Some info just came in that I'm not exactly thrilled about involving the spring 8 hour. Apparently the solo are now going to leave 5 minutes behind the team racers. Some may think wait this is a great idea and in some cases it does have a benefit for the slowest solo racers but here is the big problem. The fast guys, and I should be amongst the leaders of this group will catch the slowest of the team riders extremely quickly. This is where the problem starts.
A mass start is always a bit of a zoo, there are always people mixed into sections of that pack that shouldn't be there but usually the first hill or by mid way through the first lap paces are developed and the fastest riders are at the front, mid paced riders are in the middle and the slowest riders are at the back. Pretty affective. As for solo's, well if they plan ahead and know there ability they place themselves in the start field accordingly.
So what is going to happen with this 5 minute behind start for us solo's, well the first thing is going to be trying to get past the slow riders in a nice polite way. The last time I did an event with this start by the top of the first hill we were catching people. Now the biggest problem is the gaps that can be made because of getting caught behind a slower rider while someone got by. We can't be pushy but it's nothing to gain minutes in the first lap. Most of the riders that will be at the back of the pack are nervous newer riders to begin with and the last thing they want is to have a train of riders come riping in behind them at full speed full of energy.
This is almost mean to the slower riders because they are out to have fun and in some cases this could be their first ever race and they feel they have worked hard to be fit enough to even enter a team and then they are run down by some skinny pumped up racer.
An option to start in a split start would be great, most of the solo's would prefer to start in the mass start since many of us are capable to doing as many laps as the teams. These leads to open trails for the first few laps and then as the lapped traffic begins it's been stretched out over the lap instead of a cluster of riders.
My thoughts would the numbers. With maybe 100 solo's total and 600-700 team racers that usually has 200-300 riders at the start. Having everyone starting together and most riders are self aware of their abilities there will be only a small percentage of passing from riders starting at the back of the pack. Now having us coming 5 minutes back means at least 20 of those riders going at warp speed and another 60 of those riders going just about as fast starting to catch the 250 riders that left ahead. Not many riders just randomly say "Hey I'm going to ride my bike for 8 hours" with out some riding skill.
I know I'm just whining but I just feel this is a bad idea.