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.