Yesterday, it was printed in lots of places the proposed start and call-up procedures for the Master’s World Cyclo-X Championships in Louisville this winter. I’m still smarting from my fiasco in Belgium in January, so the subject is probably a bit closer to home for me than some of you. But, that being said, I think that it is an insult to Master riders throughout the World to say that a random start order is fair.
The random start order is going to be used only if the field size is less than 80 riders. If it is more than 80 riders, then they are going to run a qualification race. I pray for more than 80 guys in my race in Louisville this winter. I doubt any of the women’s fields will have that number, so they are going to get jacked in the process, no matter what.
Here’s a quote at Cxmagazine.com from Philipe Marien. I’m not sure if Phillipe has no respect for Masters riders or is just ignorant, but here it is-
L W: This past year the promoters for our nationals used a time trial to seed riders for the starting grid. Have you had problems / complaints in the past with the way you’ve seeded riders at your event? Do you have any thoughts on other approaches to seeding riders? Should it simple be a lottery system?
Phillipe Marien: We always have used the lottery system, this is the fairest way to draw the starting order. In this particular category it is very difficult to gather an official national team or to check who is national champion or not. Each year there were some complaints from riders but that’s normal.
So, he says that the fairest way to make the starting grid is to randomly pick it. And that the UCI has no method to check to see who is a National Champion. Both these statements are so stupid that he shouldn’t be involved in the processs, ATMO.
In cyclocross, the start is so important. That is a given. The start order in the Master’s division is more important, if anything. There is so much diversity in ability levels that the race is chaos already. Throughout the year, Pro/Elite riders travel throughout the world collecting points that make their starting positions better. It happens here in the United States for the starting position at the National Championships and every UCI race, including the World Championships, the start is decided by points you’ve gathered throughout the season. But, according to Phillipe, this isn’t fair? He says the fairest way is to “randomly pick it”. Bullshit.
The problem here is that this group of consultants/promoters/cyclo-x “experts” have no respect for Masters. So, they put no thought process into the issue. Show me another Cyclo-X Championship that is lined up in this radom order. The reason for the random order is because the Worlds in Belgium was a local event. You couldn’t even pre-register. So, let’s leave the status the same because the last promoter was lazy?
I understand that it is very difficult to rank Master riders on a worldwide basis. But, it is important to make an effort to do so. Here’s some of the things they need to do.
A certain number of riders need to have preferred call up positions. The top riders from the previous years World Championships for one. You pick the number. I don’t know how we can attract any of the best riders from Europe to travel to the US for this event without throwing the riders that competed last year a bone. I talked to quite a few guys in Mol last year and not one said they would come to the US to race.
Current National Champions too. There won’t be that many and anyone that goes to the trouble to win their Nationals and then travel to the US to race the World Championships, isn’t a bad rider and deserves a call-up.
Then a time trial to seed riders, like we did in Bend last year. This isn’t perfect, but it will at least get riders close to where they need to start. But, that takes effort. A qualifying race is just dumb. There are way too many things that can go wrong in a qualifying race. If you have a problem during that race, they are saying you’ll get to race again to get back in through a Consolation race. And line up at the very back of the Worlds once again. Wrong again.
Kevin Hines was lined up at the back of our race in Belgium. The very back. I was only 1/2 way back. Kevin barely made it to the top ten and he was going good. He’d finished 2nd to me at Nationals and 2nd at the Worlds the year before in Mol. And had to start at the very back of the race the next year? Stupid. Insulting. Amateur.
If the US is going to promote this event, then they can’t let important issues like this go unaddressed. And, if they address them, they can’t come up with solutions that aren’t solutions at all. It is an insult to all of us.