Frequently Asked Questions
1. Can Greenbelt Park races be counted for upgrades?
Greenbelt Park races may be counted for upgrade from Senior Men Cat. 5 to Cat. 4.
In general, no other upgrade application should include Greenbelt Park results. Exceptions for extenuating circumstances are possible, but these are at the discretion of the MABRA Upgrade Coordinator. For a thorough exposition of the Upgrade Coordinator's philosophy, see the following discussion at the MABRA website: www.mabra.org/greenbelt-faq.html Qualifying distances and field sizes may be found in the USA Cycling Road Rulebook; Greenbelt Park is a circuit race.
2. Can I use my leftover voucher from last year?
Yes. Unused single race vouchers and 4 Race BikeReg passes with unused punches may be redeemed the following season. Unclaimed 4 Race passes are retained by the Promoter and may be picked up at your first race next year. The Season Pass is presented as a package of 4 Race passes and works the same way as a 4 Race pass.
3. Can my buddy race on my BikeReg voucher, even though it has my name on it?
Yes. All Greenbelt Park vouchers are transferable at your discretion and will be honored by the Promoter. It is a good idea to contact the Promoter in advance and advise him/her of the transfer.
4. How does the Season Pass work? What's the advantage in buying one?
For Season Pass buyers, the Promoter prints 4 vouchers with your name, license #, and team on them. Each card has 4 places to punch a hole when you enter a race. One of the cards will have 2 of the holes pre-punched, since the Season Pass is defined as 14 races when bought the first week. [The number of races in the package decreases by 1 each week.]
The vouchers are kept in a file at the registration table. When you come out for your first race, registration staff will pull from the file the card that is pre-punched, punch a 3rd hole, and give it to you to keep. The next time you come out, you present the card, staff tears the voucher in half, tosses it in the recycling, and gives you a fresh card with no punches taken. You bring that with you the following week, and so on. If you prefer, we are happy to give you all of your vouchers at once; however, most people prefer to have us keep up with them.
The Season Pass has several advantages when compared to the 4 Race Pass on BikeReg or day-of purchase behind T.G.I. Friday's. First and foremost is the cost savings: an A/B Season Pass bought the first week is about $2.25 cheaper per race when compared to the 4 Race Pass, not counting the BikeReg service charge. [The pro-rated service charge per race is also lower.] Compared to day-of purchase, the A/B Season Pass is almost $5 cheaper per race.
Another advantage of the Season Pass is convenience: a single online purchase takes care of all your Greenbelt Park costs for the season, and your voucher will be ready for you to pick up when you come to the Park. Compare this to 4 separate 4 Race Pass purchases or 14 trips across the street to T.G.I. Friday's when you may already be running late due to a traffic jam.
A third advantage is preferential treatment at registration. Our policy is to reserve space in the start list to accommodate all Season Pass holders until 10 minutes before the scheduled start time. This is a commitment we make to you in recognition of the commitment you have made to us by purchasing the Season Pass.
If you are in the C race, we will hold a spot for you until 5:50; if you are in the A or B race, we will hold a spot for you until about 6:35. After these times, any spots unclaimed by Season Pass holders will become available to 4-Race and day-of buyers.
5. I can't get to T.G.I. Friday's by 6:10PM to buy a voucher. Can I just pay you when I get there?
Unfortunately, no. We cannot sell vouchers in the Park, because we don't have a concessionaire's permit with the National Park Service. If you have a buddy who is racing, try to arrange to have them buy an extra voucher for you at T.G.I. Friday's, or to let you race on their BikeReg pass.
If you consistently have trouble getting to Greenbelt by 6:10PM, online voucher sales at BikeReg are the way to go (see Registration page). BikeReg pricing is discounted relative to day-of sales, and buying on BikeReg allows you to skip the stop at T.G.I. Friday's; you can just show up at the Park as late as 6:30PM and still get into the race.
6. I bought a racing license at usacycling.org, but it hasn't come in the mail yet. What should I do?
Go back to usacycling.org and print the 'Authorization to Ride' form. Bring this with you to the Park. It will help us process your entry faster.
7. I came out to the Park last night, but the gate was locked. What happened? How can I find out if the race is on or not?
By the terms of our permit with the Park, the race is subject to cancellation in the event of bad weather. There is some flexibility, but not a whole lot. Please see 'Contact Info' at the bottom of the Info page to learn how to find out the race status.
If the race status is 'on', that means the Promoter will be going to the Park as usual to start setting up, and that officials and other race staff will be in place at their normal appointed times. It is not a guarantee that the race will not be rained out -- you have to use your own judgment to decide whether to make the trip. However, if the likelihood of rain sufficient to result in stopping the race seems strong enough at the time when a decision needs to be made, then we will cancel early so that you don't have to fight rush hour traffic getting out to the Park only to be told 'no race'.
8. It's a long drive for me to get to Greenbelt. Can you post the race on/off status earlier than 4PM?
The time at which the on/off decision is actually made depends on the current weather conditions and how confident the Promoter is in the forecast for race time. The 4PM time quoted in the flyer and on this website is the guaranteed time by which the decision will be made. Depending on conditions, on some days it is quite possible that the decision can be made earlier; however, that cannot be guaranteed. Your only option is to monitor the contact sources listed in the flyer and on the website and hope for the best.
The guaranteed time of the announcement is set at 4PM for several reasons. First, it happens fairly often that the forecast will shift after 3PM from unfavorable to favorable and the race can take place as scheduled. Second, for the majority of Greenbelt Park racers an announcement by 4PM is early enough to save them from making an unnecessary trip, or conversely to make the trip and get to Greenbelt in time if the decision is favorable. Lastly, 4PM is our cutoff time with the Park in order to avoid having to pay the use fee for a race date.
9. I got to the Park at 5:50 and they wouldn't let me drive up to the parking lot. Why do you do that?
The course is open to motor vehicle traffic during the races, but using an altered traffic pattern. In order to establish the altered pattern it is necessary to completely clear the course of motor vehicles. We begin this operation at approximately 5:45PM, and it must be completed before we can start the C race at 6PM. Unfortunately your only options to avoid being held up at the main entrance are to arrive either before 5:45PM or after 6PM.
10. Why can't I register online on race day?
Completion of the online registration process involves some computer work on the part of the Promoter, in order to print the 4 Race or Season pass that you buy online. It is not feasible to perform this task on race day, so it is done the night before. In order to guarantee that a pass is printed for every rider who paid for one, it is necessary to stop selling passes before starting this task; therefore online registration needs to be closed. If you miss the 6PM Tuesday closing of online registration you will need to visit our on-site salesperson; see the Registration page for details.
11. Why can't I buy a 4-Race Pass at T.G.I. Friday's?
Discounted pricing for the 4-Race Pass is available only at BikeReg. The purpose is to offer incentive to riders to register online, in the form of both cost and time savings -- buying online saves you the trip across the street to T.G.I. Friday's each week, which is an extra 10 minutes under the most favorable conditions. While we will always offer day-of sales, the processing of online entries is faster and easier both for us and for you, so the pricing structure is intended to nudge you toward online purchase. The Season Pass offered on BikeReg provides additional savings and advantages -- see question 4.
12. Why can't I enter the C race as warmup for the B or A race?
The C race serves an important function in MABRA as a low-key, fun, weekly racing experience for riders new to the sport. If we allowed stronger, more experienced riders to enter the race, the speed would go up and new racers would be dropped very quickly. Thus we would be undercutting the primary reason for the existence of a novice race. We consider this function crucial enough that we even have a rule that requires C riders who improve to the point where they are consistently dominating the race to move up to the B's; this is called the "anti-sandbagging clause."
13. Why do I have to turn in my bib number after the race?
There are multiple reasons for this. Re-issuing numbers each week guarantees that we have a sequentially numbered start list, which makes our officials' job easier. We reuse the numbers to save on expenses, but also because we can afford to use custom printed numbers this way. The color backgrounds make it easier for the officials to distinguish A's from B's, so it improves their scoring accuracy. Since we post results with names as well as numbers, you don't need to know your number to see where you finished. Lastly, it's less wasteful, and therefore more environmentally conscious: in most cases numbers have at least 3 or 4 races in them before they start to look bad.
14. Why don't the officials use a video camera to score the race?
While acknowledging that the use of a video camera might help the officials score the finish more deeply, the consensus among Promoter, officials, and MABRA staff is that video is an unwarranted expense and complication for a training race. In particular, since the race cannot be applied toward an upgrade beyond Senior Men 4, no upgrade points are on the line. The use of a video camera would therefore serve only to heighten riders' expectations of the scoring to unrealistic levels that are not commensurate with the nature of the race, and for this reason we rely solely on our officials' eyes and experience. Your focus in a training race should be more on the training benefit you derive from it than on the results.
15. I was scored incorrectly, or not at all, in last night's race. Is there anything that can be done about it?
USA Cycling Road rules provide for a 15-minute protest period after results are posted at the race. We can make the occasional exception and try to resolve your issue in an email exchange with the evening's officials, but if you care about being scored correctly you will need to get in the habit of sticking around after your race long enough to look at the results sheet and resolving any issues with the officials before they leave the Park.
Your payment of the entry fee for a bicycle race does not constitute an implied contract or guarantee that you will be scored. Our USA Cycling certified officials are highly trained and experienced, and they score the race as deeply as they can, but they can't always get everybody.
You can also improve your chances of being scored correctly by doing two things: pinning on your bib number so that the officials can read it, and not sitting up as you cross the line. The following link will take you to an instructional and very funny series of photographs that show why these are important: http://westernpaofficials.webs.com/badnumberpinning.htm
16. I was not scored in last night's race. I need to get credit for 10 mass start races in order to upgrade from Cat. 5 to Cat. 4. Is there anything that can be done about it?
USA Cycling does not provide a verfiable means of giving "credit" for starting a race as they do not support the upload of start lists, only results. Per USA Cycling Road rules:
"1D2. Road Upgrades (a) Guidelines and Notes by Category: 5-4: Finish 10 massed-start races."
A rider must be scored in order for the race to count toward an upgrade application. If you were not scored and wish to be, you must lodge a protest with the evening's officials within 15 minutes of the results being posted at the Park; see question 15, above. Note that the officials retain a listing of riders whom they pulled from the race as well as another listing of riders who elected not to finish; while we do not upload results for pulled riders, this does count as a finish and the officials will be happy to verify your participation with the MABRA Upgrade Coordinator should any questions arise. Riders who retire from the race early (i.e. DNF's) may not count the evening's racing toward their upgrade application.
17. I placed 2nd in the results posted at last night's race, but I'm listed as 3rd place in the results posted online. How did that happen?
The short answer is that there was a successful protest lodged sometime after you looked at the results, and you were not present when the final results were posted.
Every rider in the race is allowed to protest the results, not only you. Thus, a corollary of the 15-minute protest rule is that even if you agree with the scoring, you still need to hang around for the full 15 minutes to see if anybody else lodges a protest that affects your placing.
If there is a protest, the 15-minute "egg timer" is reset and a new protest period opened for 15 minutes after the most recently posted results. This process is repeated as many times as it takes until results are posted and 15 minutes pass without a protest; only then are the results considered final. The results posted online are the final results posted at the race.
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