New Women's Open Racing Category

The numbers of women racing at WORS are among the largest in the nation and WORS continues to strongly support women's participation and competition at every level. We're pleased to offer a new competitive category in 2012 - Women's Open. Women's Open is a category specifically created to:
  1. Address the needs of the female racer who may find herself "in-between" existing categories.
  2. Encourage women who are competitive in Sport to try racing in the Expert field without the necessity of an immediate and permanent upgrade to a Cat 1 license.
  3. Retain female racers who have expert-level technical skills but reduced training time.
  4. Continue to grow the competition for our highest level of Elite women, and Cat 1 Juniors.
Women's Open will line-up behind, and start with, the existing WORS BelGioioso Elite and Cat 1 Junior women. The Women's Open field will race on the same course as the Expert race, but Open racers will complete a shorter distance. For example:
  • At the Iola Bump & Jump, Elite Women will complete 4 laps. Open and Cat 1 Junior Women will complete 3 laps.
  • At the Crystal Lake Classic, Elite Women will complete 3 laps. Open and Cat 1 Junior Women will complete 2 laps of the Expert Course.
  • A complete list of Expert Open laps by event will be published after Iola's race, based on racer feedback.
Who should race Open?
  • Racers who are able to keep pace with the Elite Women's field for a shorter distance, but may not have the fitness for an additional lap.
  • Racers considering moving from Cat 2 to Cat 1.
  • Cat 1 racers with unanticipated or unavoidable decrease in training volume or fitness.
  • Racers wishing to participate in the Women's Open field must hold a Cat 1 or Cat 2 license.
Who should not race Open?
  • Beginning racers.
  • Racers without the ability to keep pace with the Elite Women's field for the shorter distance. Racers who are regularly caught by the leading Expert men despite the shorter race distance should race in the Cat 2 Sport field.
Based on feedback from those who plan to compete in this category, as well as those who currently race in the Elite Women's field, WORS believes the new Open field will bring several important benefits to women's competition at WORS:
  • Larger field sizes. The primary goals of the Expert Open field is to grow the competition for all women. By allowing highly-competitive Cat 2 women to race with the Expert field, we believe both the Expert field and the Sport races will become more competitive and appropriate to their intended level of competition for female participants.
  • More competitive racing among women. In addition to a larger field size, we believe the shorter distance of the Expert Open category will enhance competition for all Expert Women. By reducing the distance requirement for Open racers, we anticipate that a larger, faster field of women will leave the Expert Start line and race together for the opening laps.
  • Greater retention of women racers. Because of the large "gap" between Pro / Cat 1 competition and Cat 2 Sport competition, some women who have successfully raced at a Cat 1 level may not find an appropriate level of competition available if their ability to train outside of racing is reduced. We believe the Women's Open Category will provide an appropriate level of competition for those who have raced as a successful Cat 1, but cannot or no longer wish to compete and train at that level.
  • Better passing and less congestion in both Sport and Expert races. At this time, each of the most competitive female racers in the Cat 2 Sport field will pass over 100 male racers during every race. By allowing these women to race in the expert field, less passing will be required by all. In addition, the shorter duration of the Open Women's race should reduce traffic between the women's field and the leading Expert men in the final laps of the Elite races.
As always, WORS encourages those interested in participating in this racing category to contact us with any feedback or concerns.  At this time, we open this plan to public comment here.  We also encourage direct comments emailed to wors@wors.org and worswomen@gmail.com.  We invite all those interested in discussing the successes and challenges of the first Open Women’s race to meet at the WORS Registration tent after the Expert Race at Iola at 3:45 PM.  Because WORS is committed to understanding and meeting the needs of our racers, the format of the Open Women’s races may change based on feedback.

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