Guess it wasn’t all Hunky-Dory in Austin on Monday

This entry was posted in Comments about Cycling on by .

I didn’t get to see any of the junior races, on the Internet, Monday at Cyclocross Nationals, because I was on my bike riding over to Lawrence.  But, if this article is close to true, which I have no reason to doubt, then USA Cycling, completely dropped the ball, just when, I thought they did a pretty okay job of salvaging a pretty disastrous situation.

The article is about how that they really didn’t have enough time to run all the juniors events separately, so they decided to combine some categories.  Someone made a horrible decision and decided to combine the Junior 17-18 boys with the Junior 17-18 and 15-16 girls.  Plus, they started the girls categories back 1 and 2 minutes respectively.  All in all, 96 juniors, boys and girls, on the course at the same time.  That is close to double the size of the Elite men’s field.

Wow is about all I can say.  Obviously, it was “pulling carnage” for the officials.  And I really honestly think that many officials at cyclocross races concentrate on pulling riders more than just about anything else.

All the 15-16 girls were pulled.  11 out of 18 of them got pulled the first lap, the remainder on lap two.   The 17-18 girls faired better.  Only 70% of their field was pulled, with 5 actually finishing the race.

The two 15-16 year olds that were “racing” for 3rd, got pulled and were awarded 3rd and 4th without even knowing they were finished.  The winner was pulled.  It’s a joke.

There are a ton of programs throughout the country that are pretty much exclusively concentrating on attracting juniors into the sport of cyclocross.  It is really one of the best things about this resurgence of the sport here in the United States.  Our cyclocross is a participatory sport.  And it doesn’t work if we can’t convince young riders to try it.

And this is how we reward them.  We yank them off the course, at the National Championships, because they are getting lapped by riders that are 2 years older, plus male, after we docked them 2 minutes at the start.  I wonder who came up with that plan?   Whoever it was, should be fired.

Honestly, I really wonder what they were thinking?  It is obvious that all that were involved in the start order decision either, one, had never been to a cyclocross, or two, just didn’t give a shit about the junior girls.  Because the results were going to be obvious.  It seems like everyone is more concerned about pulling riders than having a fair competition.

Like it says in the article linked above

Note:  if you’re a USA Cycling representative or Austin 2015 representative, and want to add a comment, rebuttal, fact, or perspective to this discussion, feel free to email me at [email protected] and I’ll post it here verbatim. (Or just leave a comment in the comment section here.)  I fully accept that I wasn’t there and don’t know every issue that may have contributed to the decisions that were made.  There may be an explanation for these events that I am not aware of, and if so, I would love to hear it.

I found this stamp yesterday, laying around the house.  It is from the 1979 Cyclocross World Championships in Italy.

I found this stamp yesterday, laying around the house. It is from the 1979 Cyclocross World Championships in Italy.





63 thoughts on “Guess it wasn’t all Hunky-Dory in Austin on Monday

  1. Brad

    Give them their entry back at least, they paid to race and didn’t get to. Maybe the juniors get the prime time spot on Sunday next year? Why did they only have 5 hrs? It was no surprise on Monday morning that there were these remaining races on the schedule. This sort of stuff is why kids don’t race bikes. Other mainstream sports bend over backwards to cater to a kid who wants to participate. Even less mainstream ones like motocross, and kart racing make sure that kids run their race even if everybody waits 10 min for the last kid to finish.

    On another note, I don’t understand the racing cross in a city park thing. There has to be better locations for the inevitable damage to a facility that a large cross event brings. Mountain bikers tend to oblige the IMBA code of leaving no trace why does that go out the window with cross? Bikes are supposed to be good for the environment. I don’t know how long it will take a drought stricken park to recover in Austin, but I’m guessing longer than in the upper midwest or coastal areas.

  2. Jim Ochowicz

    But…but…but, the geezers all got their moment in 5 year increments for several days beforehand. Masters racing at the cost of the development of the sport, pure and simple. Who cares that they show up in droves and supposedly “pay” the bills for the event. Its the wrong direction for any sport to grow

    This is a tragedy, pure and simple – USAC gets and “F”. Given that Micah Rice is involved I don’t find it the least bit surprising, dude cut his teeth with Gene Dixon – the undisputed, all-time King of the cycling promoter scam for decades

  3. scott

    that’s the kind of decision making you get when you fail to pay the people at the top a living wage. no, wait a minute………..

  4. Robert

    Obviously, this was a case of bad planning and these girls didn’t get the race they deserved. But, I wonder, if the 15-16 girls Championship race was held on a day other than Sunday, would people complain about that too? That these girls deserve to have their Championship race on Sunday with the “big” races” and not on a weekday?

    It is ridiculous that we award National Championships in 5-year increments for masters. I get that it’s a money-maker, but totally dilutes the value of the Championship.

  5. Robert

    I agree, the condition of the park is a major black eye for cycling. What’s worse is that it’s the rider/racer that gets the black eye as they “caused” the damage, when the real responsibility lies with the promoter and Austin Parks for letting it happen. No more races like this in high-profile public parks.

  6. Bill K

    How any of these pulled” juniors will be back next year. How many will quit the sport?

    Who picked Austin in the first place?? Did anyone think to ask under what situation could the race be cancelled?…..Maybe they will in the future.

  7. Devin

    This isnt the first event held in zilker park.
    The grass recovers pretty well with some rest after these kinds of events.

    Its been said that the Tree-shield was raised by some major NIMBYs because they dont like having events in the park. I guess we’ll see what happens at the next event.

  8. x

    No more B, no more SS, Masters is 45+ with actual qualfiers. Give it to the kids and Elites.

    As stands, a 5(6) day circus. That has jumped the shark.

  9. Robert

    No one is going to quit the sport because of this. Let’s not get carried away. I’m sure parents are way more upset about this than the kids. Kids adapt and deal with things. Parents hire lawyers.

  10. Robert

    You can trash the park all you want (see Austin City Limits festival) as long as you pay the city enough money. It’s all for sale.

  11. Jandle

    The sad reality is that the actual starting numbers were much lower than the pre-reg numbers. The field sizes were greatly diminished by the postponement. The option of putting the girls with the younger boys would probably led to a much closer total field size to putting them with the older juniors and been a much more positive experience for the girls. I wish this was a unique problem for this event, but it happens constantly in junior races. 10 year olds are lumped with 17 year olds and have no prayer of keeping up. I have seen juniors on my team pulled after a single lap of a crit. When I expressed my displeasure, rider safety was cited even though there less than twenty kids on the course. The actual result is usually a confusing mess as one rider may be pulled while another behind is missed and continues. It totally sours the experience when frustrated kids refuse to pull out because they came to race and don’t understand why they can’t and parents freak out over time and money spent for 5 minutes of competition. The rules definitely need to allow some “common sense discretion” for the juniors.

  12. shadster

    Tragedy? Really? Get a grip. While this is an unfortunate situation, it’s not even close to tragic – let’s leave that term for earthquakes, war and famine.

  13. channel_zero

    Nope and nope. Those masters events are great money and USAC exists because some USACDF execs like getting paid.

    Steve Johnson got paid $300,000+ for “managing” USAC and USACDF. He’s not the only c-level guy earning 6 figures. I realize none of the USAC membership cares, but someone should ask how many of the c-level folks being paid 6-figure salaries actually show up for a day of work at the office.

    Of course, given the kinds of decisions the federation made before a single course marker was put down in Austin, no one should be surprised at the mismanagement and corruption at USACDF.

  14. channel_zero

    Thanks for posting this. I watched the live feed and new that sticking all those age groups together was a complete joke. What made matters far worse were the very difficult conditions for that first race.

    The federation could not even be bothered to let the other categories ride a full event. Which, tells you all you really need to know about the federation’s priorities. It looks like they had the scoring capability.

    The scoring was very timely with results, including laps times, being posted to twitter really quickly. So, while the federation completely failed, it seems like the actual events went off pretty well once the NIMBY’s were placated.

  15. channel_zero


    Actually, the fault lies with USAC. Choosing a new promoter, and new site to run a national championships was a terrible decision. There should have been a C1, maybe lower, race at the venue either a year before, or this season. They are all set to repeat their mistakes!

    Being completely fair, the promoters seem to operate the event pretty well outside of the NIMBY’s issue. The course seemed very good.

    But, the NIMBY-thing is exactly why the federation should have run a high-ranking event at the location before the championships. You can’t plan for every problem.

  16. channel_zero

    Events outside USAC operate without pulling riders and a good time can be had for the laps/time/distance promised.

    Yet a participant is supposed to be okay with paying USAC promoters for a promised distance/laps/time and not delivering. (being pulled) Another example of their terrible event product and total indifference to the grassroots level of the sport.

  17. Brad

    Other sports use transponders, and then just bury the cost in entry fees. I’m sure that is affordable at an event like a national championships. Sometimes you pay $30 for the use, and then get $10 back when its returned. With modern scoring there would be no need for pulling riders. If I were investing the time, training, and dollars to attend a national championship $30 isn’t going to turn me off if I’m guaranteed the full experience.

  18. Anti-Shadster

    Shadster, it’s you who needs to get a grip and to try to comprehend what people are writing. Must be above your pay grade to understand others who write their opinions in response to a cycling-specific story on cycling-specific blog. When they are referring to something as being tragic, or as being a tragedy, they are obviously using the term or terms in the context of the subject and in the context of the story. In that sense, the terms tragic and tragedy are 100% correct.

    Get a grip, dude.

  19. Lonnie

    People aren’t pulled because of confusing scoring. They’re pulled so that they do not affect the leaders of the race. Transponders don’t help, running like categories (ie. not male/female together) does.

  20. Wildcat

    I’ve posted this before, but I’m going to do it again. How many people here have officiated a large USAC race? I can’t speak as to what decisions were the correct ones or incorrect ones to make. However, I can tell you that officiating bicycle races is never easy. Although, when it comes to juniors – pulling them from any race (especially the National Championships) is a bullshit move. Officials always reserve the right to push back start times. Had I been there I would have let the juniors run for as long as it took. I would like to think even the most high-strung diva of a racer would be fine waiting for the juniors to finish. I sure hope when Tilly finally retires – he becomes an official.

  21. Thomas Prehn

    It’s not like the age graded racers really had anything to do with why the Sunday race schedule was screwed up. What happened was weather! Shock!

    There are serious problems with how USA Cycling now works with promoters and cities/towns on the National Championship events. I can’t say for certain but… I suspect there will never be another National Championship CX in Boulder and we even have Valmont Park designed for just such an event… or Austin unless the entire process changes.

    I cross my fingers and hope USA Cycling gets it figured out before they do the next awarding of events.
    (check out my first lap and finish video on vimeo!)

  22. Thomas Prehn

    I disagree for two reasons.
    1. This would be double the clean up costs for the promoters who …at this point because of the way USAC has structured the events, makes it practically impossible for a local promoter to make any money.

    2. It saps the interest of all those age graded riders who make the event possible if they are racing on some dirt crit and the pro’s get to race on the real course.

    Besides…doing this would not have solved any problems.


    There is always a lot to pick apart after something like this happens.
    Add to the ‘lesson learned’ list…
    1. NEVER host a championship event on an UNPROVEN venue. No matter how many talks may have happened the community understands (and embraces) music festivals and most do not understand cyclocross because it doesn’t happen there (at the park) every year and a chance to really embrace the community has a huge chance for opposition. A revered City park has its lovers and bicycles often not the top of the list. Cyclocross IS IMPACTFUL… especially racing in the thousands and in this case with rain will brings out the worst fears within the local community of what these ‘outsiders’ are doing to ‘our’ park. We are not Belgium or the Netherlands (or Boulder or Bend communities that embraced the sport as a hotbeg) obvious by the lack of spectators outside the box of enthusiasts family and friends from hitting these growing but not yet hotbeds of cross will have less supporters.
    2. Rethink the schedule to keep the momentum. CX Nats needs to be one weekend for all categories. We are team, region and family based in a short season so we need to commit to one weekend to stick together to support each other and we are our best fans too! Eliminate all non-championship races so there is room to breathe and make Wednesday a full day of championship category racing. Hosting all the masters races (the heart of the sport) BEFORE the weekend took a lot of the air of sail for the weekend regardless of the Great Austin Park Debacle. Put some of the larger masters races back into the weekend. Forcing riders to chose elite or masters made for less competitors and less spectators of family and friends who also went home when their riders did too. Just an idea… if USAC is going to continue to separate Masters and Elites for championships perhaps split the UCI Women, Men, U23 and Junior Men over the weekend so there are two prime windows to watch our best racers and blend the days to keep up the vibe!
    3. There is lots of other things so a POST EVENT SURVEY with the CX racers MUST be done, made public and real actions considered into moving forward. ACTION not just ‘oh well lesson learned’ must come from this. Everyone has their two cents and these are valid but the racers and those invested outside of USAC must be heard and lessons learned action must come from this and be implemented. Don’t let the passion and words get lost in these discussion pages. WE the participants and organizers must be heard and not just lost in the social-media-shpere.’ Real change must happen!!!

  24. Dan Lind

    It’s time for the Elite racers to start standing up for the rightful treatment of the Junior (and Female) riders. Maybe Powers, Page, Trebon, Compton, et al should have marched into the Chief Commissaire tent and said “Fuck this. It’s the National Championships. You figure out how to let those kids have a complete and fair competition.” Without the racers, there is no race. Without junior racers, there’s no next generation of race participants. Promoters and our governing body should start remembering that. Taken from the USA Cycling website: “The mission of USA Cycling is to achieve sustained success in international cycling competition and grow competitive cycling in America while delivering an exceptional customer experience.” How well did you fulfill your mission for these young ladies, USAC? #majorfail

  25. Jon Holcomb

    Perhaps the time is here for CX in the US to create it’s own governing body. USAC just send to be getting worse as they try to do more …

  26. Bolas Azules

    You have to love the USAC logic. Hey women have been belly-aching for years that their racing is just as competitive as the men and how they need the same sponsorship / support & prize money as the men so hey, why not put boys with girls and make it easy for everyone.

    Truth be told a top flight woman racer would have a difficult time competing with a marginal boys junior rider. A quality 14 year old boy can take 95% of woman riders to the woodshed. And this has not changed for a couple generations. So everyone has seen it, everyone knows it ….so how do the experienced experts of USAC not get this?

    Time for a “Do Over” and how was that USAC press conference to tell the City of Austin the competitive cycling community is done with them?

    And oh, how are those trees doing?

  27. Mike

    The Biltmore is private property, so the dynamics are pretty darn different. I would agree, however, that they’d better be laying the course out and talking to the property owners about course routing so that it does not create a negative environmental impact- they are actually pretty sensitive about that, except in regards to developing their off-estate property holdings for profit (I live in Asheville, it’s a complicated dynamic).

  28. Neil

    Do you understand how financially viable CX races are promoted? Full entry fee paying Masters fund the events. The more categories, the more masters. Unless you want to subsidize junior racing?

  29. Jim

    Fortunately, NCCX had a weekend of racing at Biltmore last January, and is doing so again this coming weekend. The promoters of the race are the NCCX organizers, and are also the ones who put on the NC Grand Prix UCI race in Hendersonville. They’ve had years of experience putting on races, as well as correcting the damage after muddy weekends, which has been significant in Hendersonville. The NCGP is in a municipal park, so they know how to work with others to keep them happy with a potentially destructive race. Even though Austin set the bar low, I feel like the 2016 nationals will be a great event that has been well-prepared for.

  30. Steve B

    Prior to the weekend, there was an outcry that the junior mens races were to be shown live on while the earlier scheduled junior women’s races were not. After the reschedule, but before the race, the race combination was viewed as good news by most as the junior women would finally get some much appreciated coverage. Given all the rescheduling stress that happened the day prior to these juniors, combined with the excitement of getting covered on BTB, the decision by USAC Race officials to strictly enforce rules to pull juniors, was inexcusable.

    Seriously, where were the grownups?

  31. Sean YD

    At least one reader of Steve’s blog has officiated major national-level events: me.

    I was a judge at the national cyclocross championships in Bend and again in Madison. As a (former) USA Cycling official, I never enjoyed pulling riders (cyclocross, criteriums, etc.) in any race. But if you want to preserve the integrity of the race for the competitors – and this is a national championship, not a beginning-level race – then you have to keep the playing field level for the podium placers.

    From experience, I can tell you parents of podium placers – or near-podium placers – are the first ones to get in your face if their son or daughter was impeded by a slower (lapped) rider on the course. They’ll be the first to tell you what I outlined above: that you are sacrificing the fairness of the race to accommodate the slowest (non-competitive) riders.

    I would pose this question to Steve (since it is his blog): In a national championship men’s elite race, would you want to have to negotiate your way around slower (lapped) traffic if you were in contention for a podium place?

  32. Dan Lind

    Sean YD, I’m not sure you’ll find a single person to disagree with what you’re stating regarding the lapped rider rule. It’s there for a reason. It makes sense.

    The beef is that had USAC made better decisions regarding how the Junior races were started (which should have been separately as originally scheduled) then a good majority of the Junior girls would have had the opportunity to complete their race and know that they may have been contesting for a national championship podium spot rather than being pulled after the first lap or second lap after being lapped by the the older and stronger Junior boys.

    It’s just insulting to be given a national championship medal based on how long they were on the course before being pulled instead of the order in which they sprint across the finish line. Junior racers (and specifically the Junior girls in this case) deserve better than that.

  33. channel_zero

    Already done!

    Now they need some promoters willing to tell USAC to go pound sand. This is the biggest challenge.

    As a monopoly, USAC is permitted to do all kinds of things to prevent competition from other federations and “discourage” promoters from running non-USAC events.

  34. Michael

    I get that, but the point is that they made a terrible decision to put junior boys and girls on the course at the same time. You know that there are going to be people lapped by racers not in the same race, not fair at a national championship. The masters age group thing is a joke and points out how sad our sport is that we can’t change it because their entry fee pays for everything. Why can’t the governing body attract high dollar sponsors to support the programs period? An EDS track program, a 7-11 velodrome, a VW Belgian CX house program, etc.

  35. Pepsi Frank

    Run the masters championships on a separate course with age groups of 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and 60’s only. Now both sets of national championships can be run on the weekend. Courses should be in areas where the environmental impact will not be a concern but close enough to adequate hotel space. Year after year there are issues with the weather, too cold or too much rain. Holding championships in the southwest or southeast might take the weather out of the equation a little. Also, I would like to see more complete courses; sand, mud, hills that can be ridden, hills that must be run. It seems that every cross race I see in Europe has all of these features but every course in the States is missing one or more.

  36. Ron

    Why is this a problem due the master’s races?? (talking to you also “Jim Och”) This all seems to have become an issue only because races got postponed and USAC implemented a poor approach to recover. Had the tree people not protested, everyone would be good and we’d all be talking about what a fun time we had, not how the 5 year master’s age grouping screwed up another Nats. Master’s go early in the week to make way for the marquee events (jrs, U23, elite’s) later in the week and weekend. How is this age grouping of masters different than any other amateur endurance sport? ie running, tri, etc, and how has it prevented those sports from being healthy and growing? (it hasn’t) I think the main problem for Jimbo Och is how often he gets beat by better racers that happen to be a lot older then him.

  37. Lindsay

    What makes it obvious to me that the officials truly gave no shits about girls is how apparently little they considered doing anything to the boys’ races. I wasn’t there, but if there’s an issue with time, to me there’s an obvious solution that’s fair to all the juniors. Shorten everyone’s race by one lap, or 10 minutes or however you’re handling it. If there’s still a time crunch, then race the 2 smallest fields at the same time & don’t pull anyone. At those ages/development stages, the differences between sexes and ages is enormous. The handling of this particular situation was stupid, shortsighted and sexist.

  38. Thomas Prehn

    They are actually holding the last of the North Carolina CX series there this weekend so … I think they have at least a bit more experience with tires on the ground.

  39. Thomas Prehn

    Pepsi Frank…

    Great ideas… and maybe we can hold them mostly on pavement and in the summer so we don’t have to freeze our butts off riding and spectating! Wait…those are called crits.

    Ok… I can agree with the environmental impact issue but you know they pulled the sand pit from the course because the promoter didn’t want to afford the expense of hauling in all the sand and then hauling it all out again.

    I think have some local flavor can add some interest to any CX National Championship… they wanted to add the limestone steps…which locals say are dangerous as hell.

    I think you should put in a bid for the CX Nationals and good luck finding a spot where this could happen. And by the way… a lot of the Geezers have kids racing so make sure you don’t overlap anyone’s races so the whole family can’t cheer each other on!

  40. Thomas Prehn

    Lindsey…I agree…it would have been better to let the younger ages do ONE LAP winner take all than when happened. They could have fit the races in….shortened but at least not completely screwed up.

  41. Steve Tilford Post author

    Guys- Here is Dot Abbott’s response to the issue from here Facebook page ( She was the chief referee for the event.

    Help put an end to the misinformed folks claiming Women 15-16 were robbed of their race experience at the USA CX National Championships in Austin, TX.

    Due to city mandates were forced with making a tighter schedule that would give us clear winners.

    The primary deciding factor for putting their race on course with the Men 17-18 and Women 17-18 is that the integrity of the podium would be maintained for all categories. The riders in contention for the medals would have fewer slower riders on course that they had to pass, and fewer riders that might get in their way and possibly cost them a podium spot. Any other combination would have resulted in an unfair race for the podium places in this or other categories concerned.

    Given the mandated course modifications, the shorter Junior course was no longer available for Monday’s racing. If the Junior Women 15-16 had their own individual time on the course, the outcome of the race and number of laps for the winner would have been the same. Because they were turning 13-14 minute lap times, for the 30 minute race allocation in the USAC regulations this category would have done a total of 2 laps (winning time 26:12) rather than 3 laps (approximately 39:30).

    For those riders turning a slower first lap, in accordance with the way the events were run throughout the week, anyone turning a first lap time that would result in a projected total race time of over 36 minutes would have been pulled from the race after the first lap. [EDIT] This accounts for riders placed 15th and farther in Women 15-16. Possibly seven women 15-16 would have been able to do one more additional lap. Significant? Yes. Worth impeding the races for the podium spots by using a different schedule? Not at a Nationals if it could be avoided.

    Putting this race after any other category possible (Men 15-16) would have meant that the Women 15-16 leader had to pass over 20 riders on her first lap. Grouping Men Juniors (15-16 and 17-18) on the course together with a time gap start would have had a similar outcome, with the Men 15-16 leader going through about 19 Men 17-18 riders on his first lap. This is not what the National Championships are about.

  42. Ducky

    I was there with a big group of masters, an elite female racer and all of our families. We paid our fees, did our races and had a blast. Moreover, we cheered the other racers, talked about bikes and cross and about the city of Austin and it’s food and music and geography etc. We ate out a lot. We bought boots and other things… Because we were on vacation racing bikes with other members of our CX tribe in a cool city. Get down!

    Now the sad part. We did not get to watch the marquee events and line the sidelines to cheer for the juniors and elites. That was a crushing blow for everyone. I watched the online coverage at work, like most of us did, and that was cool, but the empty sidelines were a bummer. And the poor juniors! Ugh! The girls got totally hosed and this is simply unacceptable. I figure the average cost to stay the extra day was a grand per person. Or spoken in other terms, a thousand bucks a lap for many of the 15-16 years old gals. Is this ok USA Cycling?

    This was a complicated and awkward situation that transpired. No one could have predicted it or prepared for it. However, this is because the boss of the operation, USA cycling did not set up a fool proof program. The buck always stops with the boss guys. And they are the boss. There have been a lot of good comments and suggestions in the comments section, and these and other ideas need to be seriously considered for future events. USA cycling has not publicly owned up to the fact that the event was royally screwed up and that they are ultimately responsible. I think there are a lot of well meaning folks at USA Cycling, and that no one willfully screwed this up. But it is time for a serious evaluation of how future events should be structured to ensure this kind of thing does not happen again. Its OK to make mistakes, but you need to admit to them if you are going to have any chance to remedy them.

    And lastly, to the sexist and ageist authors in the comments section, well you are a bunch of jackasses…and I am sorry for you.

  43. jed schneider

    Obviously there were some mistakes made, but I’ve worked with Micah in several capacities, and I’ve never seen him give less than 110%.

  44. Susan young

    My understanding this same issue ( men and women racing same event women being pulled) happened Iowa at a CX race. As a female racer I think I should get to race with USA cycling for free( or pay my fees after the race if I can race the entire time) if I can not expect to get to race or finish my race.

    Basically I think I should get a free USA cycling membership from now on if this is what I can expect.

  45. DJLind

    With all due respect to Dot Abbott, the only thing she said that I wholeheartedly agree with is:

    “This is not what the National Championships are about.”

    Everything else was full on spin mode. More ass covering and excuse making. And how can she justify “not impeding the races for the podium spots” in one category by ELIMINATING the races for the podium spots in another category?

    Pure hogwash. There were solutions to the problems facing the promoters. USAC chose to use the “bandaid on a gushing head wound” approach.” Again.

  46. Chris Brandt

    All of this baloney would have been completely non-existent had the contact person at the City of Austin Parks Dept been competent and knowledgeable of the City Ordinances centered around protection of their Heritage Tree Resources. An arborist (there is one on City staff) should have been included in the preliminary walk throughs (there were several, apparently, prior to the race). Secondly, though the course was extremely fun to ride (Thanks Pete Webber), it would have taken very little effort to lay out the footprint slightly different, to avoid impacts to the sensitive areas (Critical Root Zone) surrounding the special Heritage Trees. Pete doesn’t have a background as an Arborist, so how can you blame him? Third, if the sensitive Critical Root Zone areas were only expected to be impacted negatively in the event of foul weather, it would have taken very little effort to set up an adjacent set of stakes/ribbon that could be integrated into the official course design with very little time, easily Sat evening/Sun AM – the original schedule could easily have been kept! This is the contingency plan that was lacking, as was the lack of appropriate mulch materials and erosion control devices on hand. I cannot imagine how much additional conflict/criticism is looming out there regarding sedimentation to the Barton Springs resource – as close as 200 meters away, downslope! I doubt this venue will be used for cyclocross ever again, and that’s a shame.

  47. Steve Tilford Post author

    Sean-I’ll answer this. Every National Championships I won, which is 2 as a Elite and two as a Professsional, there was no pulling anyone. In Santa Cruz, in 1984, I lapped every rider in the race except 2nd, Roy Knickman, and 3rd, Laurence Malone. The race was long, something like 1 hour 20, so it allowed more time to catch everyone. It was a part of the sport.

    I’m not sure when they started doing the pulling thing. When I raced in Switzerland, all riders were left in the races. Same in Belgium. Adam Myerson would probably have the answer to the time frame and circumstances.

    I think a lapped guy once got in front of Sven in an important race, maybe a World Cup or something, and screwed him up. Then they made the rule that the lapped guys shouldn’t be on the course to interfere with the leaders. Then the stupid 80% rule.

    So, historically, lapped riders have been left on the course to finish on the same lap as the leaders. It’s only in this “modern era” of the sport that this pulling has occurred.

    And the difference is here, they were pulling riders that were in contention for podium places. That is really the issue.

    Santa Cruz sure wouldn’t have been very exciting to watch with 3 guys riding around the final lap.

  48. Ducky

    Well I just received an email of apology from Micah Rice and USA Cycling. Their apology was heart felt, and I really appreciate it. I want to believe that this will ultimately prove to be a good lesson from the school of hard knocks.

  49. Sam E

    That is an absolutely ridiculous explanation for a ridiculous action taken. Was it even explained FULLY to all the competitors? Even if it was, they would have to spend 30 minutes trying to understand that convoluted bunch of bullshit.

    At the end of the day, it has to be FAIR and EQUAL for all participants. Men, women, boys, girls, pro, amateur and all ages across the board. If a person pays an entry fee, then they deserve a good product and a fair race. If you won’t be fair, then don’t bother.

  50. Craig

    Funny that … I have yet to see anyone give more than 100% as that is all there is … I want to learn how to give 110% … that would be cool – I could sleep an extra hour every night!

    Regarding the race scheduling … I am not sure how this surprised anyone. Why would you hold a national class event in an area that doesn’t regularly hold top tier races? Cause you got to big for your britches and believe the hype!

    You could hold Nationals in Tusla (see Rut and Guts) but me thinks that they would probably not be crazy enough to apply yet as they understand what it takes to put on such an event. Or you could bring in a promoter with some serious experience to a new area and run a test event the year before on a similar date ….

    Wait, those ideas would make sense and we are talking USAC …

  51. Official X

    Official X says,
    A simple fix to combining categories is keeping similar speeds together. The similar speed for groups results in less lapping of slower riders.

    Send the Jr Boys 15-16 off 30-60 seconds after the Jr Boys 17-18. All of them racing the same time duration 35-40 minutes. Same for the young ladies with a 30-35 minute long race. Possible mercy finishes for the riders further back depending upon lap times and trying to keep up with the rest of the days schedule.

    Granted this may have put a lot of bodies on the course for a group but this usually sorts its self out. I think I saw something on another site about a 3rd place rider being able to move through traffic better than the 4th place rider thus the 3rd place rider deserved their placing. Yes I fully agree. Luck plays a factor but it typically isn’t that significant. The stronger, better, and smarter riders always seem to get to the front.

    Also never pull riders in the Jrs, Masters, Women 3-4s, and Men 4-5s. A decent judge should be able to sort through the scoring and get the placings correct.

    For the rest of the higher category riders you should be fit and able to race to your limit. Having a bad day well maybe retiring to the cooler isn’t a bad idea. Have a seat, pop a beer, then cheer on your friends once you peeled off those stanky clothes. Big fields for you big guns we’ll probably have to pull you but doesn’t mean we like it either. Aside from the women I’ve worn all your shoes from Jr to Sr and master racer…

  52. Official X

    To expand on the similar speeds meaning the slower riders being lapped in say the Jr boys 15-16 and 17-18 the slower riders would be riding closer to the pace of the leaders. This VS mixing in the Jr girls 15-16 where there will be a much higher speed disparity between the slower riders of mixed sexes.


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