retract any comment made on my poor jump to conclusion.

However I do challenge one aspect of your post. I have met and spoken with and volunteer marshalled for the Parent who took up the reigns at the SXC mountain bike league. He has done an absolutely amazing job, races run on time, courses are set early and prize givings are quick and the right people get the right prizes. However It's great success does not justify how it came to be that way. If it were not for him stepping into the fray, the SCX would have abandoned U12 mountain biking in Scotland. That would have been shameful. Our National leagues whilst I acknowledge no one gets paid for it, and that is made up of Volunteers, they still have a duty, along with our Governing Body, to support and develop young riders.

Although direct and a bit abrasive I stand by my comments, It was not wise to post a commitment to Free racing for U12's the day after making £350 in race entry fees from these same people. Again I reiterate that I think a small fee is wholly acceptable to support a prize fund and chip costs, but surely there was a profit yesterday?

I'm all the attendees, whether supporting, racing or parenting, thought Callander Park was an exceptionally well run, race with a fantastic course and great atmosphere and would have had nothing but praise for Franco

I do not wish to put off organisers I wish for the opposite, don’t resent the kids races, they are the future of our sport, the people you will see on TV in years to come. Use the PA, ask parents for help at sign on, If you need an entry fee, we will pay, If asked, people will help. If there are circumstances which now mean that SCX can not provide the breakdown in categories in U12's tell us what they are and we may be able to assist.

My post was not a long list of demands but a robust challenge of what is a grossly unfair and un just decision. Kids from 4-11 can not and wouldn't make that challenge themselves, they need a voice, or they will just lose interest. I want the success of yesterdays turn out to be repeated. I want the SCX to take in revenues of £350 per event (acknowledging there are assoc costs) from the kids races, as our organisers need our support and the financial support for the events to become bigger, better and remain secure for the future in this era of Austerity.

Please though dont penalise the youngest riders and take away from them their own chance for success and enthusiasm for competition, you wouldn’t enter a ballerina in a boxing match, why a 5year old against a 11yr old?

Sorry if i've offended any of the organisers and volunteers helping with the kids event yesterday, it was superbly run and a truly great race, it was just the end results I didn't agree with.

Many thanks

Andrew Abbess said...

The Scottish Cycling Annual General Meeting will take place on 24th November 2012, commencing at 10.00hr. The venue will be confirmed in due course.

A motion has been submitted and proposes an amendment to rule 18.8.1

The SCU shall recognise National Cyclo Cross Championships for both male & female in the following individual categories: Seniors, Juniors, Youth A, Youth B, Youth C, Youth D, Youth E , veterans over 40, over 50 and over 60.

It is important to celebrate the achievements of girls & women as well as celebrating the achievement of boys & men. This change will enable girls & women to receive the same recognition for their achievements as the male competitors. It also enables Scottish Cycling to abide by the spirit of the Scottish Cycling & British Cycling equity Policies.

One of Scottish Cycling key objectives is to increase opportunities for groups which they have already identified as under represented in membership and activities; these underrepresented groups include women & youths.

There will be a second motion proposed:

That during 2012 Scottish Cycling put in place an audit of all Scottish Cycling rules to ensure they meet Scottish Cycling's "equality policy" (perhaps a good project for a Sport Studies university student now that Scottish Cycling have reduced their staff numbers)

For this rule change & proposal to be passed the officials from clubs in Scotland (who are the people able to vote at the AGM) must know what thier members think. If you want Scottish Cycling championships to fairly recognise the efforts of Youth & women tell your club secretaries to vote for the motions.

These changes will only effect championship events and in non championship events individual race organisers will be able to decide how to recognise the achievements of youth & female competitors, however it will give guidance to race organisers of good practice when dealing with Youth and female riders achievements. At the moment individual race organisers seem to get little guidance from Scottish Cycling & British Cycling about how the SC/ BC equitiy policy should influence how organisers recognise the achievements of youth & female competitors.

Douglas F Shearer said...

Unknown == Dougie Shearer. Not entirely sure why it did not show my name correctly, but if you click the link it shows my Blogger profile.

> "However I do challenge one aspect of your post."

You didn't challenge anything in my post, you agreed with it.

> "robust challenge"

It certainly wasn't a robust challenge. Gentle self-centered whine perhaps.

> "grossly unfair and un just (sic) decision"

Please, be serious. This is a race for children we are discussion, not the World Championships where medals and Rainbow Jerseys are being handed out. A bit of perspective will go a long way.

Hopefully the points you raised will be solved to the satisfaction of all parties.

Good luck to the organisers of the next round.

Douglas F Shearer said...


Anonymous said...

"Be serious"...?

Without wishing to antagonise (or quietly whine), I'm pretty confident that anyone watching the facial expressions of the 80 kids racing on saturday would know EXACTLY what "serious" looks like!

Yellow Jersey winners have to start somewhere! lol


jac said...

The comment made at sign on regarding contacting Scottish Cycling was made because SCX have, over a the previous 3 or 4 years, asked Scottish Cycling to help provide more support for U12 racing so that the requests of parents and U12's can be more closely met.

SCX do not put on races and we, being a small association of volunteers, have very limited resource to help out. Also many race organisers have limited resource to put on additional races. When I talk of resources, I refer to man power and time rather than money.

Race organisers already struggle to get sufficient volunteers to meet the demands of race day as it is. This in itself puts many races at risk from a safety perspective. If race day is extended to incorporate more races, more riders and subsequently more results, this simply cannot be achieved with the current level of volunteering. It's already a significant challenge dealing with the 300+riders we see on race day.

SCX want to promote cyclocross to all ages and genders, but we, the race organisers and all other officials are severely restricted by a lack of volunteers. We have asked Scottish Cycling to support more on this, but they also have limited resources. Scottish Cycling, I'm sure, will echo our concerns around lack of volunteers.

So, cutting to the chase, if there's a real desire to extend race day, whether that's for seniors, youths or U12, then the only way for this to happen is for more volunteers to step up to the plate and reliably turn up at all events to help. This commitment must be reliable and not, as often happens, promised and then reneigned on. Otherwise, it simply isn't possible to increase the number of races.


Anonymous said...

In the interests of maintaining perspective here, I'm not sure anyone was looking for a seperate race... simply recognition for the younger kids within the greater "U12" age group race. It works for Juniors/ women/ vets... so why not U12/U10/U8? Especially when this was the format previously? :)


jac said...

As commented above, to expand on anything we're currently doing we need more volunteers.

In fact, to continue doing what we're doing we need more volunteers.

So a request to all who would like to see things changed would be to start volunteering to support race organisers and SCX. Once we have more volunteers, then perhaps we can look at changing things, but as things currently stand, we are very, very under resourced.


Mark Champion said...

We would be very happy to take the data from the chip timing and cut it to report the full range of categories for adults and children.

We did it for the Crit Champs :

Happy to investigate any missing data from Falkirk and ensure that we can roll up the results for the full series for everyone.

Once we have the right data fields it shouldn't be a big problem.

Fabulous race btw :)


Anonymous said...

As an aside, there was a real struggle with getting commissaires for this race and indeed all the events in the series, how about getting along and volunteering to attend the commissaires course this month organised by SC and helping to keep the events going?

Lindsay said...

I understand that as a small association, heavily reliant on volunteers that it is a struggle to guarantee sufficient volunteers for every race. As parents and participants we are very grateful for the volunteers continuing help and input into the races.

Since all of the under 12 children will still be racing (whether or not it is subdivided into their categories)it would surely not require any additional volunteers to work out placings according to race category? I would have thought that the main need for volunteers would be in marshaling the race? Subdivision would seem to be more of an administrative need than a man power need.

If it would be helpful to have extra marshals around the under 12s course, this could certainly be achieved by recruiting parents on the day. There is a president for this in the U12s cross country league where parents have been called upon on the day to volunteer as marshals. A request would be made for help over the PA system at sign on time, which parents duly responded to, donned the yellow bibs and took up their positions. Job done! It may be difficult to find people able and willing to commit to volunteering at every event, but I think there would be many parents that would be able and willing to provide assistance on the day.

Anonymous said...

Keith - whoever you are, I look forward to attending your race on next year's calendar - I'll bet it will be a right laugh!

crosser nut said...

This weekends race at Auchentoshan will cost the under 12s £5 to enter. This is explained by £2 to cover the timing chips, £2 towards every rider getting a water bottle and £1 to cover the hire of the school, portaloos and first aid cover.

Please pre enter to allow the organiser to get enough prizes for the children and not as happened yesterday that nearly 4 times the number who had pre entered turned up to participate.



Lindsay said...

oops.. I meant precedent for U 12s races not president of the U12s races!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Lindsay does that mean you are volunteering for under 12 duties as a counter

Stuart said...

Please note, the Tri Centre race at Fox Lake will be free for Under 12s and we will talk to Chris about categories within the kid's race - there will only be one race for them though due to time and staffing.
If anyone wants to complain about this they will be made to swim in the lake!
Thanks Stuart.

Anonymous said...

Yay! Thanks Stuart!

.....Backstroke or freestyle?



Keith said...

That's great Stuart,

Thanks to result uploaders for including age category data. I have drawn out lists of riders for each U12 Cat, using info from results sheet. The lists are posted in comments section, if you know of any errors post underneath and I will try to get an update done in a few days (to give time for more people to see results and do a single update rather than one for every wee change)


Anonymous said...

Thought you might have got them out the same night Keith along with every thing else that has to be done !

Anonymous said...

So Keith are your offspring feeling suddenly motivated after they we so crushed by not knowing where exactly they placed in their age group?

Or are you more pleased that you can say they were 3rd not 18th now?

blogger said...

Big thanks to the organizers for a great day, and as a supported of some kids racing its interesting to see this debate.

I'm sure any person who tried their hardest would appreciate knowing where they came amongst a fair peer group. Remember this is something that has been removed not something additional being requested. It would appear that the timing people can have this data included with one simple input at sign on and then extrapolated after the event. I wonder if any of these annonymous forum bashers ever competed at 5-6 years old, with 11 yr olds, or if they have tried to introduce their children (if indeed they have any) to a competitive sport...