USAC/UCI Rules

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I think it is strange what rules that the UCI and USAC decide to try to implement and what rules they enforce. I’m one of those guys that think that the riders should enforce the rules. But, a lot of the rules that are currently on the books aren’t being enforced and there are proposed rules and current rules that have no place in the sport.

I’m bringing this up because of the USAC board meeting last weekend that had two proposals to look at that seemed really not thought out. I’m talking about the proposed ban of the helmet cam and the proposed rules concerning juniors riding tubular tires and carbon wheels.

I sent emails to most of the board members I know to voice my disagreement with both of the proposals. Neither of the proposals were well thought out.

The helmet cam rule also applied to anything strapped to a helmet. So, goodbye 24 hour racing that requires helmet lights. Goodbye Professional and Pro want-ta-bees that put their sunglasses up on/in their helmets. That would be banned too. I have not heard of a case where a helmet cam or light caused injury because it compromised the integrity of a helmet. Maybe there is a case out there. I don’t know. But, there are a ton of people riding at night with lights, crashing. They would be crashing way more without their lights.

And the junior thing. Dumb. I just got back from riding a ton in Colorado and then the canyons of the Santa Monica Mts. I hate riding clincher tires in those situations. When you flat a tubular tire, you are still riding on rubber. I’ve ridden a tubular tire a couple hours without even ruining the rim. I rode with Eric Heiden for over an hour in the Coor’s Classic during the Boulder Mt. Road Race. I was having a pretty bad day, obviously, but Eric was doing just fine riding on a front flat. When you flat a clincher tire, you go straight to the rim. Descending on a road bike isn’t possible on a flat front clincher. Riding on the rim isn’t really possible. But, falling is. If I trained in the mountains alot, I would exclusively ride sewups. I would not like to start a criterium on clincher wheels. Tubular tires are just that much safer. In cross, it is way more important if you flat and want to keep riding. Tim Johnson lost the cross nationals in Baltimore mainly because he flatted a clincher and lost so much time getting to the pit.

And, not allowing juniors to ride carbon wheels? Dumb again. I remember way back when everyone started riding carbon wheels in cross. I thought, how dumb. Ruining a good set of carbon wheels in the mud when the areo dynamics are nearly meaningless. But, I soon realized that it is nearly impossible to dent a carbon rim with the low tire pressure everyone is riding. So, a good set of carbon wheels might actually cost less to a junior compared to denting up a bunch of aluminum wheels. I haven’t put a ding in a wheel in years. A good set of used carbon wheels isn’t that much more expensive that the comparable aluminum wheels. And believe me, there are a ton of juniors that will go out and buy the 1000 gram aluminum wheels that cost way more anyway. So, no one is evening the playing field because of cost.

If they are trying to lower the cost for juniors, let’s make them get rid of the $$$$$ carbon frames that explode every time they even think of crashing. Or lets not charge our young riders out the ass every race they enter. Let’s make the entry fee for junior $10 at any event. I’d happily pay a couple dollars extra every race to supplement our young rider’s development. There are lots of ways to make this expensive sport more affordable for all the riders, but limiting important equipment makes zero sense.

So, we’re trying to make more and more rules to govern a sport that doesn’t need that many more rules. This sport has been around for more than a century. I don’t get why we’re always making more and more rules. We need to enforce some of the rules we have. One that nearly ever being enforced is the “taking the hands off the bars” rule. Or, engaging another rider physically rule. This is happening every race I race and not one time has a rider been penalized in a race I’ve done.

We’re too busy putting tire gauges on our cross tires to make sure the tire width isn’t 1 mm too wide. We’ve made virtually all clincher cross tires illegal in UCI races. Obviously from above, I think that sewups have distinct advantages over clinchers in most situations. But, there are places and situations that they work well. I’ve measured a bunch of Hutchinson tires, plus Michelin Mud2’s that have 30mm printed on the sidewall. They are not under the new UCI, 33mm in width rule. So, sealing up the best clincher cross tires at UCI races isn’t really an option anymore. Talk about adding cost to the sport of cycling. Let’s make everyone go out and buy nice expensive tubular cyclocross tires that pinch flat every few races. Including juniors.

BTW-Neither of the proposals passed.

The new UCI tire measurement tool-great!

Let's restrict the pushes to friendly ones.

10 thoughts on “USAC/UCI Rules

  1. WildCat

    The reason for this is plain for me to see. They make those handy little tire measurement tools, then officials feel like since they have to tool they need to use it. Why? Because it’s easy, it makes them seem important, and it takes no actual thinking on their part. Either the tire fits or not. And the reason “hands off the bars”, pushes, and other physical engagment between riders are not called more is because this would require officials to be 100% focused on everything in the race AND stick their neck out to make the call. THEN, after the race, deal with 25 different cyclist’s 25 different stories about what “actually” happened.

     
  2. H Luce

    The way to deal with the “25 different stories” is to have the officials run video, just like Sheriffs and Highway Patrol officers here in Kansas. There’s no room for ambiguity with a video, it’s pretty open and shut.

     
  3. ethan

    ….and the enforcement of making juniors race junior gears in Cat races was based on, in part, speed comparisons of the junior l’abitibi race to the Joe Martin Pro race. The USA Cycling Einstein’s saw the speeds were comparable.
    I guess they forgot to compare course profiles and the distance of the events. The rules often seem to be governed and transacted by silly people.

    L’abitibi = dead flat and short
    Joe Martin = up and down and long

     
  4. CK

    Juniors under 16…aluminum frame (i.e. cheap redline or whatever), neuvation wheels or something similarly inexpensive and sram apex. Bike for just over 1000. Its not like the kids are actually buying the stuff anyways…the parents who think their kid will be the next Nys or at least buy them enough stuff so they can snag a 10-12 age group championship. That 2000 bucks could do a lot more than buying a wheel set the kid will use sparingly, if they even stay in the sport.

     
  5. dirty_juheesus!

    Steve,

    I think the idea of discouraging carbon wheels was good, but in practice, maybe poorly written. I’d be interested to hear what you think about rules like it that lower the costs of starting/participating in cycling.

    WildCat,
    I’d argue the USCF doesn’t provide enough political cover for their officials so they can actually enforce useful rules. Focusing on the daily politics of officiating is, in fact, what they should be doing as a sanctioning body. Officiating would distract them from their holy pursuit of Lance Armstrong II.

    Ethan,
    The point of keeping Juniors on smaller gears is to force them to develop an efficient style and still allow their bodies to develop into healthy adults. Look at gymnastics for a buffet of preventable chronic conditions that those athletes will have their entire lives. e.x. Arthritis and other chronic joint conditions.

    As long as USAC isn’t doping the kids anymore (see Chris Carmichal and Rene Wenzel) smaller gears will allow the kids to transition to a common adult life without chronic health conditions.

     
  6. dirty_juheesus!

    Steve,

    I was thinking of something along the lines of a relatively high minimum weights for wheels and then for the whole bike.

    The point being, it discourages the “arms race” aspect of bike racing.

     
  7. WildCat

    TO: dirty_juheesus!

    I agree with your statements, although, it kind of sounds like your “argument” was more or less in agreement with what I said. Wait. Now I’m confused. I’ll just say this. The audio they give you for that new CAPTCHA below is really trippy man! I like it!

     
  8. weston flickinger

    i agree 100% with the above article, im a junior rider, dont have carbon wheels or tubulars but i am saving for them besides when a junior with a crappy setup beats a richy with a 12 grand bike it gives them some hope!

     

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